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Weekly Motor Fix: 1964 Chev Biscayne

7 April, 2015


Chevrolet’s Impala enjoys a coveted status as the unofficial ‘king’ of American cars. Thanks to drag racers, hot rodders, lowriders, and gangsters, the Impala is undoubtedly one of the world’s most recognizable American cars of the ’50s and ’60s. 

In 1958, Chevrolet introduced the Biscayne as a lower–priced, full-size equivalent to the Impala. Though the cars looked very similar, the Biscayne omitted most exterior chrome trim and featured a lower-grade interior trim. Nowadays, the differences between the Impala and Biscayne are long–forgotten by most — regardless of badge or trim, they’re both cool cars.

Steve Adams owns this 1964 Chev Biscayne, two-door ‘post’ coupe, which we spotted at last month’s Gear Jammers Hot Rod and Muscle Car Club show in Paraparaumu. The Biscayne was purchased from Trade Me as a near-complete build, which was “only needing paint.” We’ve all heard that one before … 

Once he began stripping the car back for painting, it was found to be looking the worse for wear, and essentially became subject to a full ground-up rebuild. Suffice to say that, since then, the Biscayne has received the paint it was needing. The blacked-out bumpers, grille, and wheels offer a refreshingly different take on the traditionally over-chromed old Chevy. 

Outside, the easiest way to distinguish a Biscayne from an Impala (aside from the badging, of course) is in the tail lights — the Biscayne runs two tail lights to the Impala’s three. 

Under the bonnet, the Biscayne runs a tough 383ci small block, backed by a five-speed manual gearbox, for maximum driver involvement. The diff is a standard item at this stage, although plans of installing a Ford nine-inch have been discussed, and looks set to happen sooner rather than later. 

The interior is also a tidy environment, without being anywhere near overboard. An aftermarket shifter and steering wheel take care of the driving dynamics, and a rev counter and trio of diagnostic gauges keep track of what’s going on under the bonnet. At this stage, all that is required is headlining, although Steve plans to give the interior a full once-over before long. 

Two years after purchasing it, Steve’s Biscayne is now the quick, comfortable, and reliable cruiser that he wanted. Not just that, though — it’s also a neat-looking car that manages to offer a slightly different take on the traditional shiny and low Impala — and in this day and age, that’s no bad thing!

The Jowett Jupiter turns 70

John Ball has always enjoyed tinkering with old boats and cars. He’s old enough to think having gearbox parts on newspaper on the floor of his bedroom, while the relevant car sat waiting on nail boxes, was a normal part of growing up. His passion has always tended towards old British bangers. He reckons he’s fortunate not to have got caught up in the American muscle scene.
John’s love affair with this Jupiter started in December 2015 when, with some time on his hands during a Christchurch trip, he searched online for ‘cars, before 1970 and in Christchurch’.

A passion for classics and customs

In the highly competitive field of New Zealand classic and custom restorations, reputations are won or lost on the ability to maintain consistently high standards of workmanship. A company managing to achieve this is D A Panel beating Ltd, of Rangiora near Christchurch. Is your classic or custom car restoration stalled, or in need of a refresh, or perhaps you are looking for experts to rebuild that recent import project out of Europe or the ‘States?