This 1965 Chevrolet Biscayne is the textbook definition of “sleeper.” We've had other cars that certainly fit the bill, but none as single-mindedly dedicated to the art of deception and speed as this one. The closest one might be the matching Cameo Beige Chevelle we sold last year, but Chevelles are easy to spot and the Torque Thrusts gave it away. No so this amazing Biscayne. With that unsuspecting 2-door sedan body style, a bench seat, and even whitewall tires on steel wheels, this car is so low-profile that it's practically invisible. Even sweeter, it's a factory radio and heater delete piece, so the stage was already set when the restoration began in January 2006.
According to the original cowl tag, this is indeed a factory Cameo Beige car. Perfect! Dick Adams at the Specialty Car Company in Phoenix, Arizona stripped it bare and rebuilt the finish from the base up. Already a clean, western car, the work has taken it to just the right level—not too perfect, not too tattered—to keep it low profile. Those massive quarter panels are so straight they look like they just popped out of the stamping press, gaps are about how the factory did it, and they got the doors to fit so well that they latch with your fingertip. The finish is two-stage urethane, so it'll look this good practically forever, and the finish is more than equal to the original “Magic Mirror” acrylic lacquer used in '65. The only tip of the hand anywhere on the car are those 396 badges, but by the time you're close enough to read them (and be deceived by them—more on the engine in a moment) it's already too late.
There's not a lot of chrome on the big Biscayne, which was not a flashy car when it was new. That said, every bit of trim that is on the car today is exceptionally nice, from the brilliantly rechromed bumpers, to the round bezels around the tail lights, to the stainless strip that accentuates the gently curved quarter panels. The Biscayne script is crisp, and, of course, there are those 396 badges on the front fenders that look to be very nice reproduction pieces. It also appears that all the glass is new with a correct Soft-Ray tint to it that is very appropriate to a car from the southwest.
I mentioned earlier that those 396 badges were deceptive, and in a sleeper, you know that's a good thing. The car was originally delivered with a six-cylinder engine, so matching numbers and all that nonsense is out the window anyway, and today it features a beautifully detailed 454 under the hood. Larry's Performance in Monbello, California supplied the big block, now with a set of .030 over forged aluminum pistons and a solid lifter camshaft with .590 inches of lift. The heads are World Products Merlin iron units topped with full roller rockers to reduce friction. The intake is an Edelbrock Performer RPM topped with an 800 CFM Holley with mechanical secondaries, and the entire assembly cranks out a conservatively estimated 500 horsepower. It is also nicely detailed with Chevy Orange paint on the block, heads, and valve covers, and a proper decal on the chrome air cleaner would be a nice addition. Most observers won't notice the upgraded intake and carburetor, and the long-tube headers are common enough that nobody will think twice when they see them. And as a street brawler, they didn't waste any time or effort adding power steering or brakes, neither of which will help this car go fast. Other accurate items include the heavy-duty cooling system, correct hoses and clamps, and a reproduction Delco battery. It's awfully convincing, that's for certain!
The transmission is an indestructible Muncie M22 4-speed “rock crusher” that has been totally rebuilt by Auto Gear Company in New York. It's fed by a heavy-duty Centerforce clutch inside a Lakewood scatter-proof bellhousing, because this is a car that gets to use all its horsepower. Denny's Driveshaft fabricated the custom aluminum driveshaft that spins a 12-bolt full of 4.10 gears on an Eaton limited slip. For increased durability, the axle tubes have been welded to the center section, larger bearings were fitted, and thick 31-spline axles were installed. The suspension is 100% stock all around, with new components used throughout, including fresh shocks at all four corners. Four wheel drums were standard issue in the Biscayne and remain in place, fed by fresh lines and new wheel cylinders. The exhaust is a stock reproduction setup that is nice and quiet, perfect for luring the unsuspecting into combat, and the tips are virtually invisible just behind the rear wheels. The finishing touch and perhaps the greatest pieces of stealth equipment on the entire car are those original 15-inch steel wheels with “dog dish” hubcaps wearing 6.50-15 BFGoodrich Silvertown whitewall bias-ply tires. Pure awesome!
The spacious bench seat interior has been fully restored to stock condition in the original fawn color using correct reproduction fabrics. SMS created the reproduction door panels, which are exact in every way, and Able Auto Upholstery Company of Phoenix managed the installation. As I said, this is a factory radio and heater delete car, which is how it sits today, although there's a vintage tach mounted on the steering column, and a pair of auxiliary gauges mounted down low and out of sight. There's also a Hurst shifter with cue ball knob managing the 4-speed, but the guy in the car next to you won't be able to spot it when you're out hunting. New carpets, a fresh headliner, and factory-correct work throughout make this one heck of a clean interior that only adds to the sleeper vibe coming off this Biscayne. In back, the trunk is also finished to stock specs with a new mat and matching spare tire and jack assembly. There's even a reproduction jacking instructions decal fastened to the underside of the trunk lid.
This car also comes with a large stack of receipts for the entire build, and the components and dollar figures are impressive.
I knew I wasn't the only guy who thought beige two-door sedans with steel wheels were cool. This wolf in sheep's clothing is the most perfectly realized sleeper I've ever seen, restored to as-built condition in almost every way. There are a few subtle modifications, but this car is probably not just a threat on the street, but also on the show field. If you haven't driven a low-profile car like this on the street, you don't know the almost maniacal glee that comes from stomping some kid in a tricked-out Honda or a late-model Camaro into dust using what they would probably refer to as “grandma's car.” Crack the throttle, dump the clutch, and watch as the big block under the hood practically yanks the front tires off the pavement. Heck, the sound alone might even be enough to make a Honda driver soil himself. There's just nothing like that kind of fun anywhere else in the automotive world. If that sounds like you, here's the perfect weapon. Call today!
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