Everyone has a dream car. For the more enthusiastic dreamers, the vehicle takes on a life of its own. Everything is implanted firmly into the dreamer's brain - from the rich color of the paint to the powerplant under the hood, right down to the tiniest details. For Jim Ragle of Bethel, Ohio, the Viper Red 1965 Chevy Biscayne you see pictured here was the ultimate dream car.
"I've had a soft spot for '65 Biscaynes ever since I first saw one in 1965. There was just something about those old factory hot rods . . . Grandma's grocery-getter stuffed with a big-block and a 4-speed," Jim told us.
No rookie to the game, Jim spent ten long years searching for the perfect Biscayne to restore and add to his already impressive collection of classics. Throughout the search, Jim's son Gary, an automotive designer and owner of Ragle Design, created the prototype you see here to look exactly how Jim imagined it - bright red with black vinyl bench seats, black steel wheels, and a 502 big-block with a 4-speed - or as Jim put it, "an extreme version of the rare, original 396 big-block Biscaynes."
Finally, in the spring of 2012 while browsing online auctions, there it was - only it was no project car.
"It was the Biscayne of my dreams . . . identical to my plan and Gary's rendering with the exception of the wheels and tires," Jim explains. "I gave the seller a call and told him I would like to see the car in person before bidding."
Jim and Gary jumped in a truck and powered through the 17-hour drive from Cincinnati down to Florida. When they arrived, Jim knew he had to seal the deal.
"I was surprised that he was willing to take the car out of the auction before it ended, so I was unprepared to bring the car home. Gary and I hopped back in my truck, returned to Cincinnati, hooked up the trailer, and began the journey back to south Florida to pick up the car," he remembers.
Two trips to Florida, about 4,000 miles, and a week later, the Biscayne was safely housed in Jim's garage awaiting a shipment of black Wheel Vintiques wheels and cheater slicks.
"Once they were mounted up, Gary and I stood back and compared the car to the rendering. It was identical in every way."
When asked if there was anything he would change about the car, Jim told us absolutely not, but added, "Maybe a 572 engine instead of a 502." Because even with 502 horses and 567 ft-lbs of torque, you can never have too much power.