Dennis Gaylord was only 17 years old when he bought this beautiful Biscayne. It was brand new when he brought it home on Halloween in 1967 from Dale Chevrolet in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where he worked at the time.
Fast-forward 47 years and this Biscayne has never left Dennis, but it has definitely changed quite a bit. “I built the car as a salute to my late brother, Al,” Dennis explained.
During his first two years with the car, it was equipped with a 275-horse 327 with a three-speed on the column. Later, he would sell the engine to a friend for transplant into a ’65 El Camino after deciding he wanted to build something a bit different.
“My intent was to make it a racecar, but my brother Warren asked me to drive his ’66 Chevelle B/MP [Modified Production] drag car, so I parked the Biscayne for 20 years,” Dennis said.
Finally, in 1989, he got down to business and began his own build. The Biscayne’s body was sandblasted and painted, and a 454 was pulled from a junkyard car. A Muncie four-speed was assembled from three different donor transmissions on Father’s Day. The fullsize flyer finally hit the road in 1990 with a 4.10-geared 12-bolt in the rear.
Nearly two decades later, in December 2009, the bug bit again and Dennis felt the need to overhaul the Biscayne. He chose a five-speed Tremec TKO600 transmission built by Keisler Engineering and added an air ride suspension comprised of RideTech A-arms, airbags, and shocks. After that, Dennis’s son, Nick, fitted the Biscayne with an all-aluminum 540ci Merlin he had built.
The latest Rat features Merlin III rectangular-port aluminum heads and a Comp Cams camshaft, as well as Comp hydraulic roller lifters. A Weiand Stealth intake manifold sits atop the engine with a Quick Fuel 950-cfm carburetor. An aluminum radiator and electric fans keep the powerplant cool, and a mechanical fuel pump from Holley’s HP Series assures it is well fed.
Hooker ceramic-coated headers flow through to a homemade steel exhaust with an H-pipe and Dynomax Super Turbo mufflers, and Wilwood 11-inch brakes supply adequate stopping power to the American TTO wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich T/A radials.
Inside, the original seats remain, but they have been reupholstered in black ’67 Caprice cloth by Seats by Linda Sanders, while the original AM push-button stereo provides the tunes. Auto Meter gauges, a Lecarra steering wheel, and Hurst shifter round out the simple and beautiful interior.
Nick, who Dennis says will one day inherit the Biscayne, performed all of the bodywork and is responsible for the beautiful Medeira Maroon paintjob, while John Morley laid down the pinstripes.
Dennis told us the Biscayne puts down around 550 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque and that even if he could, there is nothing he would’ve done differently during the build.
“The most memorable experience I’ve had with the car was cruising to the Indy time trials in 1969 in Second gear!” he told us.
We’re sure there are plenty more memories to be made with this impressive Biscayne.