Here in the big car arena, we find ourselves looking, again, at a Bow Tie machine with some modern-day appointments. It can't be stressed enough that one of the most popular fads in current Chevy machinery is taking modern technology and throwing it at cars that are upwards of 50 years old. In this case, Wesley Crum, of Ohio, took a car that he'd been eyeing for most of his life, and made it a true super Chevy. The more we see of these builds, the more they really seem to work.
Wesley first saw this '64 Biscayne back in 1975, when he happened to live next to its then-owner.
"This was really the first hot rod I ever set eyes on," Crum said. "It was the first car I actually had a chance to be around-the first I could play in."
That's another trend that carries on throughout the hot rod industry: a child is introduced to a vehicle and, years later, the mental image is lasting enough that the person decides to re-create the days of their youth. Crum even told himself, back in the '70s, that he would own this Chevy one day, in one form or another.
The Biscayne, when Crum finally purchased it from his neighbor in 2004 (for an undisclosed amount), had just 38,000 original miles and had been sitting since the early '80s. Basically, it was close to pristine, and Wesley wasn't really sure if he wanted to go to the effort of reconditioning the car back to its 1964-style looks or to take a different route. A compromise was reached in terms of the build, and Crum decided to keep the car looking much the way it did over 40 years ago. However, he added a few modern styling touches and a powerplant to help the Biscayne keep up with just about anything on the street.
Crum decided on an LS1 for the 'Cane-almost a foregone conclusion when you're talking engine swaps these days. There's plenty of aftermarket for these now-venerable V-8s, and, to that end, if Crum ever decided to add some muscle to the already powerful platform, he wouldn't have to go far in search of it. As it sits now, the LS1 has been tweaked with a Weiand Street Performance manifold.
The small-block has yet to make a proper dyno pull, but Wesley figures the motor makes somewhere around 400 hp. The Biscayne puts that power to the ground via a GM 4L80E four-speed that came with the LS1, and a Currie 12-bolt rear, holding a 3.80 gear and Posi-traction. Crum, in his gesture to keep as much of the car stock, even uses the original '64 driveshaft (we're not sure if that's a good idea or not-hell, maybe they made 'em stronger back then).
In the suspension department, Crum went with an entire system from Air Ride, including Shockwave airbags and tubular front A-arms. The system drops the Biscayne a total of 5 1/2 inches in the front, and a muffler-dragging 7 1/2 in the rear. The Air Ride goodies really give the car a mean stance, looking as if the 40-year-old is ready to take on any G-Machine out there. The 'Cane rolls on Boyd Coddington Crown Jewels, 18x8 up front, and massive 20x10 out back. BFGoodrich G4 rubber wraps all the rollers at the corners.
For the interior, rather than going entirely custom (it's actually pretty close), Wesley Crum decided to source some parts from some later model Bow Tie machinery. The front seats are out of an '80s Pontiac Bonneville, and are 15-way adjustable leather units. The interior has a new skin of Gray Marrow leather, done up by the guys at Jack's Garage in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. All the gauges are from Dakota Digital, and the steering is done via a Boyd Coddington Crown Jewel steering wheel (to match the wheels). Crum also added an ididit telescoping/tilt steering column. The exterior color is a custom tint selected by Crum himself through PPG (Ruby Red) also applied by the people at Jack's Garage.
The project, which took just over three years, was on display for all to see earlier this year at the Columbus, Ohio, Super Chevy Show. And even though it rained for much of the event, Crum stuck it out, and kept the car there all weekend.
"It was just such a fun project, to take something that I'd looked at for years, and make it my own," Crum said. "I can't wait to add some more toys to it."