1962 Chevy Biscayne - Biscayne Memories

John Felter Was Haunted For Decades By The Biscayne Of His Dreams. In 2006, He Exorcised His Automotive Demons.

Patrick Hill Oct 28, 2009 0 Comment(s)
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Every car guy has a story about a car he saw as a kid that really imprinted itself on his brain. You know the one I'm talking about, the automobile you see in your dreams at night, your mashed potatoes at dinner, even a plate of spaghetti if you look hard enough. John Felter saw his dream machine when he was 16, and it haunted him for almost 40 years.

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It was 1962, and a friend had just driven back to their Southern Wisconsin hometown with a brand new, black, 409-powered '62 Biscayne 2-door. As John describes it, the car was "the baddest ride in the whole county." In less then a week the car was seeing dragstrip duty, and John was head-over-heels in love with the street bruiser.

Flash forward to 2001. While attending the Spring Car Show at Daytona International Speedway, John spotted a nice '62 Biscayne painted white with a custom tan interior. It had a Merlin big-block and TH350 for motivation with a Ford 9-inch rear out back. After a test drive inside of the pit area on speedway property got John and the car's owner kicked out of the show (a disagreement over the right and wrong place to do burnouts apparently), a deal was struck that had John trading his '26 Model T street rod for the Biscayne.

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Over the next couple of years John massaged the car more to his liking, pulling the engine to install a Crower solid roller cam, and having the Grumpy Jenkins heads treated to a valve job and some flow work. The TH350 was yanked in favor of a TH400 with a 3,200 stall converter to handle the punishing power of the Rat. The car stayed that way until the spring of 2006, when John accidentally dented the right rear quarter-panel of the car while working in his new garage.

The dent was minor, but a year later when it came time to repair it, John's friend Fred Swartzlander of Grumpy's Hot Rods realized he couldn't color match the white paint on the car. It was decision time, whether to repaint the whole car white or go with another hue. After spending some time thinking on the matter, John's brother Bob convinced him to repaint the car black, just like the '62 his friend in Wisconsin had owned.

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The Biscayne was totally disassembled and treated to a full restoration to make the car look original on the outside, but with a drivetrain engineered to be what someone would've wanted their 409 Biscayne to be back in '62. Over a 10-month span, every piece of trim was either re-chromed or polished, every piece repainted, and anything that couldn't be refurbished replaced. The body was sprayed in PPG Black with clearcoat for protection, and the 509 was freshened up for more power.

The interior was totally redone, with the custom tan upholstery being replaced with a reproduction '62 Biscayne red vinyl and plaid fabric interior. The only signs on the inside that this car isn't bone stock are the five-speed shifter ball and dash-mounted tach. Speaking of five speeds, the TH400 was yanked in favor of a Tremec TKO600 with a Hayes pressure plate and twin disc clutch in a Lakewood blow-proof bellhousing. The original '62 driveshaft still transfers power.

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The 9-inch Ford rear was refreshed with 31-spline Moser axles, 4.11 gears and a limited slip differential. The rest of the suspension is stock '62 Chevrolet. Finishing the car off are original style Chevrolet steel wheels with dog-dish style '62 Biscayne hub caps. BFGoodrich rubber handles things up front, while Mickey Thompson ET Street Drag Radials put power out the pavement out back.

In February of 2008, the car was finished just hours before the deadline for tech check at the Classic Chevy and Camaro Winternationals in Kissimmee, Florida. Right out of the box the car took first place in the 1962 Custom Trailered Class with 995 points.

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