348 V8 Tri-Power! 1959 Chevrolet Biscayne

This 1959 Chevrolet Biscayne has been both restored and transformed, with beautiful paint and interior pieces. It’s not original mechanically, though it has a period-correct drivetrain that is far more potent than it was built with (6-Pack carburetor set-up). This wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing has less than 40,000 original miles and is almost flawless with just a minor scratch or two. Located in Visalia, California, the bidding has reached $27,100 here on eBay while the seller says the reserve is reasonable, could it be close to six figures? Thanks, Larry D, for the heads-up on this one!

For the second year in a row, the full-size Chevrolets were redesigned for 1959. Tailfins were back after a one-year absence, but more as batwings, and the car has a cleaner look to it, unlike the bulky 1958s. Ford would outsell Chevy in ’58, something that happened infrequently and to the chagrin of Bow Tie management, so the push was on for ’59 to come up with something fresh that retained only the basic frame and power packages of the ‘58s. Part of the plan was to get all GM divisions in synch over at Fisher Body with a common infrastructure, i.e. roof and window shapes. Besides all GM cars having a similar feel, parts inventories would be simplified, and money saved.

This 1959 Biscayne left the factory with an inline-6 (and probably a 3-speed manual transmission). What exists today is a beautiful 2-door sedan finished in Ermine White over Satin Beige (an original color) that has the correct gray vinyl and brocade cloth interior components. Some of these pieces are original as they survived well over the years from limited use. The reason for the car being sold is that the owner is downsizing his property and only half of his extensive collection will fit at the new location.

Under the hood is the 348 cubic-inch V8 that could be ordered with 3×2-barrel carburetors, although this car was not when new. The restoration – which we assume is when the drivetrain swap was made – was completed just 2,000 miles ago. The Chevy runs extremely well and does 65-75 mph with ease. This car comes across as a turn-key machine that will bring back all the memories of when cars were works of art in terms of styling.

Because the Biscayne was at the bottom of the Chevy food chain in 1959, the model doesn’t usually command the resale value of Impalas and Bel Airs. Hagerty pegs $28,000 as “top dollar” and you would think the 348 Tri-Power set up adds a premium, though a departure in true originality. An Impala Sport Coupe (aka “Bubbletop”) with the same set-up would go for twice that.


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  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Don’t ever hit a silver 2009 Chevy Malibu with this, lol, it won’t turn out well!

    Like 26
    • Mitchell G. Member

      Laughs in IIHS crash test

      Like 8
  2. Johnny

    Another reason he is saleing. Is Californian passed a new law about vehicles around your place. Nice 59,but that price? I don,t think so.

    Like 3
  3. Frank Dusseault

    Very rare and nice! This year Chevrolet got light in the rear at speeds above 70 mph.

    Like 1
  4. George Louis

    A kid I grew up with in Northwest Detroit, his Mom had a new 1959 2 Door sedan Chevy in the light tan color. I do not believe she drove this car very much and I do not know f it was a manual or Powerglide transmission.

  5. MikeB

    The question is—is the 348 cu in engine a 280 hp or the 315 hp ?? I, personally would put full wheel covers on rather than the dog dish caps. I imagine this car would have had a Sun tach strapped to the steering column, and maybe Atlas Bucron tires.

  6. Mike Akerman

    At the risk of offending so many youngsters, back in the day we called the 348 a boat anchor. I know from a historical standpoint they still hold a sugnisficent piece of history. But realistically they weren’t good engines. They did however prove to be the starting point for real big blocks. 396 427 454. Sorry if this hurts your feelings.

    Like 6
    • Camaro guy

      You’re right Mike I had a 61 Impala 250/348 4sp was a beautiful car sold it to buy a friend’s 63 Impala 250/327 4sp both motors factory rated@ 250 HP the 327 was definitely quicker than the 348 in spite of less cubic inches

      Like 1
    • dougie Member

      I’m old and my feelings are hurt! lol. A 6 with 3 on the tree verses Big Block with four on the floor? Yikes. Btw there’s a shuffleboard tournament this weekend. Sorry if I HURTS y’all’s feelings.

  7. chuck dickinson

    The body color on this car is NOT Satin Beige, which is a light tan. The gold color is Gothic Gold. When two-toned, it would’ve been w/Satin Beige. Whether this has Satin Beige or white is difficult to tell from the photos, but the car was NOT a 2-tone from the factory (missing the divider moldings on the front of the fins). White was not used with Gothic Gold.

    Like 1
  8. Laurence

    It was in 1957 that Ford outsold chev. The 59s were a crash program in response to the mopars in 1957. You will notice also that the door skins on all the gms in 59 were the same.

    Like 2
  9. Gary

    Six figures? Maybe for a fuel injected car but not for a converted six banger.

    Like 3
  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Auction ended at $31,350, Reserve Not Met.

    Like 1
  11. Mike Brown

    Personally, I like the 1958 models better. On the other hand, this is a nice looking car that I wouldn’t kick out of my garage. The non original drivetrain doesn’t bother me but, I’d also be satisfied with the original straight 6 and yes, I know how to run a 3 on the tree lol!

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