396 4-Speed Post! 1965 Chevrolet Biscayne

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Two types of people bought a car like this 1965 Chevrolet Biscayne two-door sedan before 1980:  budget-minded people who didn’t care about driving fast, and budget-minded people who didn’t want anyone to know their car was fast until it was too late. The first group held teachers, the elderly, and folks generally afraid of acceleration and fun in general. These misers chose the 140 HP Turbo-Thrift 230 cid inline six-cylinder, or maybe the 195 HP Turbo-Fire 283 cid V8. The second group, full of punks, middle-aged greasers, ex-convicts, and future convicts, bought Chevrolet’s cheapest full-sized two-door with the mighty 409, an engine so legendary that musicians immortalized it in song. Later in model year 1965, the all-new Mark IV big block hit the option sheet. Lack of VIN or documentation suggests this 1965 Chevrolet Biscayne in Mukwonago, Wisconsin features a non-original 396, but it certainly continues that sleeper legacy, with a four-speed floor-shifted manual transmission for good measure. The well-kept or perhaps partially-restored Chevy got a lacquer respray some time ago in what looks like Willow Green, and the two-door post can be yours for $29,000, according to the description here on Craigslist. Thanks to reader Pat L. for spotting this Badger State bruiser.

The Mark IV Big Block shares no DNA with the outgoing 409, and grew from Chevy’s NASCAR effort dating back to 1963, according to MacsMotorCityGarage. It looks like a manual brake, manual steering car, punctuating its humble beginnings. Air conditioning? Fuhgeddaboudit; pull open the giant fresh air vents and hit the gas. This one’s billed as a 325 HP (gross) version, suggesting mostly stock specs, though power from these reliable mills can climb as high as your budget allows. Thanks to OldCarBrochures for some details.

With certain exceptions, up through one model year prior, most buyers expected more power from higher models, with the most performance generally dished out to larger more luxurious cars. While certainly not the first potent mid-sized American car, Pontiac’s 1964 GTO is often credited as the first of what later became known as a “muscle car,” a mid-sized car with a larger engine from the full-sized line. Against that backdrop, a big block Biscayne would not have been a super-rare oddity, but one looking like this, especially with the body-colored steel wheels and “dog dish” hub caps, would have skated by most police cars without raising an eyebrow. This car includes a set if you want to go for the sleeper look.

A fawn cloth and vinyl bench seat interior and a simple chrome-ringed shift boot completes the budget mauler theme inside, with a vintage tachometer to boot. Riding six people would have been daily fare for a beast like this back in its glory days. This tidy two-door won’t fool anyone today, but when it was new, do you picture this entry-level Biscayne driven by the local Librarian or that guy on your block who gets drunk three times a week and parks in the front yard?

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Comments

  1. 19sixty5Member

    I like it, but that Simpson seat belt has to go!

    Like 25
    • CraigR

      I dunno, it’s a nice little visual hint to people that maybe there’s more here than meets the eye.

      Cheap SOB didn’t get one for the passenger though LOL

      Like 12
      • Hank DavisMember

        Back when these were new I had a 55 chevy that I worked all summer long installing a 327/ 4 speed in. Was so proud of that thing! Asked my mom if she wanted a ride in it. She said “sure”. Pulled onto the highway, revved it up, dumped the clutch and sprained her neck! My wife-to-be bought me ONE headrest for Christmas…for the passenger side…’cause that was all she could afford. So maybe this guy only had the “green” for one Simpson seat belt!

        Like 5
  2. Rustytech RustytechMember

    I bought one much like this back in the early 70’s. It was an automatic. Bought it from an auction of surplus state police cars. was quite the sleeper. I’d love to have this, but not for near $30k!

    Like 9
  3. Will Fox

    With nothing to verify with, this is simply a wanna-be and nothing more. It would have alot more value if it were an authentic 396 from the factory.

    Like 6
    • Michael Berkemeier

      No $#!+…really? Guess what? It would be $50K more, as well.

      Like 7
  4. Frank M

    My parents were from the first group. Two doors to keep the 4 kids from falling out and 6 cyl, three on the tree, radio & heater because it was affordable. The dealership had an $1800 bait and switch price tag on it and wouldn’t sell it to Dad because they had to run the ad for another week. Dad finally offered them $2200 for it and it was ours. Red on Red and and put close to 175,000 miles on it over the next 10 years.

    Like 9
  5. CadmanlsMember

    Not too sure it’s a wantabe as it has the area around the shifter raised and that’s a Muncie shifter still in place. The tach in the dash, very well may be the real deal. Guy in town when I was much younger had a 66 Biscayne with the 427 and interior was identical from what I remember. It would run! Owner doesn’t mention numbers or rear differential, but I like, smiles per mile folks!

    Like 9
  6. Bill W.

    Yup, I’d put the body colored steel wheels with dig dish caps on it, but might opt for wider wheels in back. Kinda like what I’m doing with my 56 210

    Like 8
    • Stan

      Nice idea. Cool 56′
      I like this Biscayne stripper model.

      Like 3
    • Michael Berkemeier

      Then it wouldn’t be a sleeper.

      Like 1
  7. Oldschool Muscle

    sleeper…Yes

    Like 4
  8. Tyler

    I like everything about it, except the price. But, I seriously doubt you will find one as nice for any less anytime soon. Especially with the Scottsdale auctions about to start.

    Like 3
  9. Big_FunMember

    All we need is the a picture of the VIN, the cowl tag and the rear end. Should be a 12 bolt with a factory 396. Then we can deduce if it was born a 6, or V8 car. The air cleaner is representative of a 425 hp 396. They reproduce it for the 1970 Z-28
    An older resto/mod on a car that I bet was a manual transmission car from the start..

    Like 9
  10. K. R. V.

    I remember a buddy in The Army, who has his family come down from Montana in the family station wagon. Mind you this was back in 1974. The wagon was a fairly plain Jane 1968 Impala, 9 passenger that his Dad had ordered special for his family, for transport and tow the Airstream. I asked him why he didn’t have a Suburban? He said he didn’t want a truck to drive on his own time. The best part was the wagon had a 427/4brl, with dual exhaust, through a TH 400 to a 3:42 posi rear. That was as quiet as a summers breeze! He travels all the time up in Montana with tire chains in the car just in case, while running the largest Firestone Town&Country Mud/Snow tires in the rear, matched with the same in front! Then in the summer Uniroyal Tiger Paws in the biggest size possible. My buddy said whenever they traveled with out the trailer his Dad would cruise at 80 mph all the time on the highway. I grew up loving big wagons, after my Dad had special ordered a 68 Chrysler Town&Country Beach Wagon for our family, with a honking 440/4 brl dual exhaust setup.

    Like 9
    • Michael Berkemeier

      80-mph cruising all the time on the highway with 3.42’s, huh? That engine must’ve lasted all of six months, maybe.

      Like 1
      • al

        not really the stard gears for that would have been 3 36 I would maybe agree with you if it had 4:11 which we used on weekends for street racing but
        3:42 are about normal

        Like 3
      • Ffred

        I never knew it was taboo to run a lot of gear on the street. I ran 4.89, 4.56 and 4.30 gears in my Plymouths and my boss’s 427 ’67 Chevelle had 4.88s. We drove everywhere and doing our best to keep the rpms under 4500 on the highway. They sure sounded good. It would be pretty much impossible to do that now with bad and high prices.

        Like 0
      • K. R. V.

        That’s the only rear end with the towing package available.

        Like 0
  11. Loy

    I had one like this in HS. Bought it in1969 from my brother-in-law. Red on red, factory 327, and a 4-speed. It was a good car.

    Like 5
  12. T, MannMember

    *brakes look newer but may need adjustment…

    Something is wrong with this car.
    Getting the brakes adjusted is MINOR.

    Saw one recently where seller said “no test rides because brake work needed”
    Real hidden problem was Actually it had a bed transmission.

    Like 4
  13. pwtiger

    I know that in 1965 GM offered the 396 in a Corvette and they made 200 Chevelle hardtops and one convertible that received the new big block. I think that the only big block that you could get in a full size Chevy was a 409.

    Like 1
    • Hank DavisMember

      Changed in mid year. Early big blocks were 409, mid year switch to 396. The 409s are the most desirable, even though they made less horsepower, less torque, turned about 1000 less rpm and are REALLY hard to find parts for.

      Like 0
    • al

      not really the stard gears for that would have been 3 36 I would maybe agree with you if it had 4:11 which we used on weekends for street racing but
      3:42 are about normal

      Like 0
  14. Comet

    My high school friend had a BB non-P/S 65 impala similar to this. Nice car. He decided to install one of those cool at the time, deep, welded tiny diameter chain steering wheels. He worked like a rented mule to turn the beast. Ah, the cost of being cool in high school!

    Like 4
  15. rancher

    It came with a 327 or 409.

    Like 0
  16. Biscuit J

    Nice but too bad it’s a two door……(for all those 2D snobs). A four-door would be even more of a sleeper and virtually invisible.

    Like 2
  17. wcshook

    Look at that engine bay! Everything easily serviceable! You can’t do that any more! I have a ’96 Caprice, baby V-8 (4.3, 265), and I had to get a full blown mechanic to change the plugs, wires and rotor cap! Time I figured in my time, frustration of doing the wires, and getting aggravated, paying for labor to do the the work was cheaper. I replaced the water pump twice. I kind of liked the way it was set up, but even it was a headache.

    Like 2
  18. TheOldRanger

    I still remember my first car, just graduated from college, and treated myself to a new 65 Impala SS with a 396 (auto transmission) white with a black vinyl top. I was teaching in a town of about 30,000 and I was the talk of the town. About the time I got it paid for, I got married, had to trade it off for a more “sensible” car… well, actually I got a smaller more eco car, and I got money back … the dealer knew my car was “it”… lol so I got a new car, plus cash… but I still wish I had that 65 lol

    Like 4
  19. terry

    65 2 dr Biscayne post i have one has buckets in it floor shifter have a big block for it its up for sale white interior up in Canada red exterior

    Like 0
  20. V12MECH

    Great car , reasonable price for today.

    Like 0
  21. Bill D

    Hey my high school chemistry teacher (who looked like Heisenberg minus the porkpie hat) drove a Mk 1 Rabbit GTI back when those cars were new in the early ’80s! Definitely not afraid of acceleration.

    Like 0

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