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396 V8 Sleeper! 1965 Chevrolet Biscayne

From 1959-75, the Biscayne would be the entry-level model for a full-size Chevrolet. While they were Plain Jane cars and lacked most creature comforts, they could be ordered with any engine that Chevy had to offer. That included the new-for-‘65 396 cubic inch V8 like in the seller’s car, but we don’t know if it’s original to the vehicle. This Biscayne has been off the road for 14 but is in running condition again and needs a full cosmetic restoration. Located in Downey, California, this ’65 Chevy is available here on craigslist for $11,500 OBO. Thanks, Pat L., for another neat Left Coast find!

The Biscayne replaced the Delray in 1959 and was named after Biscayne Bay, near Miami. Chevy had begun a trend of naming cars after coastal cities or beaches such as the Bel Air and the later Malibu. Besides the lack of bling, a Biscayne could be identified as separate from the upscale Impala by its use of double taillights instead of triples (though the mid-range Bel Air also used doubles). For 1965, Chevrolet would have a record sales year and sell 1.25 million Impalas (including Super Sports) versus 271,000 Bel Airs and 145,000 Biscaynes.

This Biscayne from 1965 has been sitting idle since 2007, but it’s up and moving again with a clean gas tank, new fuel sending unit, water pump, hoses and belts, and a tune-up.  We’re told the brakes are good as well as the tires, but if they’re the same ones the car came to rest with, they should be replaced as well. We assume that big-block V8 and automatic transmission work properly, but the seller doesn’t say this, nor does he indicate numbers-matching. But you couldn’t buy a full-size ’65 Chevy that would be any lighter in weight, so this car could a true sleeper, especially with the baby moons.

Both the body and interior are going to need attention, but this should be one of those projects that you could drive while you work on it. There are a few little dents and dings, and rust is apparent in the lower rear quarter panels, side roof panel, front hood, and trunk pan, but we’re told the floors and rocker panels are all solid. The interior is going to need almost everything from door panels and the headliner to upholstery and floor coverings.

Chevy fans always seem to migrate to the Impala, but once restored this Biscayne could be a badass car in both appearance and performance. It wears its original black/yellow California license plates and we’re told everything is up to date with the DMV. According to Hagerty, one of these cars in super nice condition is a $20,000 proposition, although you’d think the 396 should bump that up a bit. This could be a good project if the seller is flexible with his “OBO”.


  1. Mitchell G. Member

    Address the interior, rust and paint, ditch the Rally wheels for a proper set of steelies with dog dish hubcaps, cruise for now and do a manual transmission swap later

    Like 4
  2. 19sixty5 Member

    The 396 fender emblems and the rally wheels don’t exactly scream sleeper to me. White steel wheels with some appropriate chips and scratches with or without dog dish caps would!

    Like 2
  3. tiger66

    From the write-up: “From 1958-75, the Biscayne would be the entry-level model for a full-size Chevrolet.”

    Incorrect. For ’58, the Delray was the entry-level model (replacing the 150), the Biscayne was the mid-level and the Bel Air the top level (the ’58 Impala was a Bel Air sub-series). The Delray was dropped for ’59 and the Biscayne then became the entry-level car with the Bel Air moving down to mid-level and the new Impala series occupying the top spot.

    Like 6
    • Russ Dixon Russ Dixon Staff

      That’s correct. The Delray was a one-year iteration I had forgotten about. Copy adjusted. Thanks.

      Like 3
  4. Troy s

    You know, you can run but you can’t hide, in a car like this ’65 Chevy plain jane Biscayne. It will never be a sleeper anymore. Twenty five, thirty years ago…..maybe.
    I like it as it sits now, and if I saw it on the road I’d figure a 454 swap at the least was hiding under the hood. Nice ride!

    Like 8
  5. John M Cervini

    Those look badass with the front bumper removed.

    Like 1
    • Paul

      My uncle had a 64’ Impala he took the lower middle part of bumper out I guess that’s what they did to them back then. Whomever they are. But yea it looked bad azz

      • Camaro guy

        I’ve had several 63 Impala’s that i did the same thing with the middle of the front bumper looked cool then and still does thanks for the memories

  6. Bigbird

    Looks to be an original. Could be a nice cruiser, but with the only option of a power glide in ’65 it will not low 12’s for sure. Fix the interior, rust and repaint, Would be nice to get it on the road while there is still gas around….

    Like 6
    • Norman Wrensch

      Turbo 400 was available in a 65 Chevy. the THM 400 came out in 64 in the Buicks and Cadillac then 65 in the rest of the GM’s

      Like 4
      • Bigbird

        Stand corrected, but mid year. There were two automatics, the two-speed Powerglide or the three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic 400, which was introduced by Cadillac and Buick in 1964. Chevrolet had to wait until mid-1965 for this ultra-modern, very durable and capable transmission.

        Like 1
      • chuck dickinson

        The TH 400 was introduced on Chevys when the 396 engine became available which, if I recall correctly, was at the same time the Caprice option first became available on the Impala Sport Sedan (it was not a separate model in 65). I believe the TH 400 was only available with the 396 (or 427 in 66), not in the small blocks, for those two years.

        Like 1
  7. JOHN LYON Member

    ordered a 66 with a 4 speed , 283, and a limited slip rear steering was awful , taxi cab interor 2300 $ in danvers ma

    Like 1
  8. Tom

    My ’57 210 is designated Delray Club Coupe, a sub-series of the 210 trim level.

    • Chuck Dickinson

      From 54-57, the Delray was an interior option for the 210 2 dr sedan. It replaced the standard cloth and vinyl interior with an all-vinyl interior which was more upscale than the standard one. Most folks who bought a 210 were more budget conscious, so those were not a huge seller.

      Like 1
  9. Utes

    Like to see the speedo on this ride…could very well have been a police vehicle. State troopers in Indiana drove white Impala hardtops in 1967 which were 396/T400-equipped.

    Like 2

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