Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Full-Size Hot Rod: 1968 Chevrolet 427 Biscayne

One model of Chevrolet that has been dead for a long time is the Biscayne, a bottom-of-the-ladder trim level that was in existence from 1958 through 1972 (continuing to ’75 in Canada). It was technically undercut in its first year by the Delray but beyond that, it was a basement dweller and often found in fleets or private ownership by the few who wanted the cheapest possible wheels. Another market, indirectly, for the two-door sedan version was the hot rod set. Though austere in standard form, the Biscayne could be ordered with top-drawer mechanical components, the same as an Impala SS, if a buyer so desired. And today, for your review, we have just such a Biscayne, specifically, a 1968 edition. It’s located in Houston, Texas and is available, here on craigslist for $24,000.

Full disclosure (from me, not the seller), this Chevy was not born with its muscular profile. The VIN indicates that it was originally six-cylinder powered and has since undergone a metamorphosis of sorts. Its outward appearance looks like it means business, mostly as a result of its oversized hoops (20″ rear/18″ front) and its “California” rake, a stance that was common in the ’70s though I never heard it associated with California anything back then. Beyond that, its presentation is a bit subdued. The finish has a satin sheen to it, probably planned and not as the result of fade. It’s very presentable overall with its straight body panels, healthy chrome bits, and an absence of rust.  There’s more to review here.

Chevrolet offered a pair of 427 CI V8s in ’68, a 385 HP “standard” unit, and a scarcely encountered, special order 425 HP variant. As to this 427 engine’s provenance, nothing is stated other than, “Aluminum intake & 4-barrel carb, electronic ignition, headers w/ X-pipe dual exhaust, and dual electric fans“. Backing up the big block is a four-speed manual transmission and front disc brakes have been added to slow this hoss down. It’s not stated, but I imagine this Biscayne goes with gusto.

The interior, other than the strapped-on tach, looks Biscaynish through and through. It is a black vinyl bench seat environment that shows well and features under dash gauges to make up for Chevrolet’s decidedly uninformative instrument panel. There was a gauge package offered in ’68 but they don’t surface all that often.

Fred Gibb Chevrolet (La Harpe, IL) Advertisement

So why the two-door sedan body style? These were relatively cheap cars and the big engines, four-speed gearboxes and steep rear-end gearing were all available as options. The body style cast off a dowdy sleeper image while the sedan aspect of the body (the B-pillar) provided solidity on hard launches – especially helpful with high power/torque modifications. Yes, I’d say this one is pretty cool (I’d ditch the wheels but that’s just my subjective preference) and the pricing doesn’t overly surprise me though I wouldn’t consider this car to be a bargain. And, a genuine factory Hi-Po Biscayne, assuming that you can find one that’s still intact, is going to cost a whole lot more than this example. I’d say this Chevy will provide some serious grins and giggles, right?

Comments

  1. Bill W.

    I’d replace the wheels and tires with some plain painted 15 inch wheels and black walls with dog dish caps and drive it

    Like 41
  2. RayT Member

    Steelies and dog dish ‘caps would be fine, though my preference is for Torq-Thrusts (unpolished).

    Some of the goodies listed in the Gibb Chevrolet ad would be very desirable, if not essential, such as the Posi, upgraded cooling and HD suspension, none of which the seller is touting for this car.
    Given the weight (and power) differential between the original “six” and the 427, I’m not sure I’d drive it more than a block or two without those additions.

    Like 13
    • Harry

      So many great wheel ideas besides the ghetto rims. It never fails.

      Like 10
    • Mike76

      Agree, in order to do these swaps to big blocks correctly, you need to do more than just switch engines. This Biscayne, if it were mine, I’d definitely address the cooling, suspension and go through and verify and possibly upgrade the brake components. The extra weight and torque of that big block is not insignificant and you’d want to make sure the car is capable of handling it.

      Like 2
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Hey, Jim…. hate to burst your bubble but the “California Rake” came alive in the ’50s. Don’t ask me how I know. I’d bet money this car has a posi rear. Just mashing the gas pedal should indicate to anybody that one is in place with all that muscle up front. If not, it’s going to get expensive replacing one of those 20″ tires every month. Speaking of which, I like the wheel/tire combination. Puts a little bright spot on a one shade back drop.

    Like 6
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      No bubble burst, I’ve just never heard of the term “California Rake” until recently. In the ’70s it was just a jacked up a$$-end courtesy of Gabriel Hi-Jackers.

      JO

      Like 8
      • Yblocker

        Air shocks were for the rich kids, us poor boys used shackles lol

        Like 6
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        What’d you do if you had coil springs?

        JO

        Like 2
      • Yblocker

        All the cars I had years ago were leafs in the rear, coils on the front

        Like 3
      • Dave

        This car has a very mild rake. I have heard “stink bug” stance referring to cars with a much more radical rake. So IMO this “California” rake is very appealing.

        Like 2
      • Mark E. Edmiston

        Coil springs were easy… if you wanted them to be higher, add spacers between the coils. If you wanted them to be lower, clamp the coils together… some guys would heat the first coil to make it sag, but it would often introduce fatigue into the coil and it was generally unsafe… it would also affect its load capacity.

        Like 3
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        My approach was just to replace the springs with higher rated ones. From experience, I found that spacers would give you an uneven result, wrecked the ride or would eventually fall out. And of course, Hi-Jackers, as I stated, did the trick too – and no, they weren’t for “rich kids” only.

        JO

        Like 2
      • bobhess bobhess Member

        The real California Rake was on average 2″ blocks in back on the leaf springs and lowering the front end just a little lower than the back by cutting the coils, replacing coils with shorter, slightly stiffer springs etc. Heating the coils not too smart as there is no way to balance out the spring rate without taking them out and even then you need a proper spring testing unit to do it. Have used a trailer tongue weight unit for this job. The ’70s hijackers don’t qualify for the California Rake status as all that does is screw up any balance originally built into the suspension and it looks weird.

        Like 1
  4. KC John Member

    I remember guys ordering steelies and poverty caps because they were no cost option. Most of these came off day one. At the time you just “weren’t cool” without some kind of custom wheels. Kinda neat how things come back around. Just saying.

    Like 8
    • John

      Trash the wheels and tires

      Like 11
  5. Mark Dolan

    I owned a 1968, Caprice, 327/300hp, 26,000 original miles, all original California car. It was stolen in 2009 by a car repair shop owner who removed it from my brother’s place while I was out of state. He applied for a new title and was given one. By the time I went to the State Capitol DMV it was too late. Police told me(in front of the car) the car shop owner was selling it to their captain, it was a civil manner and go have sex with yourself.

    Like 2
  6. Scratch

    Last line says it’s up for auction not sale priced!!

    Like 1
  7. Thomas Tangredi

    I lived on Long Island New York in the 60/s and would go to Motion performance in Baldwin on Sunrise hwy and you could buy the car and race it that night on the oyster Bay Park way very very fast Tommy T.

    Like 2
  8. pwtiger

    I lived in Queens back in the 60’s, while hanging out on Union Turnpike with the local street racers, one of the guys drives up in a Chevy just like this one. He says that he just bought it claiming it only has 20 miles on it, a few weeks later we see it featured in a car magazine, Motion performance was at the drag strip burning rubber, so 10 of those miles were brutal…

    Like 2
  9. Jimbosidecar

    The auction site shows it’s a 454, not a 427. And it looks to me like the power steering must be armstrong as I don’t see the pump. As of today with 2 days left in the auction it’s bid to under $2000.

    Like 2
    • Robert W Adkins

      Look closer, you can see the P/S belt !

      Like 2
    • princeofprussia

      What auction site? Article says it’s listed on Craigslist.

      Like 1
      • KJC

        At the end of the craigslist listing, it sends you to a “new” auction site.
        https://www.clasiq.com/auction/1968-chevrolet-biscayne/
        The whole thing seems a little “off” to me, buyer beware. That site says 454, their own photo clearly shows a 427 decal on the air cleaner.
        And another down vote on those wheels.

        Like 1
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Your points are well taken. I have covered numerous offerings from Clasiq.com and find that their website listing and their eBay or craigslist version often don’t agree.

        JO

        Like 1
  10. princeofprussia

    Is it just me, or does the paint look dull and dead? Especially for $24K?

    Like 1
    • Ashtray

      Supposedly it was painted with a semi gloss paint? Usually, the real reason is that the semi gloss paint doesn’t show imperfections nearly as much as a real high gloss paint job would?
      Especially with dark paint (black for example) and a real high gloss clear coat paint job, it will show the most minute imperfections.
      I’m not understanding how anyone would prefer dull paint over something with a real high gloss look, unless it was for the above stated reason?
      Just my oponion!

      Like 2
  11. mick

    Definitely! 20’s on a 68 with a (menacing) stock look? I don’t get it. But, it’s not mine so who am I to criticize! Looks like everything else is very tasteful!

    Like 1
  12. Nelson C

    Good looking ‘cane. 20″ wheels and tires probably handle the power better than anything we had back then. I’m not a fan of the big wheels but if we’re picking nits then the ’67 steering wheel and Ford mirror gotta go, too.

    Like 1
  13. Joe Haska

    I think it is a very nice car and apparently many others do too. What’s interesting is that many have their own little things they would change. All the
    changes are because of age and location of where the person commenting was and what era they grew up. Nothing is wrong, we are all just influenced by our experiences and age and environment. A group of us gear heads get to gather once a week, the age range is 55 to 85 and we are all friends, but our interest all relate to and where we grew up and when.

    Like 2
  14. JoeNYWF64

    I hope no remaining ultra rare ’68 caprice coupes with hidden headlights have such ridiculous blackwall tires & wheels fitted like these, destroying the look AND the ride.

    Like 0
  15. Scott

    A 427 with a healthy front seal leak.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.