1963 409 Biscayne with three tail lights??

WhiteRat1
10

Asked by WhiteRat1 Feb 02, 2010 at 03:55 PM about the 1963 Chevrolet Biscayne

Question type: General

In 1965 I bought a 1963 409 425HP Biscayne from a guy who got drafted into the military. The car only had a few thousand miles on it. I was only 18 years old at the time and I think I paid $1,700 for it. It had a beautiful  black acrylic exterior with a simple gold interior. I remember the guy making a big deal about how he had special ordered the car and he was especially proud of the three tail lights on the rear instead of the standard two. I have never seen another 63 Biscayne with three tail lights since. Can anyone tell me if three tail lights was a rare feature you could get from the factory or do you think that perhaps the guy just had a Super Sport trunk lid installed on it?

I still think about this car to this day. Can you imagine all that power in the hands of a young teenager? I never got a ticket all the years I owned it probably because I spent more time replacing clutch discs, broken valve springs, and bent pushrods then I did driving it. I finally sold the car for $700 cash in a state of panic during the first "gas crisis". Everyone thought the end of the would was coming and that cars that only got 6-mpg would only be worth scrap value.

If only I had that car today.

28 Answers

bisquick63
10

No Biscayne ever came with 3 tail lights as it was not a factory option, the only way a Biscayen had more than two was if the complete trunk was replaced with an impala.

WhiteRat1
10

Thanks for your input. I guess the original owner must have swaped the original trunk lid for a double light replacement. I sure miss that car.

bisquick63
10

I have had my 63 biscayne for over 30 years and it has seen a lot of changes in that time, not the fastest car off the line but after about 20 miles per hour when I punch her she will take care of all the 5.0 litre mustangs and if I ever find myself looking at their tailights I only need to turn on the juice and hit the 150 shot of nitrous. Would love to convert to a 4 speed 409 but have not found the right deal yet.

WhiteRat1
10

Makes me sick when I think that I sold my Biscyne for a lousy $700. But it was at a time when everything looked very gloomy (just like the times we are going through now). I saw a car very much like the 409 I had two weeks ago at the Grand National Roadsters show in Pomona, Ca. Wow my heart went thump, it was tuxedo black with the same gold interior like mine. Mine had a 456 posi traction rear end but I changed to a 308 gear ratio to keep from blowing it up on the street. It got way less then 10 mpg but gas was less the .40 per gallon at that time.

bisquick63
10

wow, sounds nice. I have only seen one original 63 Biscayne with a 409/4speed in the past 30 years as under 17,000 409 Chevrolet original equipment were produced and most of these went into the Impala's, couple that with the low 37,000 2dr/sdn V8 Biscayne total production it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that a factory 63 409 Biscayne was rare. I have also learned that there is no way via VIN to tell if it came with a 283, 327, 348, 0r any of the 3 hp rated 409 so I guess I could take my original factory V8 (195 hp 283) and make it a 409? Any way you slice it they are rare. My car an original California piece with 77,000 miles on it ( I bought it with only 58,000 original miles on it) currently has a bored and stroked 1970 350, 2.02 ported heads off a 69 Camero, 100 Amp single wire, Mallory ignition factory 375 HP GM cam, roller top end and a 150 shot nitrous wet kit. 355 Moser posi and a turbo 350 B&M 2800 stall and shift kit. I get around 17 MPG when the kids are in the car and half that when the boys are in for a ride.

WhiteRat1
10

Thank you very much for sharing the great photo. It's nice to see a family share an interest in any auto hobby. I have some photos of my Biscayne that are 43 years old. I will try to scan some and post them for you to see (might take me a day or so).

bisquick63
10

That would be cool, I have some at home of mine but just a few family ones at work, will post some otheres also. Cheers

bisquick63
10

http://www.cardomain.com/ride/648071/1963-chevrolet-biscayne?rp=1

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
WhiteRat1
10

Hey Bisquick, I viewed your site and now I am really envious. You’ve done a nice job on your car. I still have great memories of my 63 Biscayne 409 even after 44 years. I dug out an old Cars & Parts magazine article that featured the identical car I owned. In fact, I have to believe that the serial numbers must have been pretty darn close. Sounds like there were maybe only a few hundred of these cars produced. The guy I bought my car from special ordered it through a Chevy dealer here in the Los Angeles area with plans to drag race it at the local drag strip which was the infamous Lions Drag Strip. Shortly after receiving the car the guy was drafted into the military and never had a chance to play with it. I saw an ad in the Sunday paper and at the age of 17 I went from driving my grandmother's 1955 flathead 6-cylinder Plymouth to the 409, 425 HP Biscayne. Fortunately my parents always supported my love for cars and hot rodding because none of us had any idea what we were in for, maintenance wise. I spent all my time tearing my car apart and replacing stuff. In fact I ended up buying a 64 Chevy SS 327, with a 4-speed which was far more dependable. I have no regrets owing that 409 beast because that is how I learned all about working on cars. I loved every minute of it and would sure like to have another car just like it. Maybe one day the right deal will come along and I can grab it up. Unfortunately my only photos are over 40 years old and are very poor quality. I’ll try to post several here. Take care.

WhiteRat1
10

Here are several more photos. Notice the three tail lights.

WhiteRat1
10

Side view

WhiteRat1
10

Interior.

WhiteRat1
10

409 cubic inch, 425 HP

WhiteRat1
10

I bought a 1964 SS with 327, 4-speed for a daily driver because the Biscayne spent a lot of time being worked on. This was one of the nicest cars I ever owned. After I sold the 409 I drove the 64 for several years and then in 1968 I custom ordered a new 68 Dodge Charger R/T. 440 magnum with torqueflight. Another wonderful car.

WhiteRat1
10

327 Engine

WhiteRat1
10

64 SS and 68 Charger R/T

WhiteRat1
10

Double trouble. Two fabulous cars.

WhiteRat1
10

I guess I liked yellow.

WhiteRat1
10

First day home. I custom ordered this car without power steering, windows, and A/C. Even requested no double black strip on rear of car. I always liked being different then the crowd. Note the cheesy hubcaps. I think I paid around $3,400 for this car.

WhiteRat1
10

440 magnum, 375 HP.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
WhiteRat1
10

With brand new Crager wheels and big tires. Wonderful car. Moral or this story is NEVER GET RID OF THE CARS YOU OWNED AS A KID!!!

bisquick63
10

Wow, that is one crazy story, glad you stayed with the hot rods. I can not believe that you had a 63 409 4 speed Biscayne at 17............That is incredible and it must have been the pounder of the neighbourhood. Ever have any problems with your steady bearing? I am looking at a one piece driveshaft to eliminate mine. Looks like you kept the drive alive when you got rid of the Biscayne. Ya I did notice the three lights? that is really odd. by any chance it did not have an alluminum front end or bumpers did it? I guess that is something that you would have mentioned. Thanks for all the pics I love seeing the old ones the most. Well back to the grind. e ya

WhiteRat1
10

Sorry, no aluminum front end. You are referring to the Z11 cars that Chevy built on a very limited basis. I do remember seeing several of them at the drag races in the mid 60's. These aluminum front end cars were pretty much reserved for a few factory sponsored teams. I believe they included a longer stroked 409 which became 427 cubic inches. Very very rare.

bisquick63
10

On that you are correct, I did see one in Seattle for sale $100,000.00 was the asking price. Only 50 were built and sold as race cars to Chevrolet dealers. They had different heads, cam and were indeed stroked to 427. The reason I asked was that dealers were also issued parts and crate engines back in the day but the alluminum panels were very fragile I believe that half way through they used a heavier guage alluminum. I would have loved to see these cars at the strip.

WhiteRat1
10

Yeah, when I look back I can’t help but think that I grew up during a time when a lot of hot rodding history was being made. I was only 15-years old in 1963 and all I could think about were hot rods and racing. I was born and grew up near the beach in southern California. Everyone was into either surfing or cars. Most of the guys in my neighborhood were into hot rods. Back then you had to build and fabricate everything yourself unlike today where you can literally order your hot rod over the Internet and put it together by following an instruction sheet. I used to spend Saturdays and Sundays watching the drag races at Lions Drag Strip. I watched every big name in drag racing history grow up and set records that would be broken by another big name several weeks later. I used to sit so close to the starting line that my brain rattled in my skull as the AA fuel dragsters blasted off. Most of the time it was hard to tell who won because my eyes were burning from the nitro fuel exhaust fumes plus it was nearly impossible to see through the tire smoke. I witnessed the altered class stock cars evolve into the present day funny cars. I recall every year as Ford, Chevy, Pontiac, Dodge & Chrysler came out with their latest muscle car. The competition between the factory brands was fierce and it spilled over into the streets. The cars that many of my friends drove during my high school years would blow your mind. There were hemi Plymouths & Dodges, 427 Mustangs and Corvettes, and GTO’s everywhere. You name it and I remember seeing it on the street. Oh, those were the days…… Here is a photo of a 1930 Ford 5-window coupe I paid $150 for in 1963. I didn't even have my driver's license yet. I wanted to build a drag car but never got around to it so I traded it to another guy for a go cart. I also bought a 1663 Chevy Nova that I wanted to transform into a drag racer but I never was able to start on it either so I gave it to my uncle because he needed a car at the time. Yes...those were the days.

bisquick63
10

Man it was the life back then, I was only turning 4 in 63 but have older brothers that were always going through American muscle like it was candy. I wish I had not lost all my old photo's in a flood many years back but I still remember doing 140 mph in my brothers 1969 383 Plumb Crazy Purple Super Bee and going from zero to 100 in seconds in my other brothers 1969 4 speed original 427 powered 1968 RS/SS Camero, the factory installed 396 blew up under warranty and was replaced with the stronger 427. I myself was for the most part a tag along with my friends and brothers as we went through the years, my best friend 35 Chevy p/u with a 327 ad 488 gears clocking 11.88 at Mission Drag Strip, 33 Anglia and a 34 Anglia both running BB chevs pulling low 11's. All my buddies still have their cars from the late 70's early 80's and we still hit a few car shows and drag races every year. I used to run my 70 Chevelle until my X wife totalled it............but not all was lost as the drive train went into my 63. If we could only go back and hang onto those cars we gave away for next to nothing. I sold my 68 442 all factory original for $700.00 because I did not like the fact that it was an automatic and to me a 442 was 4 barrel 4 speed and duel exhaust, bought it over the phone and did not even ask what it had for a power train so I drove it hard till I fried the engine, rebuilt my first engine at a GM dealership that I washed cars at then gave it away for $700.00 to cover my bill for parts at work..............Crazy times indeed..

Steven Hill
0

Hi guys. I don't know when this was posted, I just found it last night, 3-15-11, but I can tell you as the neighbor across the street, Mike, the guy that bought the car, did not change the deck lid. The car came from the factory with 3 red tail lights and no back-up lights.

4door409
10

Here is one for all of you, My dad bought a new 63 Biscayne red "are you ready" 4 door with a 409/425 hp. with 4 speed in the floor with chrome valve covers and chrome air cleaner. we took it to the old air strip on the week ends in Kansas City and blew away the Chrysler products and Fords. Only 4 door I know of. Had full roller came and he had 3 inch dumps sticking out behind the front wheels. When we would go to Arkansas in Garfield dad would stop in Sligman Mo. and open up the dumps and drive all the way to Garfield with them waking everybody up on the way. Granddad said he could here us coming all the way. With my folks up front and 4 of us kids in the back no one beleved the 409 and flags on the finders until them caught back up to us at the next light. They just shook their heads that the beleived it now. Last time I saw it was in Junction City Oregon. Oh yea never saw one with three tail lights either. Any one know where it is now? If so let me know at socom308@yahoo.com. I just read the response below and the dealer where dad bought his from in Kansas City said there was a experimental engine in my dads so I have always believed it was the 427 version because no one could out run us. Just figured no one would believe me.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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