1960 Chevrolet Biscayne treasured by frugal farmer

Farm Forum

Don Wolf’s 1960 Chevrolet Biscayne has a remarkable history. He discovered that in 1960 a Pennsylvania farmer went to the local Chevrolet dealership in search of a new automobile.

The frugal farmer was in the market for basic, no frills, transportation — and that is exactly what he got. He drove home in a bottom-of-the-line turquoise Chevrolet Biscayne sedan with a white top that was equipped with no accessories. The Biscayne then — and now — has manual brakes, manual steering, no seat belts, no backup lights and no radio.

Under the expansive engine hood was the tried and true bulletproof 235-cubic-inch in-line six-cylinder engine that generates 135 horsepower to move the 3,555-pound Biscayne. The car was driven sparingly, basically to church and occasionally to the general store. Otherwise the Chevrolet stayed in the farmer’s barn and it reportedly never ventured out in the winter months.

After 24 years the farmer determined that the 1960 Biscayne still had a lot of life left in it, so in 1984 the Chevrolet was dismantled and repainted in the original color.

The farmer died in 1992 and in his will he left the car to the mechanic who had serviced the car for 32 years. After a year the mechanic sold the car. The purchaser was a man who worked with Wolf. In 2000 Wolf learned the car was going to be sold.

“If I didn’t buy it,” he says, “the kid down the street was going to make it into a hotrod.”

Knowing of the car’s history with the farmer, Wolf wasn’t going to let that happen. He bought the Biscayne and drove it home on the 119-inch wheelbase, shifting the three-speed manual transmission with the shift lever mounted on the steering column.

Most of the cars built by General Motors in 1959 were very flamboyant, stylistically speaking. So in 1960 the excessive styles were somewhat curbed. The batwing rear deck that was on the 1959 Chevrolet was subdued in 1960 with flattened fins.

The rear quarter windows are stationary, but the wing vent windows in the front doors can be adjusted to control the flow of air. For additional fresh air to be directed into the spacious cabin, the under dashboard vents can be opened. Fresh, cooling air is welcome with the sun shining through the huge wraparound windshield and no air conditioning to keep the cabin cool.

Since he has owned the Biscayne, Wolf has simply maintained the reliable car.

“With the Internet and old Chevrolet catalogs, I am able to find the few things I need to keep the car looking like new,” he says.

The small “dog dish” hubcaps are the only items he had trouble finding. In the enormous trunk Wolf found the original spare tire and the bumper jack. There also were hard-to-find “T3” headlights, as well as a couple of bottles of lead additive. He adds a bit of the additive to the gasoline tank whenever he refuels. That is the fuel that was common when the car was new.

A single barrel carburetor feeds fuel to the “Blue Flame” engine. Wolf reports that with new bushings and new shock absorbers installed his car drives like a dream.

“This car is all about a good conversation amongst the passengers, because she has no radio,” commented Wolf.

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