By on March 1, 2018

1962 Chevrolet Biscayne in Denver wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsDuring the early-to-mid 1960s, the king of the full-sized Chevrolet world was the loaded Impala. The Bel Air wasn’t quite as luxurious, but still had a decent amount of swank. For the bargain-conscious car shopper who wanted a bare-bones full-size sedan without a lot of costly gingerbread, the Chevy Biscayne was an excellent choice.

Here’s a ’62 that outlived most of the Impalas and Bel Airs, now ending its 56-year journey in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.

1962 Chevrolet Biscayne in Denver wrecking yard, decklid- ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsConditions were wintry when I found this car, but neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stay your junkyard courier from his appointed rounds.

1962 Chevrolet Biscayne in Denver wrecking yard, engine - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis car has the sensible-but-not-powerful 235-cubic-inch pushrod straight-six engine, rated at 135 horsepower in 1962. The original purchaser of this car wasn’t a total cheapskate, though, because the transmission is the optional Powerglide automatic instead of the more affordable three-on-the-tree manual that came standard.

1962 Chevrolet Biscayne in Denver wrecking yard, wheel - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe permanently flattened tires and completely fried interior indicate decades of outdoor storage prior to coming to this place. This car began its life at the St. Louis Assembly Plant, which was the second-closest-to-Denver GM factory building full-sized Chevrolets in 1962 (the plant in Arlington, Texas, was a bit closer).

1962 Chevrolet Biscayne in Denver wrecking yard, body rust - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThere’s some rust— not much by Midwestern standards but enough to scare away any Colorado restorer who might have considered spiffing up a not-very-desirable Biscayne sedan. A full-sized 1960-1964 Chevrolet two-door in this condition probably would have avoided this fate.

1962 Chevrolet Biscayne in Denver wrecking yard, seat upholstery - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsGeneral Motors sold 1,424,008 full-sized Chevrolets for the 1962 model year, 533,349 of which were sedans, and so this isn’t what you’d call a rare and unusual car. Still, it’s too bad nobody who encountered it before it came here was willing to make it into a budget cruiser or drag-race car.


There’s no telling how much of the USA this car saw during its long life.

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58 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1962 Chevrolet Biscayne Sedan...”


  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    Unfortunately the jingle in that commercial doesn’t work when they start mentioning the model names.
    But “See the USA in you Chevrolet” is pure advertising gold.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      It’s also a relic of a odd convention that apparently held from 1960 to about 1980 – the marque names of American cars were sometimes used to mean only the full-sized models, which in those days were often considered the “real” Chevys or Fords. That’s why you don’t hear any mention of “Bel Air” or Impala” or “Biscayne” in that commercial – “Chevrolet” in that context meant the full-size Chevys – you know, the *real* ones. Ford print ads of the time listed the cars they made as “Falcon – Fairlane – Ford – Thunderbird” – with “Ford” meaning the big Fords. It wasn’t until the ’80s that the full-size Detroiters were just another Chevy or Buick or Mercury.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        It doesn’t make sense now; but back then, it did. Since the early days, all the Detroit Three offered were the full size models in two door, four door, convertible, and station wagon models.

        Then the Corvette/Thunderbird were offered in the mid to late 1950s; both of them even had their own unique hood ornament instead of the Chevy bowtie or F O R D written across the front.

        Then, as cars reached their peak in size in late 1950s; they began to realize there were more women drivers on the road; and they wanted a smaller car than their husbands. (The VW Bug and other imports helped point the way here.) So the Falcon/Comet, Valiant, and similar small cars were introduced around 1960 to appeal to this trend; but they were still treated as a sideline product to the full size lineup.

        It was not until the Detroit moved to a smaller, FWD platform for most of their product line in the 1980s that they were treated equally.

    • 0 avatar
      210delray

      I agree with all of the above. Also the “real” Chevys, Fords, etc. were called “standard” sized cars, as if everything smaller was substandard! This too ended in the 1980s when they were increasingly called large, full-size, or family cars.

  • avatar
    mikey

    As mentioned , the 235 cu.in coupled with the Powerglide was pretty anemic. “Three on the tree” certainly made for a lot more fun.

    The early 60 GM,s were the vehicle of choice for my peer group (circa 69-72 time period ) Such a simple vehicle to work on. Unfortunately, Southern Ontario winters could eat the frame in 9-10 years. In some cases the frame rotted faster than the quarter panels.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The Dinah Shore Chevy Show…”See the USA in Your Chevrolet”

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    I rode 8 hours back and fourth to college in one of these in the late 70’s. It was my roommates grammas old car. It had the three on the tree tranny. What I remember most was the radio and antenna. AM only but at night we pulled in stations from Quebec and NYC- over 600 miles away. The antenna was like 6 feet high. I also remember the interior filling with steam when the heater core failed. We just looped the hose back and bypassed the core losing 10 minuets total. Replacing the core took all of 15 minuets. Try that in a modern car.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    And those snow tires.

    They bring back memories of my father leaving them on all year long because he didn’t have the money to buy regular tires.

    Then you couldn’t run studded tires year round and he spent an afternoon pulling the studs out of the tires.

    Yeah – good times.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    My memory may be failing me but check the location of the fuel filler.
    Didn’t most domestic vehicles, and particularly the ‘less expensive’ ones, of that era still have theirs located directly behind the rear license plate?

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      I know that mid-60s Cadillacs had the filler behind the license plate, which was not nearly as cool at the early 50s versions that had them hidden behind a flip up tail-light. Of course nothing is safer than fuel filler in the trunk as early Austin Healeys, Porsche 356s, and Beetles had.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      My 1986 Monte Carlo was fueled behind the license plate. 81 Malibu wagon was like a modern car, on the rear quarter panel. Go figure.

      • 0 avatar
        CaddyDaddy

        96’ Caprice has it behind the license plate. I love it when people say “ which side is the tank on?” I say, what ever side you dream,

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          The ’61-’64 Chevrolets had the obvious driver side filler, but went back behind the license plate in ’65.

          Before 1960, there were fillers in the driver side tail lights, above them, and some were in the side spear near the rear bumper.

          At least back then, they were all on the driver’s side. I think.

  • avatar
    spamvw

    Wouldn’t call it less expensive, but my ’67 Cougar had the gas filler behind the plate. I remember seeing these era cars pulling away from gas stations with less than stellar gas cap seals, pouring gas out as they left.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Dad’s first car was a 1962 Biscayne sedan, 289 V8 and Powerglide. (He got his license in the early 70s.)

    He immediately put fat rear tires on it, shackled up the rear end, and added Cherrybomb mufflers. He went to pick my mother up for school (they were the proverbial high school sweethearts) on her birthday (Feb 16) and as he approached his future in-laws home located along a state hwy he slid on the snowy road, overshot the driveway, when down the embankment into the yard, and came to a rest in front of the garage. My future grandmother was watching from the kitchen window.

    As my mother likes to say: “I can’t believe she let me leave the house with him that day.”

  • avatar
    stingray65

    These are the cars that gave the imports and US compacts a tough time, because these “basic” full-sizers from Chevy or Ford were often lower priced and way more car for the money (if you buy by the pound) than the much smaller Rambler, Lark, or furin brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Can’t argue with the size difference between Biscayne and the Rambler Classic and Studebaker Lark, but the Lark was $200 less and the Rambler $300 less, base price.

      The straight six with powerglide barely got 15 MPG, but I owned a ’63 Rambler classic with a Borg-Warner 3 Speed auto that got 21 MPG. The engine was smaller and got 10 HP less, but its 0-60 in 15 seconds with a tail wind was similar.

      The foreign economy models like VW, Morris-Minor and Renault weren’t comparable in size or power at all, and I wonder how Chevrolet could sell its Corvair or chevy II against the Biscayne. They were less roomy and not much cheaper.

      Biscayne had competition from GM’s other divisions with the Olds F-85, Buick Special, and Pontiac Tempest, bigger cars than the other compacts,and only slightly smaller inside than the Biscayne. Then there was the Dart and Valiant, bigger than theother GM three with bulletproof drivetrains.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Agreed, if this weren’t a Biscayne (the bottom of the barrel) four-door, it wouldn’t be sitting in this yard. The way the steering shaft is sticking up under the hood, I’d say that someone has snagged the manual steering gear off of it. Too bad we don’t have a shot of the VIN plate – we could see which plant built it. Maybe Tarrytown, New York?

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    And yes, I can remember when there were lots of these on the road, being daily driven. There’s nothing like that Powerglide whine.

  • avatar
    readallover

    You could always tell if it was a Biscayne because they had two tail lights a side instead of the three that an Impala or Bel Air possessed.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Probably sent off to meet its fate by the estate of the late owner. After rotting behind the garage for a few decades, they were finally ready to sell the property and had to get this thing out of there.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    “General Motors sold 1,424,008 full-sized Chevrolets for the 1962 model year, 533,349 of which were sedans,”

    So if I’m reading that correctly, full sized Chevy 2-doors outsold 4-doors by almost 2 to 1? That seems crazy, but it was different time.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      That number probably includes station wagons and convertibles as well.

      In those days the full size cars were expected to be offered in ALL THE BODY STYLES. A far cry from today.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah there were probably a couple hundred thousand of the different levels of station wagons sold and tens of thousands of convertibles sold. However 2drs were popular. It saved you a few dollars over the 4dr and they were preferred not only by those concerned with style but families with young children since child door locks were not invented yet.

      In the intermediate lines, the 2dr was usually far and away the best seller since they were the cheaper alternative and thus popular with young families and young guys concerned with style.

  • avatar
    Dodge440391SG

    Very,very common ! Powerglides seemed to be more durable than the “Slimjims”. Plain-jane cheap transportation . Good to see one again,thanks.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    My grandmother drove almost the exact same car well into her 70s, with no power steering or power brakes. I have no sympathy for today’s powder puff seniors who can’t manage getting into a real car rather than a CUV with all the power goodies.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Don’t nobody care

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    The Greaseman’s ride

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I grew up with two of these. A 62 Bel Air sedan in black with a red interior, dog dish caps and the 235-6 Stovebolt with the 3 on the tree. We also had the 62 Impala sedan in blue with the 283 and Powerglide. Both were nice reliable family sedans with great trunks. The only major maintenance my dad performed on them was a valve job on the stovebolt and a Powerglide replacement with a rebuild. The 62 was the last year of the iron Powerglide so it was fairly heavy to remove but my old skateboard came in handy.
    Only the Impala had the three taillights. The Bel Air had the two taillight rear like the Biscayne the only difference was the chrome side trim and emblems.

  • avatar
    jjf

    I’d be interested in seeing a write up on the red Aztek in the back.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Whatnext–A 62 Chevy was much easier to get in and out of than today’s cars. Also rear passengers did not hit their heads on the rear glass and the trunks were larger and more usable than today’s sedans. Additionally a 62 Chevy had larger green houses with windows that anyone could see out of. My father had a 62 Chevy II 300 sedan which had enough room for six and had a decent sized trunk. I drove that car in high school and the first part of college. Much easier to get in and out of an suv and crossover than most of today’s sedans with their coupe like styling and smaller trunks. The closest domestic sedan to the full size sedans of the past would be the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. Don’t blame the seniors or those who want a vehicle easier to get in and out of and with more leg room for abandoning sedans–blame the manufacturers. Also there is more profit in a cross over and suv so why would the manufacturers want to make sedans more desirable to the buyer.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Back then, sedans were BOF, and had flat floors. What also makes today’s sedans so hard for seniors to get out of are the deep floor pans and thick side sills needed for strength in a unibody car; it is hard to lift your legs and swing them out. This was not an issue in BOF cars; the floor pans were very shallow.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    MRF 95 T-Bird–My first board was called a Sidewalk Surfboard which was polished wood with fixed wheels. I rode it so much in the Summer of 64 that I wore the wheels out and had to replace the wheels. A few years later I stepped up to a black fiberglass board with wheels that would turn. After I got my board it seems that others started to buy them. I used my skateboard more than my bicycle.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      My skateboard was quite similar make out of lacquered plywood. I think it predated the fiberglass versions.
      When you think of it it’s interesting the number of household items that can you can fashion to make your wrenching easier. I once used part of a broom handle as a clutch and bearing guide. It worked as well as one from the auto parts store. A friend of mine once used the lower part of a supermarket shopping cart as a engine stand for a air cooled VW motor.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    LOL the demographics of the commenters here is apparent. Greetings fellow old-timers!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      You don’t have to be old to be an old-timer, just have experience with older cars – and other things.

      I went to a party for a groom to be (I forget what they called those) in 2006, and the host put on an adult film. Talking recently with another guy who had been to the party, I mentioned the adult video, and he said he looked it up online. It’s now listed under “vintage porn”.

      • 0 avatar
        DownUnder2014

        A Bucks Party?

        I guess that’s because the performers probably retire quickly. 2006 is probably equivalent to like 30 years ago…

        It’s hard to imagine though, I suppose.

        I’m not an old-timer, but I find the stories posted here quite interesting, which keeps me coming back! And Junkyard Finds, of course.

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    I guess the sedans still aren’t worth restoring as much as the two doors…

    It probably lived for maybe 25-30 years and then spent the next 25-30 in situ and then scrapped after the owner died or something like that…


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