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November 15, 2019

The Biscayne – Chevrolet’s Motorama Dream Car for 1955

Chevrolet’s Biscayne wowed show-goers at the 1955 General Motors Motorama. Designed and built under the direction of GM design chief Harley Earl, this genuine “dream car” matters because it is one of the two surviving Chevrolet concept vehicles from the automaker’s famed 1950s automotive extravaganzas.

Described by GM as “An Exploration in Elegance,” the Biscayne was a four-passenger tour de force by Earl and his styling team. This car was designed as a pillar-less hard top design complete with suicide doors, indented side panels, and “Stratospheric” windshield. The car was also used as the display platform for the then new production 1955 Chevrolet V-8, a 265 c.i., 215 h.p. powerplant. Unique swivel front seats allowed the front passengers easy exit from the low-slung car. Front and rear ashtrays and lighters were located on the driveshaft tunnel between the passengers.

Combining styling queues that would later show up in GM’s Corvair and Corvette production models, the Biscayne was produced for the popular Motorama shows of the 1950s, which were sponsored coast-to-coast by the automotive manufacturer and designed to promote its forward-thinking approach to automotive styling and production. All of the Motorama cars were built by hand and most had no engine, electrics or interiors. The Biscayne featured a fiberglass body.

The Biscayne show car was built for the 1955 Motorama. It employed many Corvette design ideas, and is presented to management as a new direction for the Corvette. The body is a special shell of glass-fiber-reinforced plastic for light weight and impact resistance. The Stratospheric windshield sweeps over the driver’s head to form part of the roof. The new four door design requires no center pillars.

The engines is an experimental high compression Chevrolet V8 of 215 HP with dual exhaust, four barrel carburetor and high lift cam.

Six decades after its Motorama debut, the avant-garde 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne’s “star power” is undiminished, and it still attracts a crowd whenever it is shown.


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