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Bel Air vs. Impala vs. Biscayne

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  • Member since
    November, 2006
  • From: Quebec, Canada
Bel Air vs. Impala vs. Biscayne
Posted by skumole on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 5:31 PM
I've been wondering for some time what were the differences between those three cars. Is the Biscayne a "luxury" version of the Impala and the Bel Air a "cheap" version? Were these three cars available with the same options, colors, engines, etc?
Any info would be greatly appreciated,
Thanks a lot Thumbs UpSmile
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  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Northern Motown Burb
Posted by Terry on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 5:55 PM
Form 1955 through 1957, the Belair was the top of the model at Chevy. In 1958, the Impala became top dog, Belair became second dog and the Biscaynne was entry levelwith most of these being fleet sales, such as Utility Company cars. That line up remained intact through the 1976 model year, I believe, when in 1977 the "downsized" Chevys were introed.....
When it's too cold to work on my 1:1's, I head to the cave to dabble on the little guys! Both are great, but the older and shakier I get, the tougher the little ones become!
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 6:49 PM
Terry's pretty close . The Biscaynne was dropped in '72 in the U.S. and '75 in Canada.

the BelAir was dropped in the U.S. in '75 but we could still buy them in Canada until '81.

AND in '66 the Caprice became the top Chevy ,, you forgot about that one. Wink

,,, and of corse there was the Delray from '54 to '59.

Here's a link you might like to check out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chevrolet_vehicles
  • Member since
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Posted by AMTman on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 8:45 PM
Yes the Biscayne was the barebones of the full-size Chevies.Smile
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 8:54 PM
Even though biscayne was concidered the lower class of these cars it is still my #1 choice....
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Ontario, Canada
Posted by brewsterg6 on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 9:23 PM
One thing to remember is that for some of the years, a new name came as an upgrade on certain body styles only... for example, in 1958 the Impala, as stated, was 'top dog'... but only available as a hard top and convertible, leaving the Bel air line as the top sedan. For '59 the Impala spread to cover the entire model line, leaving the Bel air as the clear cut second line, and the Biscayne as the Bottom.( the Delray was a one year '58 only) The Belair got it's start this same way in 1950, as a single model hard top only, not spreading to the entire top line until '53. The same occured with the introduction of the Caprice in '65 and the reintoduction of the Impala SS in the ninties.

"Those accustomed to the finest... find it in Chevrolet"! ~ 1951 Chevrolet Advertising

On the desk...1953 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop and 1931 Chevrolet Landau Phaeton, 1932 Chevrolet Pheaton

  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 9:27 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by brewsterg6

One thing to remember is that for some of the years, a new name came as an upgrade on certain body styles only... for example, in 1958 the Impala, as stated, was 'top dog'... but only available as a hard top and convertible, leaving the Bel air line as the top sedan. For '59 the Impala spread to cover the entire model line, leaving the Bel air as the clear cut second line, and the Biscayne as the Bottom.( the Delray was a one year '58 only) The Belair got it's start this same way in 1950, as a single model hard top only, not spreading to the entire top line until '53. The same occured with the introduction of the Caprice in '65 and the reintoduction of the Impala SS in the ninties.


Correction: Delray was introduced in 1956 as a luxury model sedan, 2 or 4dr (see the Revell '56 Delray 2dr sedan), and continued as such for 1957. For 1958, Delray was bumped to the bottom of the line, and Biscayne was introduced as Chevrolet's luxury model 2 and 4 door sedan models. Delray was dropped as a model name after 1958, and Biscayne became the low-end model from then through 1972.

Biscuitbuilder1
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 9:49 PM
Also,

Bear in mind that for a number of years, Chevrolet offered the same body styles in multiple trim levels, certainly with full-sized cars.

For example, From at least 1955 until 1962, two distinct trim levels of pillarless hardtops were offered: 210 and Bel Air (1955-57), Bel Air and Impala from 1958-62 (remember, the sought after '62 Bel Air "Bubbletop" hardtop, with the Impala getting the new "formal roof" designed and advertized as having the "look of a convertible, but in steel". Caprice began as a "formal roof" hardtop in 1966, after Chevy'd been blindsided by the introduction of the "quieter than a Rolls Royce LTD from Ford in 1965; but Chevy continued to offer an Impala hardtop for a long time after that, and Impala also was produced in both Impala and Impala SS trim levels.

Biscuitbuilder1
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Ontario, Canada
Posted by brewsterg6 on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 9:51 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by biscuitbuilder1

QUOTE: Originally posted by brewsterg6

One thing to remember is that for some of the years, a new name came as an upgrade on certain body styles only... for example, in 1958 the Impala, as stated, was 'top dog'... but only available as a hard top and convertible, leaving the Bel air line as the top sedan. For '59 the Impala spread to cover the entire model line, leaving the Bel air as the clear cut second line, and the Biscayne as the Bottom.( the Delray was a one year '58 only) The Belair got it's start this same way in 1950, as a single model hard top only, not spreading to the entire top line until '53. The same occured with the introduction of the Caprice in '65 and the reintoduction of the Impala SS in the ninties.


Correction: Delray was introduced in 1956 as a luxury model sedan, 2 or 4dr (see the Revell '56 Delray 2dr sedan), and continued as such for 1957. For 1958, Delray was bumped to the bottom of the line, and Biscayne was introduced as Chevrolet's luxury model 2 and 4 door sedan models. Delray was dropped as a model name after 1958, and Biscayne became the low-end model from then through 1972.

Biscuitbuilder1

Was a '58 Belair sedan not above a Biscayne??

"Those accustomed to the finest... find it in Chevrolet"! ~ 1951 Chevrolet Advertising

On the desk...1953 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop and 1931 Chevrolet Landau Phaeton, 1932 Chevrolet Pheaton

  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 11:55 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by brewsterg6

QUOTE: Originally posted by biscuitbuilder1

QUOTE: Originally posted by brewsterg6

One thing to remember is that for some of the years, a new name came as an upgrade on certain body styles only... for example, in 1958 the Impala, as stated, was 'top dog'... but only available as a hard top and convertible, leaving the Bel air line as the top sedan. For '59 the Impala spread to cover the entire model line, leaving the Bel air as the clear cut second line, and the Biscayne as the Bottom.( the Delray was a one year '58 only) The Belair got it's start this same way in 1950, as a single model hard top only, not spreading to the entire top line until '53. The same occured with the introduction of the Caprice in '65 and the reintoduction of the Impala SS in the ninties.


Not really, no. The 1958 Biscayne had a much more sumptous interior, and sold for a few dollars more as a result. Biscayne shared the same exterior trim as the Delray, but with a second, lower side spear added, integrated into the Delray spear, with a brushed stainless steel panel in between the two.

Biscayne was intended more for the older buyer, where Bel Air was trimmed out more for the family.

Biscuitbuilder1

Correction: Delray was introduced in 1956 as a luxury model sedan, 2 or 4dr (see the Revell '56 Delray 2dr sedan), and continued as such for 1957. For 1958, Delray was bumped to the bottom of the line, and Biscayne was introduced as Chevrolet's luxury model 2 and 4 door sedan models. Delray was dropped as a model name after 1958, and Biscayne became the low-end model from then through 1972.

Biscuitbuilder1

Was a '58 Belair sedan not above a Biscayne??
  • Member since
    February, 2008
Posted by guidematic on Thursday, March 06, 2008 12:26 AM
Going back some years to give perspective. In '51, the Bel Air was the Hardtop Coupe offered in the DeLuxe series. It was common to give specific names these cars in the early years of the style. In '53 model names were realigned.

The One Fifty was the base series, followed by the Two Ten and finally the Two Forty, which was commonly known as the Bel Air.

I believe the Delray was a trim option that became available in 1955 on the Two Ten 2-door sedan, and continued through '57.

In '58 names were changed again. The base car was the Delray, then the Biscayne and then the Bel air. The Impala was actually a part of the Bel Air series.

In '59, the names were agin changed, and what would remain in place for several years. The Biscayne was the low line car, the Bel Air next, then the Impala which was now a full line series.

The ImpalaSS was introduced part way through '61 and became a separate series in '64.

The Caprice wasintrofuced in '65 as a 4-door hardtop only. It was part of the Impala series, but in '66 it became a series of its' own.

The Impala SS remained through the 68 model year, but another model, the SS427 was available from '67-69.

1970 saw a condensation of series. The Impala SS was gone. So it was the Biscayne, Bel Air, Impala and then Caprice.

The Biscayne was gone in the US in '74, but lasted until '76 in Canada, and the Bel Air was gone in the US after '75, but we got it until '81. The Impala lasted until '85, but was reborn in 2000 as a large FWD sedan. In essence the Bel Air remained as the Impala S, a fleet market special.

The Caprice that replaced the Impala in '86 was simply the Caprice, then there was the upmarket Classic, and then the Classic Brougham. There was even a Caprice Classic Brougham Landau (!)

I hope this clears the fog.

Mike
  • Member since
    November, 2006
  • From: Quebec, Canada
Posted by skumole on Thursday, March 06, 2008 6:04 AM
Thanks a lot! I now feel a lot more smarter Thumbs Up
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  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, March 06, 2008 6:16 AM
Well,, I got out my trusty , ratty old "Car Spotter's Guide, 1940-1965 by Tad Burness" and on the page for 1954 Chevrolet there's a 210 Delray coupe.
  • Member since
    February, 2008
Posted by rhoadapple on Thursday, March 06, 2008 8:24 AM
Hey biscuitbuilder1..you got me thinking about my old '62 Impala SS...Ermine White with red and chrome bucket interior..jacked up in the late '60's with new Monroe shocks, and sporting dual exhaust with Thrush glasspacks. Was a head turner with that convertible look steel top; was sorry to see that style go after 1964.
  • Member since
    June, 2004
  • From: Far North Chicago Suburbs
Posted by Gordon on Thursday, March 06, 2008 11:58 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by biscuitbuilder1

Also,

Bear in mind that for a number of years, Chevrolet offered the same body styles in multiple trim levels, certainly with full-sized cars.

Caprice began as a "formal roof" hardtop in 1966, after Chevy'd been blindsided by the introduction of the "quieter than a Rolls Royce LTD from Ford in 1965; but Chevy continued to offer an Impala hardtop for a long time after that...
Biscuitbuilder1

In fact, according to my collection of auto show Chevy brochures from the 70s, the '75 Impala was THE only (that year) and last true 2 door hardtop design Chevy offered which they referred to as the Impala Sport Coupe (without the concave backlight). The Caprice only had the Custom Coupe (a true coupe, though some would argue that what acts as a B pillar is only part of a massive C pillar with a huge fixed window in it). By '76, the Impala Sport Coupe was gone. Of course you could still get hardtop styling with a four door through '76 as an Impala or Caprice. -gt
  • Member since
    February, 2008
Posted by guidematic on Thursday, March 06, 2008 11:16 PM
Yes, the '75 Sport Coupe was the last true 2-door hardtop Chevrolet produced. It was also available in the Bel Air series here in Canada.

My dad had a '74 Impala Sport Coupe. Just like the one picctured in the brochre, but it had a black vinyl roof. I took my driver's licence in that car.

Now I have a CZ, and I took that in a 1983 GMC "New Look" bus.

Mike
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by caprice66 on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 11:53 PM

 My Dad owned the 1960 Wagon version of the Biscayne, known as the "Brookwood". I believe the Impala level version of the Wagon Series was the Parkwood. Was there a Bel Air version of the Wagon Series or was it just Brookwood & Parkwood
 in the 60's?

Talk about bare bones, that described the Biscayne & Brookwood.

Cheers 

Be the change you seek
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Dragon on Thursday, May 29, 2008 2:07 AM
caprice66

 My Dad owned the 1960 Wagon version of the Biscayne, known as the "Brookwood". I believe the Impala level version of the Wagon Series was the Parkwood. Was there a Bel Air version of the Wagon Series or was it just Brookwood & Parkwood
 in the 60's?

Talk about bare bones, that described the Biscayne & Brookwood.

Cheers 

Now this is along my area of fun!! Yep for '59-60 the Brookwood was basically a Biscut Wagon, the Parkwood was actually a 6-Passenger Belair Wagon, with the 9-Passenger Kingswood being close to a Luxury Trimmed Belair, and the Top of the line Nomad being an Impala Wagon.... The Kingswood name plate would return in 1969, to be used on Impala Wagons, and with the Faux Wood Kingswood name plate would be used for Top of The Line Caprice wagons...... I do know that the Biscayne Trim Level was actually intended to be a "Bare Bones" Line, geared more towards a Buisnessman/Company/Fleet Service use..... Growing up, I always heard Stories from Family Members that had experience with different variations in their Careers.... My Grandfather experienced the First to the Last of the Name Plate Variations, during his Career working DOD Maintainence for the Local Military Bases/Housing from the late 1950's, till his retirement in 1979.... His favorite complaint about the Biscuts, was that the ones he had generally had radio deletes, and overly itchy tweed like Cloth seats, all of which made it miserable, if he had to drive down to San Diego California, from his Home in Seattle Washington... During the mid '60's, My Father used to have to drive either Biscuts, or Belairs, depending on what his Job in Store/Resturant/Bar Supplying, and Displaying required him to do.... The '64-65 Biscuts that he had to drive were originally Radio and Rear Seat (The Back seat was replace with a Storage Tray for his products(Cigarettes/Cigars/Woman's Stockings & Pantyhose)Delete Cars, but after his first 6mos of outstanding service, his Big Boss had a Radio mounted in the Glove box for him.... The '66-67 Belairs he had to drive, was when he was Promoted to Sales & Distribution for the West Coast, and after his Senior Boss decided when wanted to accompany him in the field....
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Posted by Customrods on Saturday, May 31, 2008 8:13 PM

Out of all the name plates you guys missed one big name that was straight on all the models.  Chevell came out in 64 and was a sports or hard top and then in 66 the name show'ed up on the sports, hard top and the El Camino body style also in the Wagen was added.

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    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, May 31, 2008 9:11 PM

Customrods

Out of all the name plates you guys missed one big name that was straight on all the models.  Chevell came out in 64 and was a sports or hard top and then in 66 the name show'ed up on the sports, hard top and the El Camino body style also in the Wagen was added.

That's because Chevelle was the name of the marque, rather than a body style or trim level name.  Within Chevelle were names such as El Camino, Malibu and Malibu SS (Super Sport).

Same with Chevy II--that name stayed around as the core name of the marque until Nova finally took over years after the Deuce was introduced in 1962.

Biscuitbuilder1

  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by caprice66 on Saturday, May 31, 2008 11:19 PM

 Bingo Dragon, "Kingswood" was the name plate I was looking for. Thanks!

Loved the biscuits story. My family was not wealthy enough for Woodgrain until my Dad bought a 4 yr old Tempest Safari Wagon in 1973. He beleived that cars were basic bare bones transportation. Not me. ;-) 

 

Be the change you seek
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Posted by caprice66 on Saturday, May 31, 2008 11:23 PM

Nah, we were (i was) discussing Wagons. Given the El Camino is a Pickup..

The El Camino was released as a version of the Malibu in 1964:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_El_Camino

 

I've got a Maisto 65 Diecast, other than that I've got a 1960 El Camino Promo. 

 

Cheers
 

Be the change you seek
  • Member since
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  • From: Muskego,Wisconsin
Posted by lordairgtar on Sunday, June 01, 2008 12:32 AM

In regards to Chevelles, I had a 68 Nomad, a bare bones no carpet havin' no AC havin, hard vinyl seats four door wagon. And what of the 300 Deluxe? 

Far more can be accomplished by the simple prayers of good people than by all the statesmen or armies of the world---Ronald Reagan 1984   

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  • From: Muskego,Wisconsin
Posted by lordairgtar on Sunday, June 01, 2008 12:34 AM

Nah, we were (i was) discussing Wagons. Given the El Camino is a Pickup..

The El Camino was released as a version of the Malibu in 1964:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

But it was based on the wagon platform. 

 

Far more can be accomplished by the simple prayers of good people than by all the statesmen or armies of the world---Ronald Reagan 1984   

www.wirod.com

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    March, 2018
Posted by JeffGrotte on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 2:05 AM
When I was a kid my dad and I fixed up a '62 Bel Air Bubble Top. That car was awesome. We also did a few '61 Bubble Tops but that' 62 was the best.

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