GM touted this four-door, four-passenger, pillarless hardtop as 'an exploration in elegance.' With a panoramic windshield, long fairings for the headlamps, a series of vertical grille bars baked by fine mesh, distinctive side coves that wrapped around the rear, thin-shell, swiveling front seats (to aid entry and exit), suicide rear doors and thin mustache bumpers, and painted in brilliant Atlantic Green, the Biscayne hinted at a few future Corvette styling nuances. The essence of the Chevrolet Corvair is evident in rear views of this concept. The sedan's 'Stratospheric' wraparound windshield curved into the roofline which in turn flowed rearward into triangular-shaped C-pillars. Chevrolet's new V8 was prominently featured. Partially restored, the Biscayne made its public appearance in half a century at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
The 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne began life as a super star to showcase the new Chevrolet 265 cubic-inch V8 engine and was featured at the 1955 Motorama where it wowed the world with its futuristic design and styling cues. This car would influence future General Motors vehicles, including the Corvette, Buick Riviera, Corvair, and Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, well in the 1960s. Most of the conventional components of an operational automobile were appearance-only items in concept cars. There were no side windows, and the power windows switches were dummies as were instruments. In fact, apart from some motors and servos to open the doors on the show floor, there were effectively no electrical systems. It didn't even have a conventional car battery or fuel tank.
The current owner of this vehicle, Joe Bortz, is a respected collector of many historically significant cars - mostly concepts. He believed that this vehicle was no longer in existence, but his son luckily spotted the car in a photo in Automobile Quarterly. The photo was of an auto scrap yard in Sterling Heights, Michigan. After a frustrating negotiation process, that ended up costing him 'dearly', the car was purchased from the scrap yard - along with three other cars including a Cadillac Town Car and two LaSalle II concepts.
The car had no powertrain or chassis and missing many pieces. Much of the body and interior were scattered around the yard. It was in need of restoration, but the work was put off for many years. After receiving photos from GM Design, that gave a better idea of what the chassis had once looked like, a restoration began. The work was contracted to Kerry Hopperstad of Hopperstad Customs in Belvidere, Illinois. The process of molding the structure-less fiberglass body together took three years to complete.
The partially restored Biscayne Concept was shown at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours where its exterior appeared 'fine', but the interior was nearly empty. A seat had been formed from wood, there was a steering wheel, but little else was in there. Work continued on the car, and the spectacular result for the long restoration was put on display at the 2010 Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance. It was certainly one of the highlights from the show. In 2011, it was prominently displayed at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.
The car is currently powered by a standard 1950s-era V8 engine.
The current owner learned of the parts from his son and was able to retrieve them 30 years later. With the help of the GM Tech Center and 22 years of restoration, the owner was able to produce this unique concept car.Also photographed at :