<VV> 55 Chev Dream car

Mel Francis mfrancis at wi.rr.com
Thu Feb 19 11:34:20 EST 2015

No problem, Frank.
Since we were able to display the car at Pebble Beach with all its deep 
reconstructive plastic surgery well
concealed, looking more like a well preserved 'barn-find', even Joe often 
forgets to mention the 'Frankenstein'
middle period this car went through.

There were two others involved, Kerry Hopperstad, who built the new chassis 
for the car, since the entire
chassis was lost during the junkyard period and a previous fiberglass 
attempt which needing to be completely
removed in order to proceed with my step. The axis of the body had been 
bonded back together crooked,
but it was Joe's first sight of the car back, somewhat together and he said 
it inspired him to proceed further
to get the chassis built.

I have to hand it to Joe for his perseverance, when it looked like the car 
was so far gone, that it was just a
pile of cut up parts, with no future. It was his son, who convinced him to 
load the pile on the trailer too,
along with the other cars they were rescuing that day in Warhoops junkyard.

The engineers at GM, who by then had become friends with Joe and 
enthusiastic about his efforts, presented
him with a pack of the original engineering drawings for the Biscayne, 
developed from their own stash of old
microfilm records. That info was used by Kerry and myself, as we 
reconstructed the missing elements of the car.

Yes, it must have been the lack of fins. The car actually WAS a car of the 
future, since it pointed the way
to the period that came AFTER the excesses of oversize cars, well into the 
'70s. Joe has promised me that at
the next show, he'll get a Mustang owner to park their car next to the 
Biscayne and shoot some pics,
in order to demonstrate the strong basic resemblance between the two 

Mel Francis
Oconomowoc, WI

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "corvairduval--- via VirtualVairs" <virtualvairs at corvair.org>
To: <virtualvairs at corvair.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2015 9:52 AM
Subject: Re: <VV> 55 Chev Dream car

> I'm sorry, I forgot to mention your involvement when I mentioned Marty.
> You did a lot of good work on the Biscayne.
> I got to see the car when Marty had it. It is a shame it did not inspire
> production cars for the late 50s. I guess it was the lack of fins! ggg
> Frank DuVal
> Original email:
> -----------------
> From: Mel Francis via VirtualVairs virtualvairs at corvair.org
> Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 09:02:48 -0600
> To: lechevrier at q.com, virtualvairs at corvair.org
> Subject: Re: <VV> 55 Chev Dream car
> None of the windows in the '55 Biscayne concept rolled down, although the
> installation was meant to represent roll-down windows.
> The windows bolted in place in either the up position or the down 
> position.
> This was a showcar, remember.
> Before the car went to Marty Martino, it spent a year at my shop,
> undergoing
> a complete fiberglass restoration, due to heavy
> damage and several large body sections had to be completely replaced,
> including the roof. The taillights were long gone, so I adapted '60 
> Corvair
> tallights, since they were the closest to the original design, although
> they
> were a larger diameter. The bezels and all the rear trim had to be
> re-created in fiberglass, then chrome plated, since all that had gone
> missing, too.
> From there, the car went back to Fran Roxas' shop in Chicago, for
> additional
> hardware details, then off to the Pebble Beach concours
> in 2008. It was displayed there without paint, in its raw green fiberglass
> look. Once it returned, it went to Marty for paint and upholstery
> and was finally displayed fully completed in 2010 at Meadow Brook, MI.
> One of the most interesting things about this car is how incredibly close
> its overall dimensions and proportions are to the '64 Mustang. If GM had
> put
> this design into production in say, 1957, they would have scooped the
> introduction of the Mustang by seven years!  It's also one of GM's first
> perimeter frame designs, which allowed the roof to be 7" lower than a
> production '55 Chevy, at 52". It was very compact for its time, perhaps 
> too
> compact and in 1957, longer, wider and fins were in, so this car was
> shelved
> and scrapped in '59.
> It was a really educational experience to work on this car and see, from
> the
> inside, how GM built their showcars back in the '50s.
> Mel Francis,
> Oconomowoc, WI
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