1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and Biscayne

1959 Chevrolet Biscayne sedan
The 1959 Chevrolet Biscayne sedan
featured wing-like fins and a long wheelbase.

Chevy's sales brochure for 1959 models, including the 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and 1959 Chevrolet Biscayne, said it simply: "all new all over again." Totally restyled, flaunting dramatic horizontal fins, Chevrolets adopted a new 119-inch wheelbase -- longest in the low-priced field.

Thinner doors helped deliver five extra inches of interior space. Wide horizontal "nostrils" up front held the parking lights. Thin windshield and ultra-slim raked C-pillars freed hardtop bodies of blind spots. Compound-curve, wraparound windshields grew in size, boosting visibility.

The Delray series disappeared, replaced by Biscayne, promoted as "beauty on a budget." That move made Bel Air the mid-range line, offering a hardtop Sport Sedan and regular pillared sedan. Bel Airs sold best, followed by Impalas. Station wagons came in four series.

Engines were unchanged, as the "horsepower race" eased for the moment. Choices ranged from the new 135-horsepower Hi-Thrift 235 cubic inch six through a selection of 283- and 348-cubic inch V-8s. A fuel-injected rendition of the 283 again developed 290 horsepower, while the top 348 provided 315.

More than one-third of this year's cars carried six-cylinder engines. Five transmissions were available: Turboglide, Powerglide, four-speed, three-speed, or overdrive. Chevrolet ended the model year in the top spot again but led Ford by only a tiny margin this time.

1959 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan
The 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air also sported
fins and a new wraparound windshield.

1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and Biscayne Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Biscayne

3,480-3,605

$2,160-$2,419

311,800 (approx.)

Bel Air

3,510-3,660

$2,386-$2,674

447,100 (approx.)

Station Wagon

3,860-4,020

$2,571-$3,009

214,400 (approx.)

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