Found: Biscayne 'fuelie' photos

Period images of a long-gone — and rare — 1959 Biscayne "fuelie"
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Shelly Rosenbloom is behind the wheel in this pocket-size photo taken before 1962 of his fuel-injected 1959 Biscayne. The “fuel injection” scripts and triangular emblems on the front fenders are barely visible.

Shelly Rosenbloom is behind the wheel in this pocket-size photo taken before 1962 of his fuel-injected 1959 Biscayne. The “fuel injection” scripts and triangular emblems on the front fenders are barely visible.

In the Feb. 1 “Sound Your Horn,” reader Richard Sisson wrote that he recalled when his friend, Shelly Rosenbloom, brought home one of those rare fuel-injected full-size 1959 Chevrolets when it was new. The two remain friends and through Sisson, Rosenbloom recently provided Old Cars with these early photos of his fuel-injected 1959 Biscayne along with more details. Aside from the Impala pictured in a 1959 Chevrolet advertisement, these may be the only known period photos of a full-size 1959 Chevrolet factory-equipped with Rochester fuel injection.

The mildly customized Biscayne parked chronologically with other Chevrolets. In this photo, the Biscayne wears 1962 license plates.

The mildly customized Biscayne parked chronologically with other Chevrolets. In this photo, the Biscayne wears 1962 license plates.

Rosenbloom’s 1959 Biscayne was bought new from Tom’s Chevrolet in Wheaton, Md. Apparently a Montgomery County police officer had ordered the car but was unable to take delivery, and that’s how Rosenbloom was able to buy it from Tom’s Chevrolet. The “fuelie” Biscayne was painted medium-brown metallic and in true sleeper fashion, it wore basic blackwall tires and “poverty” hubcaps. The chassis was top-of-the-line with a Positraction rear axle and solid lifters in the engine, making it the 290-hp version of the 283 (the fuelie with hydraulic lifters was rated at 250 hp). The 283 of Rosenbloom’s fuelie was backed by the three-speed manual transmission.

The engine compartment of Rosenbloom’s 1959 Biscayne. Note the air intake tube to the fuel injection unit required on passenger car 1959 Chevrolets so equipped.

The engine compartment of Rosenbloom’s 1959 Biscayne. Note the air intake tube to the fuel injection unit required on passenger car 1959 Chevrolets so equipped.

Sisson said Rosenbloom couldn’t do with the sleeper look of the plain Jane Biscayne, so he customized it by lowering it and installing aftermarket wheels with white wall tires. By 1962, Rosenbloom had the Biscayne’s hood nosed, the door handles removed and the front fender “fuel injection” scripts and triangular emblems removed by a body shop. Unfortunately the body shop didn’t return the trim that it removed — including the unique fuel injection trim parts — and Rosenbloom didn’t press the issue.

In its mildly customized guise, the car was displayed at car shows as “Desert Dust.”

In 1962, Rosenbloom traded the Biscayne to a Lincoln-Mercury dealer in Silver Springs, Md., and it disappeared. All that is left are these rare photos.

Shelly Rosenbloom with the Biscayne at an early car show. This is the only fuelie ’59 Biscayne that Old Cars has come upon.

Shelly Rosenbloom with the Biscayne at an early car show. This is the only fuelie ’59 Biscayne that Old Cars has come upon.

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