CC Outtake: 1962 Chevrolet Biscayne – Brake Time

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This black ’62 Biscayne has become a regular in my neighborhood starting a couple of weeks ago. I usually see it across the street from my rentals, and have been deciding whether to shoot it or not. Given the wheels and tires, I assumed it had a hot SBC under the hood, like so many of its kind. Well, looks and crossed-flag emblems can be deceiving;  more on that later. Anyway, as I was headed off to an errand, I saw it sitting in a different place, just down a few blocks from my house, with two young occupants sitting in it. Hmm; having a chat?

When I came back, I saw this scene: the Chevy was getting readied to be towed off. Time to pull over and document the goings-on.

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I introduced myself, and asked what happened. “The brakes gave out”. I instantly thought of its single-circuit master cylinder, as well as the one in my ’66 F-100. It’s something that nags at me from time to time, especially the other day when my pedal seemed a bit low. It was probably just the automatic adjusters needing a bit of a run in reverse.  Fortunately, his didn’t go out all at once; the pedal dropped some, he kept driving a bit more, then a bit later it really started to sag all the way down, and he pulled over.

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I asked him what was under the hood, wondering if it was the original 327, as per the front fender emblem. “It’s the 235 six, stock, with the Powerglide”.  Now that was a bit of a surprise, given the wheels. And I had never actually heard it running, otherwise it might have been obvious to me. It just needs some steelies and dog dish hub caps to make the look more consistent.

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I often ponder contingency plans in the event of a catastrophic failure. I’m not sure how effective they would really be; my hand brake is pretty feeble. Maybe carry a log with a chain around it to throw out as an anchor, like the covered wagons did when crossing the steep mountains. The best plan would be for me to get a dual circuit master cylinder, and replace any funky brake lines, especially the flexible rubber last segment to the wheels. They’re original, no doubt. Two hints within the same day: time to act on them.