John Micallef’s 1961 Biscayne
Customer: John Micallef
Lives in: Malta
How long have you owned this vehicle?
It was bought by my father in 1962 and I took it over in 2011
What was the hardest part to find?
Matching the original color (Jewel Blue)
Do you have any advice for people thinking about doing a restoration project?
Doing a good restoration can be costly but once it is staggered on period of time the expense would not be that heavy, and when the job would be finalized one would have the satisfaction of his life enjoying something which was done with passion and love.
Filling Station customer John Micallef has recently completed a long term restoration project which started in 2001. Taking into consideration the various technical, mechanical and administrative features his 1961 Biscayne was fully finished in 2009.
This classic Chevrolet has a long and colorful history. It came off the production line at General Motors plant in Detroit, Michigan in 1961 as car number 107091. A few months later, in 1962, it was imported in Malta. John’s father, Carmelo, who was a local businessman was immediately drawn to it and purchased the brand new car on the spot. Carmelo drove the Chevy regularly, especially for the family Sunday outings, which John remembers with a fond nostalgia. It became an integral member of the Micallef family, so much so that John says that the five siblings were literally reared up in it! When Carmelo passed away in 1989, his vehicle sat in the garage until 2001, when his son John took it into his hands.
While parked in the garage for 12 years the Chevy deteriorated as vehicles that are neglected often do. John decided that only a full and lengthy restoration project could bring the classic back to its former glory. The first port of call was to the panel beaters, who started with the dismantling of the body from the chassis, and the removal of the body rust. The chassis passed to the mechanic, and the back to the panel beaters.
Meanwhile the body was taken to the sprayer for paintwork on the firewall behind the engine, as well as the engine bay. Eventually when the body and chassis were assembled again the skeleton was returned to the sprayer for the full and final coating in the original Jewel Blue color. The Chevy then was sent back to the mechanic, who besides assembling the 2.8 liter, straight six engine, also worked on the electrical system.
Throughout this lengthy period, John laboriously coordinated this maze of many movements from one department to another. Before embarking on the project, he made contact with the VCCA who suggested where to find the necessary technical detail and how to find the many spare parts that were required. The Filling Station proved to be a very good source for most parts.
John left no stone unturned in his quest to acquire all the original parts which came mainly from the US. The imports included the upholstery in the original style blue color, which together with the windscreens, was installed by the same upholsterer. Neighboring city, Sicily was also the source of the chroming work on the bumpers. Having worked so hard over a span of eight years, John couldn’t be happier with the finished product. Indeed the majestic seventeen foot long vehicle is a sight to behold, as well as a living proof of the labor of love which men experience in their intense affair with, and commitment to, old motors.
Send us stories and pictures of your vehicle.