Bel Air Hardtop
Bel Air Hardtop
- Engine Size
- 283 V8
- Transmission Type
- 2 Speed Automatic
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop
Chevrolet designers were really hitting their stride in the mid 1950's with their tri fives, and you would arguably say the Magnum Opus was the last model of the tri five era, the 57 Chevrolet. So how exactly does one take this masterpiece of bowtie design, take over our psyche and demand attention? It remains a mystery to me but I'm still staring!
An original design kept for this car, all bathed in 50's Onyx Black paint with a two tone interior, original wheels, bumpers and styling with a few faults that come with this driver quality survivor classic. And, with its factory 283ci V8, single 2-barrel carb and 2-speed Powerglide tranny, and this writer cannot help falling in love again.
Led off by its Ferrari inspired gold egg crate grille, chromed and Dagmar-ed front bumper, which is showing off all its shine like a spread feathered peacock we can see the lead-ins for a real hit, maybe even a home run design. A dual rocketed chromed adorned hood with a long bump running rearward to the windshield, the gold anodized shiny Chevron on the front of the hood that has Chevrolet badging in your grandmother's handwriting in gold, matching the egg crate below (only for 1957!). On either side the swoop spear with ribbed metal insert, and India Ivory background on the rear quarter is looking original. Door and fender panels are straight, have some dents and dings, scratches and swirls in the paint, and slight beginnings of rust bubbling below the paint particularly on the lowers of this car. Gaps are minded very well. Bringing up the rear is another curved wraparound chrome encircled rear glass, and a neatly curled around trunk lid which is flanked by the finned rear quarters complete with chrome topper trimmings and lower tail lights in the form of crescent moons. Just below the back up lighting is an oval inserted into the rear bumper. Wheels are chromed knockoff styled hubcaps wrapped in wide whites on all 4 corners.
The spectacular cockpits in second-generation Bel Airs need no introduction, but here goes. Depress the button on this hardtop's mirrored door handle and you'll find a gorgeous black and red interior that stays very true to the car's factory scheme. Broad bench seats feature supple red piped hides that fit well and feel great. The inserts are in the black flagstone pattern with some silver edging on the “stones”. There are areas off wear in this broadcloth where it is fraying and thinning. Beneath those seats, black carpet is all covering and doing a very good job at it. At the edges of that rug, retro door panels anchor small red vinyl armrests and stainless cranks and actuators just above. Red sills to hang your elbow out while driving provide the tops which then transition over to the flagstone black broadcloth panels, a mid swoop spear if you will, red vinyl section, and more black flagstone for the bottoms with just a touch of black smooth vinyl. A full metal jacket dash hangs all original hardware for climate controls and various knobs and pulls within the square textured aluminum strip. This is seen below the red dash top and a squared off visor keeps the instruments shaded and are shown in a trio of metal circular red bezels. Some lights are also in thimble shaped bezels and are peppering this dash as well. An AM radio graces the aluminum panel in the center of the car, and fronting the driver's side is an original red steering wheel with a full circle shiny horn ring. The back bench has the same trimmings as the front bench and floating above is a nice tight red vinyl headliner. Way to go hound dog!
Under the hood in the unrestored but still nicely presenting engine bay now sits the correct 283 V8 with red/orange GM painted block and valve coverings. A single 2bbl carburetor is atop, and a Powerglide 2-speed automatic is on back. The rear axle presents with a BB stamping code and is in 3.36 configuration. All under this hood is very nice, with some patina, supple newer belts and hose. A nice driver presentation.
Park this Bel Air on a lift and you'll find a super clean, slightly patina'd and minimal surface rusted undercarriage that's nice enough to show and tough enough to go. All is still structurally sound on this front. Independent coil springs for the front and leaf springs for the back are on and drum brakes are on all 4 corners too. Stock style dual exhaust has rotted out mufflers and should be renewed for safety.
This original factory V8 fired right up, and seemed to always run rough, most likely due to old gas. It could use a good tune up as well and all this will be remedied. With this rough run it was difficult to really realize the potential of this car. Although smooth shifting from the Powerglide 2-speed and good creak free handling was experienced. All functions were working well, and it was a pleasurable test drive.
A nice example which has not been ratted, or rodded, or restoration-modded, just brought back to look original for 1957 then driven for enjoyment. Paint is less than perfect with some faults, but is definitely the right color. 90 percent of the work is all done, so hop in and enjoy the car and when you are ready, hit it with a fresh coat of paint, tuneup and drain that old gas. Talk about top of one's game, 1957, a cherished model year, mostly original looking great.
C-2400 Series Bel Air
S-St. Louis, MO Assy Plant
158254-Sequential Unit Number
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special interest automobile showroom, featuring over 650 vehicles for sale with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914. Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the vehicle in person.
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