1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
The 1953-1954 Chevrolet Bel Air provides an excellent example of a popular practice in the Detroit of the 1950s called reskinning -- making an old car look new without changing its basic structure by applying different outer panels. Nobody did this better at the time than General Motors, and the 1953-1954 Chevrolet Bel Air proved it. Singer Dinah Shore, Chevrolet spokesperson at the time remarked: “It's a glamorous new star,” pausing, while the camera cut to a close up, then gushingly asked: "Isn't that about the prettiest thing you ever saw?"
Looking both modern and classy at the same time, this slick '54 Convertible (the most expensive offering of the line) is proof that Chevrolet's decision to take a curvaceous fuselage and decorate it with an ample amount of chrome was an excellent idea. Unlike most exaggerated 50s designs the car's proportions are spot-on, there's appropriate use of trim, and the subtle rear fins that would eventually grow to controversial wings are fully integrated into attractive, sculpted arcs.
Paint number 552 translates to Turquoise Blue and Cream two tone, and it is here in its full glory. Very nice and high-quality paint job with very smooth paint and a nice glass like look. Chrome is in good condition with little pitting. A toothy grill, reminiscent of the 54 Corvette, presents very good, as does most brite work, and badging. An early “jet bird” hood ornament with its chrome trail divides the rounded hood. The continental kit has been added to the rear, and this matches perfectly with the rest of the car. Seen is a white convertible top, which has a flaw of some tearing on the passenger side. Otherwise the top is in good condition, moving up and down electrically with the hold of a switch.
Matching the exterior with two tone Turquoise Blue inserts with Cream bolsters the front and rear benches (front split) create the feel of a 1950's drive in. Door panels carry the colors and patterns to either side and make their way up to a Turquoise Blue metal dash. Inserted in front of the steering wheel, there is an elongated white field oval with a simple cluster of a round speedometer, horizontal temperature, gas, battery, and oil pressure gauges, flanked by a second smaller round clock. Moving over to the passenger side, a large area of vertical chromed ribs form the fronting for the radio speaker, as well as the door for the glovebox. A white bar hangs below the dash, and contains the knobs for the lights, wipers, heater and airflow levers, and a modified radio to include MP3 capabilities. A white column protrudes from the gauge area and has an original turquoise blue steering wheel. Blue carpet and carpeted floor mats cover the floor below the dash and seats.
A recent rebuild of the original “Blue Flame” engine has been performed and can be viewed within the original but clean engine bay. Consigner states that a mere 8,300 miles are on the newly rebuilt inline 6-cylinder engine. An automatic Powerglide transmission is attached to the back of the restored engine and it shifts smoothly.
It appears some newer panels were put in during the restoration of the body, however this cannot be verified. Based on the overall condition of the underside, that being surface rust free, it would seem to be true, as the undercarriage is very clean. Frame is strong and devoid of any rust. Suspension appears well maintained and shows 4-wheel drum brakes. Body mounts are sturdy and stable, also with no rust.
As the beneficiary of an earlier restoration complete with color change from original build plate, and interior redux, also a recent original engine rebuild, make this car a turn key cruiser, with all the work done for you. Cars like this awesome first-generation Bel Air are very special, and they represent incredible value to buyers. With a high-quality restoration that's beyond reproach, and a color combination that makes it a complete knockout at shows, THIS is the kind of build you simply can't touch for our asking price. Just imagine heading out in this Turquoise Blue and Cream cruiser on a warm summer evening; the burble of the Blue Flame behind you, the smooth open road in front of you, and nothing between you and miles of happiness!