1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
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, and take it one step further? Something to really end up with the piece de résistance, and stand out from the crowd a bit, but all the while not ruining the original concept.
For consignment a piece of the piece de résistance in the form of the banner year for the Tri Fives... a 1957 Bel Air. Fully restored and all primed to go for a cruise down Main Street and start turning heads. In excellent condition, it's like a gold nugget that glistens in your pan amid all the silt and water, and when you lay your eyes on this one you will see she's worth her weight…
From its toothy grille that floats between a small upper bumper and lower large bumper complete with rubber tipped “Dagmars”, to the belt line swoop spear that makes a downward turn on the rear quarter panel, this restoration is truly the definition of the term “buttoned up.” Dual rocket style hood embellishments are fronting curved gentle tubes that are on either side of the hood. These run back toward the windshield where they die into the hood. Very nice (just like the bumpers and trim) chromed headlight bezels frame the single headlights, and nice chromed side view mirrors, door handles, and window trim all chromed are all good. Continuing rearward, we see an off shoot of the downward sloping spear, that also runs to the rear of the car, and borders a horizontally ribbed aluminum panel with a gold Bel Air badge in your grandmother's handwriting, and cloisonné Chevrolet bowtie badge. We need to talk about the straight steel panels all around, with fair minded gaps, and covered in Sierra Gold paint. A beige canvas convertible top is the glitter if you will and is in nearly new condition. 15-inch wheels have been put on to accommodate the now front disc brakes. These are covered with polished Dodge Lancer hub caps.
A swing of the doors and we see copper vinyl with embossed circle pattern mixed with light cream strips making up the clean door panel. Cranks and levers are very good as is armrest. Looking inside a very clean split bench with more of the cream tuck and roll vinyl and copper inserts. Just to show off cream buttons have been added to the setbacks. The rear bench follows form of the front seats. The dash is showroom with copper painted top dash, cream instrument cluster, steering column and steering wheel courtesy of a '59 Impala, all pristine. An aluminum band with a mini square pattern adds an accent strip to the dash and houses various knobs and a vintage looking radio. Copper colored clean thick pile carpet floods the floors and has some light tan protective floor mats on top.
Automotive mechanical jewelry could best describe this dual Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetor and intake setup, which tops a 350ci V8 crate motor. This engine sports Corvette valve covers, an orange block, and all neatly polished and painted accessories. Supple hoses and steel headers are all present and accounted for. On back is a TH350 3-speed automatic transmission, and way back a 3.55 axle
The frame off restoration has left the undercarriage simply beautiful looking absolutely right out of the showroom. Copper floorpans and pristine copper rockers are mounted securely to a jet black straight rust free frame. Dual stainless exhaust from Borla is like new, worms it's way back past all this finery. Front disc brakes have been put on, and the rears remain drums. Rack and pinion steering and independent coil spring front suspension and leaf spring rear suspension are all clean and pristine.
As like the rest of the car, it runs very well, starting immediately, shifting smoothly, and providing a smooth ride. We went topless on the drive and this functioned perfectly. Plenty of power from those 8 barrels feeding the 350 cubes, which we are told by the consigner produces a whopping 290hp!
If you are in the market for the best year of the Tri Fives, that is as close to really nice as one can get, then look no further because this is the nicest example I've seen in a long while. Great color combo, and a fab frame off restoration from Old Gold Auto out of Lebanon, Pennsylvania who truly know what they are doing. This car is also as clean as they get with the odometer reset during the restoration and now showing a mere 259 miles. You will have to go in and get the break in oil changed!
C-2400 Series BelAir
B-Baltimore, MD Assy Plant
261624-Sequential Unit Number
STYLE # 57 1067DTX-1957 BelAir Convertible
BODY # L42581-Lansing, MI Body #
TRIM # 681-Copper Pattern Vinyl & Beige Vinyl
PAINT # 805-Sierra Gold