Few cars conjure up images of Americana like the classic ’57 Chevy Bel Air. Scenes of hula-hoops, fuzzy dice, and stoplight drag races always seem to include a Bel Air. With its heavy chrome and good power, it’s easy to see why. Although a bit rusty, this Bel Air sports a matching numbers powertrain. Is it worthy of further investment? The seller obviously thinks so, as bidding is currently at $5,800 with the reserve still unmet. Find it here on eBay.
This 50’s icon comes with Chevrolet’s well-known 283 V8 engine and Powerglide transmission, and was even ordered with the desirable Power Pack. This option featured a four-barrel carburetor and other upgrades boosting output to 180 b.h.p. The added power was certainly appreciated over the base V8’s 162 horses. This car has benefited from recent maintenance items, including a tune-up with new spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor, as well as a rebuilt carburetor, new brakes, wheel cylinders, master cylinder and a new gas tank.
The 1957 model year gained several new styling touches, including a new front grille and bumpers, the famous fins and dual hood birds, still intact on this example. In Chevrolet’s advertisements for the ’57, it proclaimed that these cues made the new model sweet, low, and longer. While this does confirm that marketing hyperbole existed well before today’s automotive ad campaigns, we can’t deny that these features were likely selling points in the age of sharp body lines and acres of sheet metal.
Though the Bel Air listed here may cultivate youthful memories, its body and interior do contain a few reality checks. The lights and radio are said to work, but the heater does not. The front floor pan, inner and outer rockers, some of the floor supports, doors, rear quarters, rear wheel tubs, and rear trunk panel are losing the battle with the tin worm. We advise inspecting this one in person.
Originally painted ivory with a black and silver interior, an authentic restoration would yield a stunning combination of colors, chrome, and smooth V8 power. While rust alone can determine the viability of a restoration, some classics like the Bel Air get some extra consideration based on desirability and their place in America’s car culture. Do you think this one is worth saving? Let us know what you think below.