True Texas Barn Find: 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

By Montana Danford

They are still out there folks!  Said to be a “true barn find” that has been parked since the ’80’s, this 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air is a true diamond in the rough.  Although a less desirable two door post model, this is still a great candidate for a project (and the seller knows it).  Offered here on craigslist in Orange, Texas for $13,500, this car appears to be a solid survivor.

All mid 1950’s American cars have been exploding in popularity the last few years, but tri-five Chevys remain one of the most popular.  Great styling, huge availability of aftermarket and restoration parts combined with increasing rarity have caused these cars to be excellent candidates for restoration.  Buyers and sellers who come across solid examples of any 1955 through 1957 Chevy know that they are valuable in almost any condition.

The biggest drawback to this particular car is the lack of motor and transmission.  While that means it’s not going to be an easy project, it does leave a blank slate for the drivetrain of your choice.  You could drop in a crate 350/350 combo or an LS motor.  Heck, why not a 572?  What would you choose?

While there’s not a lot of details on the history or condition of this car, the pictures certainly look promising.  The “mag” style 5-spoke wheels and missing engine/transmission leads to thoughts of a drag racing or hot rod history, but the seller doesn’t mention anything along those lines.  The grill and trim appear mostly there and in good condition.  Both bumpers look like they haven’t been dented in any accidents.  Judging by the paint chipping on both rear quarter panels, this car may have been re-painted in the current monochromatic blue.

Can’t you just see this car built as a period correct gasser or resto-mod?  How would you build it?

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Comments

  1. Allante_93 Member

    Having owned a number of 55’s (Chevy’s of course…) I’ve found the post models to be less “rattle-rattle” than the hardtops. The other desirable part is headroom. My wife loved all the room inside as well as the large trunk. I’m from the era where 55’s like the one pictured I could buy for $50-$100. Made a lot of extra cash parting out some of them to supplement my meager Viet Nam era military pay. Wish I had some of those 55-57’s from back then.

    13+

    • Jim

      You sound like my brother & all the 55;, 56′ & 57’s he had all for $100.00 or less. This 55′ would be going for 50-100 back in the 6-‘s & 70’s. I remember one 55′ Conv. he picked up for $50.00 no engine or tranny. At that time we both worked in the same gas station, our boss had a Vett 327 & four speed lying around & a the same time he needed a outboard for his 14 ft boat. Just so happened my father had a 57′ 35 hp Johnson lying around. My brother traded the outboard for the 327 & we put it into the 55’, on the maiden run he threw a Rod, it went 6 inch’s into the street. Oh well he said fu*k it & junked it, WTF knows whatever happened to it. On to another one…………..

      2+

  2. Angrymike

    Big block 5-speed, painted in a 60’s shade and then drive the wheels off of it !
    This is my favorite of the tri-fives !
    Sweet find !!

    7+

  3. Terry J

    No engine or tranny? Notice the lack of the little V emblems below the tail lights. That means the missing engine was a 235 6 banger. Somebody just saved the buyer the trouble of pulling it out and hauling it off. 🙂 Terry J

    22+

    • King Al

      Wonder if the dog which appears in several pictures is included along with the car.

      6+

      • blasphemy

        yeah–looks like this one has really gone to the dogs!LOL

        0

  4. Steve R

    I’d say the 55 post cars are actually more desirable than the hard tops. It’s subjective, but almost every friend of mine would go for this body style.

    From the limited pictures it doesn’t give off the vibe of a former race car. Those wheels are nice, I’d incorporate them in a build if they were road worthy. I’d go small block, hydraulic roller cam, good heads and a 5spd manual with appropriate brake and suspension upgrades to make a good driver.

    Steve R

    10+

  5. Twisted bowtie

    Turn it into a gasser
    Jus saying😎

    6+

  6. Jimmy Holt

    And it looks to be a 6 cylinder model by the trunk badge!

    4+

    • mike cox sr.

      55’s have that same ornament on trunk and hood regardless of engine it was born with,,,

      4+

      • thomas schweikert

        but 6 cyl cars had no v emblem underneath the taillights while v-8s did

        6+

    • Gary Wallace

      On a 55, it wasn’t the trunk emblem, but little “V’s” under the taillights to mean a V8. Hood and deck lid emblems were the difference in ’56 & ’57.

      3+

  7. Brian Gould

    Looks like a ton of metal fabrication and replacement to me. Note the holes on the pan beneath the trunk lid. Before I would spend anything near the asking price on this I would need to see the trunk, wheel wells, interior quarters, rockers, and floors. Those holes under the windshield call for some serious probing as well. Ever try to find replacement upper “A” pillars? Good luck with that.

    What’s with no pictures of the trunk, engine bay and interior? It might be worth a gamble for 10G less but as she sits this unit is way overpriced and under described for me. Pass.

    7+

  8. tom

    Probably the worst sales job I’ve seen yet. The craigslist ad has only 3-4 weak photos. On the video – “Of course it has no engine which is great.” Wait, that’s an advantage? Most cars run better with an engine. He never opens the hood. Why? No firewall? Snakes? A previous engine fire? A dead body? Who knows? He let’s us have a look under the car which looks like a black hole in a cave seen through welder’s goggles. You get 1 & 1/2 seconds of the interior, which looks like a 210, but who knows? There are 3 different colors of paint that you can see. I assume the seamist green on the inside of the door is the original color but he’s not telling, that is if he even knows.
    I’m not even convinced it’s a BelAir. Having half the chrome is not convincing. He has one price of $13,500 on craigslist which is high, then $16,500 on the video. I would not buy a used car from this guy.

    16+

  9. lawrence

    DAMN FLIPPERS…….$13,000 large for what was paid maybe $1000….most likely not….maybe a give away due to lack of storage…..

    3+

  10. Pa Tina

    Let’s get the dog’s opinion. Looks like he is preparing to make a statement on the condition of the tires.

    12+

    • Mlaw

      And the rest of it.Smart dog.

      3+

    • KEN TILLY

      Looks like the dog also thinks it’s a piece of c**p at that price and description.

      1+

  11. Mark m. Member

    I think that doggy smells a rat!!

    10+

  12. mark

    Crazy price but I would bet that someone will pay 10 grand for it. Like most everything else things like this are worth what someone is willing to pay.

    4+

  13. al8apex

    looks to have started life as a Bel Air then ran into something and had the nose replaced, and possibly the doors as they are all missing the BelAir stainless. No pics of interior, so hard to tell if it is or isn’t. The VIN would tell though, and that is missing info also

    1+

  14. Howard A Member

    I know it’s crazy, cars we got for $100 bucks and trashed. But we( I) have to look beyond that. Where on G-d’s Green Earth ( this time of year) are you going to find a relatively in one piece “double nickel” 2 door Chevy? It ain’t gonna happen, not in my neck of the woods. Of course it’s over priced, but like most antiques ( and I’ve witnessed this 1st hand at auctions in NYS),,you want it? Here it is, and money isn’t the object. The buyer will get their ’55 Chevy, again, cost no object, do it up their way, more money, and around and around we go,,,,everyone’s a winner.

    5+

    • Pa Tina

      Your comment brings back memories of “Field” cars. A high school pal of mine lived on the outer edge of our suburb and his folks had a fair amount of land. Of course, his field car was a 1955 Chevy, and of course it was thrashed on a daily basis.

      4+

  15. Chris in WNC

    my choice- another 6 with stick shift and B-W overdrive…..

    1+

  16. Rob

    Looks to be dog tested, dog approved.

    2+

  17. Fred W.

    Much smarter to just buy a restored one and let the previous owner incur all the work and expense, then lose money when he sells it to you.

    5+

  18. matt

    Tunnel rammed 350 4 speed new tires wash it and drive it !! At 13,500 $ for a rolling body it would be easy to “overspend” its value

    0

  19. whippeteer

    Looking at the mags, it likely wasn’t sporting the original engine when stuck in the barn. They probably put it away when they blew the motor, meaning to replace it someday. Someday came and went and now it’s for sale.

    0

  20. BRAKTRCR

    Lack of pictures, and description, on eBay is a big deal. On Craigslist, presumably, it’s advertising to local buyers. Local buyers call and go look.
    I’m good with this beauty. Same age as me, and kinda in the same shape as me. I think it’s begging for a straight axle up front narrow tires up front on American Mags, and steelies in the back. Half sanded, half primered, in grey or black. A 10:1 small block…. sounds so good, but 9:1 Is obviously streetable. Being old school, I’m thinking a Muncie 4 speed, but understand the folks that want 5 speeds. I might even purple tint the windows… If you’re old enough to remember that.
    I agree with Howard A, you won’t find many, in this condition, any more. Pay the seller his price and take it home.

    5+

  21. Bruce Fischer

    Back in the 70s I bought a metelic green 1957 chevy convertibale with out a motor and trans for $100.and towed it home with a chain. Dropped a 283 motor and 4 speed from a wrecked 57 I had .AHH THE GOOD OLD DAYS when we could afford something. Bruce.

    8+

  22. Rodney Corriveau

    Straight axle and fenderwell headers! But not at that price. Car in that condition sedan, rusty, no motor and trans. Car is 5k tops. When the tail pan is that rusty, it’s rear body brace, end of trunk, tail pan and both tail pan to 1/4 panel pieces. The last 2 hardtops I saw sell were way more solid ( just needed small patch between 1/4 panel and rocker on one side) one had 327 4-speed (not running) and the other had no motor and trans, they sold for 12k each. So as far as I’m concerned this guy is living out a pipe dream. IMHO.

    3+

  23. ROTAG999

    I prefer the Hardtop better looking my 56 never rattled was very tight body wise is a post better for high horsepower yeah maybe.

    0

  24. Ric Parrish

    We are looking for a 55 with center post, to make a replica of the first late model dirt track stock car in history, # 35 the Bently Chevrolet from Fairbanks Iowa. The one we choose will get seriously cut up to look like a 1955 dirt track car, no front end clip, radiused wheel wells no glass etc. I think this one is too nice. Oh, it’s for a film about 40s, 50s 60s dirt racing.

    1+

  25. Cris Carver

    I remember there was a purple metalflake ’55, jacked up in the back just enough with a black diamond tucked interior (this was the mid 70’s) on my way home from Frost Jr. High. It was clearly a daily driver & about the baddest car I’d ever seen! It musta been, cause it still has a big effect on me some forty years later.

    3+

  26. Rustytech

    Great spokesman for the “buy it done” train of thought, and there’s nothing rare about these.There are thousands of these for sale every week, and most are in much better shape than this one. Knock $10k off and I’d be all over it.

    2+

  27. jtnc

    “All mid-fifties American cars have been exploding in popularity the last few years.” WHAT?! Anyone who follows collector car values knows that the prices of most mid-50’s American cars have been in decline for years! Too many against baby boomers trying to sell to too few younger people who don’t care. Even relatively “special” cars like Baby Birds (especially), Buick Skylarks and the finned Exner Chryslers have been declining. Values of more average 50’s cars have been in free fall. Exceptions may be some Cadillac Eldorados and Studebaker Hawks which may have been undervalued before. A very nice Tri-Five Chevy Bel Air convertible, hardtop or Nomad might struggle to hold its value or decline gently, but they are certainly NOT exploding in popularity. The piece of junk in this article probably isn’t even worth $2,000.

    5+

    • jtnc

      Sorry, that should read “aging baby boomers” in the fourth line.

      0

  28. elad

    This car is over priced about $12,000

    0

  29. LEMAN

    this car is not worth what someone is asking no 55 chevy body is worth $13,500 ever

    2+

  30. ROTAG999
  31. Pa Tina

    How much for the dog?

    2+

  32. Rodney Corriveau

    Now would you rather have this one at a little over 1/3 the price?

    https://wichita.craigslist.org/cto/6192831673.html

    1+

  33. thomas schweikert

    yup didnt notice rust holes above rear bumper possibly floor pan replacement indicated and chrome indicates front clip changed

    0

  34. LD

    Immediately thought of 2 lane blacktop too! What’s funny is 2 lane blacktop was one of the most hyped and anticipated movies of all time with a cover article in Esquire, then completely fizzled when the show had no substance–seems like the car in this ad will suffer the same fate LD71😄

    0

  35. Steve

    Looks like a solid place to start from, But priced at maybe double what it should sell for. If someone pick’s it up and is interested, I have an interior in two tone blue that I will part with for reasonable …. Just reply to this message

    0

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