13,600 Miles: 1957 Chevrolet 2-Door

1957 Chevy Bel Air

There are some cars that need no introduction, and the 1957 Chevrolet is one of them. It’s an icon, and if there were trademarks associated with the design, they have been stolen and used without permission over and over again. My earliest memory of this happening was in a made-for-TV movie featuring the Garfield cartoon character, which centered on the mystical powers of a Bel Air convertible that was driven into a volcano to save an island community from certain destruction. Almost as unbelievable is this ’57 in Florida that has survived with only 13,600 original miles. Find it here on Broward County’s craigslist for $35,000.

1957 Chevy Engine

Between having relatives retire to the Sunshine State and my wife’s family still living there, I’ve learned that the dense population of retirees and snowbirds is an ideal cocktail for finding hidden treasure behind closed garage doors. Although not exotic by any stretch, my grandfather’s last two vehicles have each been at least ten years old when traded in and with less than 30,000 miles each. Between not wanting to drive very far and communities designed to put resources nearby, retirees don’t often travel long distances. Perhaps that’s what kept the mileage so low on this 283-powered Powerglide car.

1957 Chevy Interior

While I’ve always loved the ’57 Chevy, I haven’t studied them closely enough to recognize the tell-tale signs distinguishing one model from another. My first inclination is to call this a 210 2-door sedan, with my back-up guess being a Delray. However, the interior isn’t color-coordinated with the exterior and it also doesn’t have the waffle-style pattern in the seating surfaces, so I think my first guess is correct. Regardless, it’s a sharp color combo and the seller claims most of it is original (the roof was repainted). I’d prefer a black interior personally, but there’s very little else I’d change about this preserved specimen.

Survivor '57 Chevy

The seller notes that he’s open to interesting trades if handing over a pile of cash isn’t feasible: Ferrari projects, pontoon boats or interesting property for sale are all possible means of bartering to put this virgin ’57 in your driveway. My immediate first thought is there’s not nearly enough information about the car’s history in the listing, such as how many owners the car has had or the state of the major mechanical systems. If it’s been sitting in protected storage for years, the paint may still shine but fuel lines and brake systems will need a thorough going-through. No matter what, this ’57 is a recognized classic and likely a worthwhile investment, but I think I’d hold onto the vintage Ferrari instead of making the trade. If you have something to swap, is this bone-stock Chevy tempting enough to make a trip to Florida?

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Comments

  1. Chris A.

    Good looking car in silver and white. The windshield sunshade was common even up here in the north if the car was being driven south for snowbird use. My uncle had one on his Olds that went back and forth to FL. Love the “dagmars” on the front bumper.

  2. Rick

    Pretty car and as nice as they get, and as the saying goes they’re original only once. But if it was mine I’d lose the visor, swap out the Powerglide w/ a 700R4, upgrade to disc brakes on the front and throw on a set of American mags. The ’57 is my favorite Chevrolet passenger car and there are plenty of other nice bone stock ’57 Chevys around to look at, even if they’re not as original as this one. Guess I’d want to keep it all original if it was a ’57 Packard in similar condition or something else limited production.

  3. The Walrus

    The ’57 Model line would have been 150, 210 and Bel Air (not Del Ray). The 150 had different side trim than the others. The 210 and Bel Air had most of the same trim with the Bel Air having the Aluminum trim inset on the rear quarters (rather than paint). The trim on this car is Bel Air, and there is further evidence on the dash script that reads Bel-Air. Obviously you could make any of the cars look like a Bel-Air through aftermarket trim. With the V-8/powerglide it is likely to be at least a 210. However, it is a post-car not a hard top, so its hard to know.

    All that being said, I would want some proof of the actual listed mileage. In the mid 80’s my dad restored a ’57 Bel Air Hardtop. Back then you could still locate NOS parts fairly easily (he found NOS side spears, for instance). Even interiors stitched in NOS material were available. It would have been easy back then to have found a 150 and made it into a Bel Air. Could this have been a lower model that was upgraded/restored years ago? So long ago as to appear to be a well aged original? The record keeping on these cars was not as robust as in the 60’s and the VIN tells you little.

    The only way to know you have a true Bel-Air is to have a hard-top or convertible. The 2-door ‘post’ was offered on all 3 (150/210/BelAir) but you could only get a hard top or convertible in the Bel Air, which is why those models bring the most money (rarity and exclusivity). Their origins as a top of the line car from new cannot be questioned.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      This is great info, and precisely why I didn’t want to call it a Bel-Air without proof from the owner.

      • thomas schweikert

        yup150 s had the lower spear only 210 had upper and lower spears with paint between and bel air had 2 spears with aluminum or stainless between

    • Dave H

      The hardtop could be had in either a 210 or a BelAir. This one looks like Belair due to the aluminum insert on the rear flanks, longer chrome (stainless actually) spear on the top of teh rear fin and the “inserts” in the “Shark gills” on the front fenders. Only the Bel Air had the stainless “chrome” dash and chrome around the dash knobs. Only Bel Airs had the chrome strip along the roofline (inside) and the wide chrome along the bottoms of the windows (outside). The chrome(stalnless) on the rocker panel was optional on Bel Air only

      I have a 210 4 door HT. Was going to convert it into a Bel Air, got all the extra trim and chrome then decided to leave it as a 210 after all.

  4. redavanti

    It is a Bel Air. I had a 57 like this when I got married. Traded it on a 62 Impala convertible with a 327 300 HP 4 speed.

  5. RickyM

    Beautiful car. Great lines and fabulous chrome. Absolutely gorgeous!

  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    Very nice indeed. But it would look a lot better on my driveway. Too bad it’s way out my budget.

  7. Grr

    Not sure what people see in these. “Pretty” and “beautiful” are the last words I would use to describe it. From the front it has the look of an old man with hairy nostrils grimacing with hemorrhoid pain and glaring at you from under his hooded eyes. Even the taillights are frowning with disapproval.

  8. redwagon

    parents had one of these when i was a little tyke. this color with the silver and black interior. it is the first car i remember. my mothers car had been repainted a ’58 color. this one looks a lot like it (granted 48-49 years later). any chance this has been repainted in a ’58 color? seeing the body by fisher tag would be helpful.

  9. Clay Bryant

    I need a little informing here.It looks to me like the hood and deck V emblems are gold and I always thought that was a “Power-pak” 4 bbl carb.Come on,Chevy experts.

  10. John

    I would have to be convinced on this car. That would be pretty hard to do. It is a nice one though.

  11. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    The V indicates a V8, silver for 210 and 150s, gold for a Bel Air.

  12. The Chucker

    My scam senses are on full alert with this one. Craigslist is an odd venue for this piece.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      I wonder if the emphasis on interesting trades is the driving force behind the listing on Craigslist. A lot easier to negotiate for that on CL than in an eBay listing, in my opinion. But either way, for a car w/ such value, you could get that price on eBay and then go buy any of those things, I suppose.

  13. JohnD

    There is a pretty good way to tell an original sedan Bel Air. The stainless trim around the side windows is twice as wide on a Bel Air as it is on a 210. I had a 2 door sedan Bel Air and learned that the trim is rare and very hard to find. It’s not real clear in these photos but from what I can see of the trim I’d call this a Bel Air.

  14. pauline

    drop dead gorgeous

  15. KenW

    Since we are all voting or offering opinions..it is a Bel Air as 10 cents an a cup of coffee won’t get me anything else tonite…. from new had a 150 with 210 chrome and black painted fender inset with black roof uncomplimenting a yellow body,kinda ugly but and also a 6 month old Bel Air..why? wifey of day refused to learn to drive a std.
    Back to at hand question of..further reinforced by other’s observations and mine…rubber bumperettes only seen on Bel Airs, carpet floor mats and the jaquard pattern int cloth with to me tell tale Bel Air ribbed vinyl seat tops.
    But who knows what the guys on the assembly line added or deleted as a car went by to amuse themselves.

    Like 1
  16. Woodie Man

    Well…………almost looks restored.but so hard to tell from a Craigslist ad. Funny how what was once considered the least desireable of Tri 5’s………..post sedans….bring bigger money now. Since it’s Florida and the home of every scam known to man, nothng would surprise me about this. Some background on how the interior came to stay so sano would help the seller.as well as an explanation of the engine block looking like it’s been freshly restored. Lambrechts this aint.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Agreed on all counts, a little information goes a long way! Even if it is original, an understanding of how it was cleaned so well to protect the original coatings and materials would be welcome information.

  17. Wayne

    Bel Air’s had a gold grille mesh, this one looks to be silver.

  18. Clay Bryant

    Back in the 50s some new cars had a heavy transparent plastic cover on them and I don’t know if you could get them from the factory or dealer installed,but saw them on new cars.They beat the hell out of flopping in a hot vinyl or cloth seat.Did see a couple 57s with them.Bet when guys would tell their girlfriends to slide on over here they would “double-time”.(Sharp right turn would do the same).

  19. Scott Allison

    I would leave this beauty as is..

    Remember – Disk brakes are for cowards!

    Like 1
    • tom schweikert

      yup drum brakes did the job for years. my first car was a white over turquoise 4 door bel air 57 wagon with a factory TURBOGLIDE. yup

  20. JagManBIll

    210….Post is white. Bel Air it would be chrome. My Dad had a Bel Air hardtop AND Vert with Cont kit. HT was white over red with white over red seats and the Vert was white over red with black over red seats. Don’t remember what happened to the HT (obviously sold) but the Vert he traded for a 54 XK120SE FHC (also red).

  21. Bill McCoskey

    13,000 miles? That’s not low mileage! I know of a 1957 Bel Air convertible with only 1,400 miles since new, still in the hands of the original family’s owner. And it’s fully optioned out, equipped from the factory (not dealer installed) with both fuel injection and air conditioning!) In this collection is also a 1958 Buick LIMITED 4-door hardtop station wagon! The data plate on the firewall of the Buick is blank where the body style would be listed, and the body # is 1. Buick never made a Limited wagon in 1958, except for this one example.
    Both cars are immaculate & original, including tires. But another big surprise in the collection are the 3 [yes 3] black 1958 Cadillac 60S sedans, all with “delivery mileage” only! And the 3 Caddy’s share sequential serial numbers!
    The original buyer had connections at GM, and they built these cars [and more] for him. And folks, the cars are not for sale. Period. Don’t even ask! They are very real, no B.S. I’m working on a story (with pics) about this incredible collection, hundreds of vehicles, and I’m waiting for the family to OK publishing.

  22. Bill

    This posting has expired.

    (The title on the listings page will be removed in just a few minutes.)

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