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16k-Mile Survivor! 1957 Chevy Bel-Air

We’ve seen plenty of survivor Tri-Fives here, but there’s just something about this one that makes it worth taking a moment to look closer. It’s listed here on craigslist in Bear, Delaware. Big thanks to Vinny for the tip – Let’s check it out!

As most of us know, the ’57 Chevy is one of the first vehicles that come to mind when people think of American mid-century automobiles. The fins, the chrome, the interior layout, it all hearkens back to a simpler time in motoring. The Tri-Fives are, of course, 1955-1957 Chevrolet coupes/sedans/wagons, and one could order one with every option, nothing, or any number of combinations in-between. Whatever boxes you checked on the paper order form were what was on the car that arrived a few weeks later.

This particular car is no exception to that. It’s a Bel-Air with….wait for it…a six-cylinder and Powerglide! Right away, we see that it proudly wears red-and-white paint over the red-white-black interior, and has many of the exterior accouterments including rear-fin antenna, front fender bits, three-piece bumpers, and full-size wheel covers. We’re told that the odometer stopped working at 15,000 but the previous owner allegedly only drove it a thousand more after that, before parking it.

Body-wise, there is some rust evident, but nothing too outrageous. Mechanically, it’s allegedly ready to drive as-is, having been upgraded to power disc front brakes and alternator instead of a generator. If the pictures were framed better, we could see the whole car, but we’re smart enough that we can put two-and-two together, right?

Looking at it overall, it’s a neat car and worth some money, but I don’t personally believe it to be worth quite as much as the asking price of $26,000. That’s just my opinion on it, what is YOUR opinion of this car?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice project car. Price is too high but who knows. Slight lowering with a California rake, 350 with a turbo 400 and you have the ultimate weekend cruiser.

    Like 8
    • Sandy Claws

      You can’t cruise with a six? Okay, I also want to know the back story here. This car is almost old enough for Medicare, yet only 16K miles, what gives?. Again, I plead to the writers. Do a little investigating! If enough of these probably interesting stories were told, I am fairly sure a member I would become! Give me a worthy product and a happy consumer you will have. Do not be the Dollar Store of the car site internet.

      Like 6
      • Steve R

        You expect the seller to tell the truth? Especially one that is basing a high asking price on a dubious mileage claim.

        Steve R

        Like 9
    • George

      It’s a perfectly acceptable weekend cruiser with a 235. These are great engines and legends in thier own right.

      Like 8
      • Ken Irvine, Jr

        Worn out steering wheel at this low mileage???

        Like 1
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Comment #2: Ok, we got a ’50s cruiser, probably with a radio. Something driving me bananas is the guitar riff that Jack Daniels is using in their latest TV ad. Swear I heard that riff coming out of one of the surf bands in the late ’60s but can’t get my brain pan to divulge who it was. Any music/car nuts out there got any ideas? Thanks!


    Like 1
    • John Deebank

      I will watch for it. There is an app from a few years back that listens to a tune and tells you what it is. iphone.

      Like 0
  3. Don Diego

    Noah forgot to put this one onto the ark.

    Like 3
  4. doug

    I’m calling BS on the mileage.

    Like 34
    • John

      I’m with Doug… that mileage claim is horse manure…

      Like 11
    • Gun Smith

      Doug I am with you

      Like 4
    • JerryDeeWrench

      The first sign of a mechinal speedometer being around once is miss aligned numbers. Unknowned fact is that they were designed that way by the factory. When ever so got a R O that said repair the clock fast I would get my jeweler files out and clean every thing up. Said to say is was a common practice.

      Like 2
    • Bill Wilkman

      Couldn’t agree more. The wear on the steering wheel says anyone interested in this car should add 100,000 to the mileage claim.

      Like 5
    • r s

      That mileage is BS unless the driver wore sandpaper gloves… there is no way that steering wheel would be so worn in 16k.

      Should be called what it is – FRAUD.

      Like 3
  5. Saiers

    There is no way that car has 16k miles.

    Like 5
  6. art

    Just look at the wear on the steering wheel…much more than 16K miles.

    Like 22
  7. art

    Haha…see the warning sign on the fence in one photo? That says it all.

    Like 2
  8. JohnD

    Did he say the odo stopped working in 2005? Or was that 1965?

    Like 4
  9. Bob S

    Anyone smell flipper?

    Like 5
  10. CCFisher

    Not sure why people lie about ultra-low mileage. If this car has 16K miles, it was a really, really rough 16K. On the other hand, if it’s 116K (like we all know it is), it was well-cared for. So why lie?

    Like 8
    • Steve R

      Because an ultra low mileage car sells for more money, that’s why they lie. There are more than a few gullible people that will not watch out for their own interests that’s why they accept a picture of the speedometer as proof. The prudent buyer looks at the condition. Have you ever noticed that the vast majority of sellers making low mileage claims have nothing in the way of records, receipts, registration or insurance documentation to back up their story. They don’t have any because there is none.

      If the seller was truthful and admitted at least 116,000 miles, the price would come down by at least $10,000.

      Steve R

      Like 3
      • CCFisher

        Please! Stevie Wonder could tell this car has more than 16K miles.

        Like 12
      • Steve R

        Check out 57’s that have sold on eBay, there is no way this car is going to get anything close to the asking price.

        Steve R

        Like 2
  11. Mike W H

    Re: Jack Daniels commercial: That is a riff from a ’50s era Link Wray song “Rumble”

    Like 7
    • Mountainwoodie

      Funny story about Link Wray…..slightly off topic but what the hell. About fourteen years ago maybe, I was in New Orleans for the Ponderosa Stomp. Link Wray was scheduled to play at 2 am at the old Rock N Bowl. We’re downstairs hangin out and this really really old guy in black leathers with impossibly pointed black boots, pompadour,TV screen sized black sunglasses and stooped over like Mr. Burns , came wobbling out of a car.
      Of course it was Link Wray. Once upstairs and on stage he whipped out….well he gingerly strapped on his gitar……………..and made the loudest screeching off key chord you have ever heard…and launched into Rumble. God it was loud. But hey he was about 75 and probably long deaf. Still, it was Link Wray.

      Like 3
    • theswede

      Nice – something tells me it`s also in the movie “Pulp fiction” , anyway a very cool sound !

      Like 1
  12. Ian McLennan

    Odometer has obviously been around once, not fooling anybody. Still, a nice car, reasonable price would be $16K to 18K, assuming all the rust is what we’re seeing in the pics.
    I’d leave the 6 cylinder, those things sound real nice with a split exhaust manifold and dual glass packs.

    Like 2
    • Jack Quantrill

      I had a ‘53 Bel-Air with that exhaust setup. Couldn’t wait to get in a tunnel and floor it! What a sound.

      Like 2
  13. Troy s

    L-88 427, rock crusher 4speed, Olds rear end with 4.88’s, …..oops, I was still thinking about a certain ’55 Chevy. The 57’s are my least favorite of the tri five chevys, but this is still a cool ride. If someone dropped a 331 inch small block in it with a 4 speed I would absolutely not mind at all. Just not a six guy.

    Like 1
  14. grant

    Seller uses a lot of car words, he might find a mark. You can smell that story from the West coast. Personally I’m trying to wrap my head around “Car is not a restored show car but is an untouched restoration…”

    Like 3
    • 38ChevyCoupeGuy

      Mississippi, Virginia, Delaware,….. Maryland title? Wth? Does he just slap the Delaware tag on and ride with no insurance? Wow,yes lots of car words,but only “he” replaced the blower motor..good God, just tell the real story,come down to the 3rd rock from the sun to a reasonable number,let someone enjoy themselves.Those three little rust spots ? Wonder what it looks like on inside of said spots.

      Like 3
      • PatrickM

        I also want to know what the underside looks like. Hahahaha. $5K tops.

        Like 0
    • Little_Cars

      Bonus points for having the worst photos ever to show the car as a whole. Step back and let us see the whole damn thing, seller! All of these gymnastics to show detail is fine but just one quarter view from the front and back would give us some perspective. Sheesh!

      Like 3
  15. Ken Carney

    More like 115K And as for the 235, leave it as it is and just drive it. You
    just don’t see a top line Bel Air equipped
    with a 6 cylinder that often. Many of these were ordered with either a 265 or a
    283 V-8 depending on the customer’s
    pocket book. Back in ’84, I caught a ride
    back form a major car show in Lacon
    Illinois with an elderly gentleman who had a Bel Air that was equipped this same way. He ordered it new from the
    factory in late ’56 and was the original
    owner to boot. Can still recall to this day
    how sharp the car looked in Bedford Blue
    with a Larkspur Blue top. The old man
    told me the car had over 200K miles on it
    and just how many times that everything
    had been rebuilt or replaced. I was truly
    amazed at how well the car was cared for
    on his watch. We got to my house and after I got my art supplies out of the car,
    I gave him $5 for gas (I made over $350
    that day selling prints) he reached across
    the seat and gave me $25 and an order
    for me to make a portrait of his car! About a week later, he came back in that
    same car to pick up his print. My wife was shocked to see the car in such beautiful condition even though I told her
    about it as she wasn’t home when the old
    man dropped me off a week before. Just
    so you know, I went to the show with a
    friend of my FIL’s who owned a Black Bel
    Air with a 350 small block and an M-22
    4-speed in it. I went to the show in a
    modified car, and came home in a sticker.
    What a wonderful day I had.

    Like 13
  16. bobhess bobhess Member

    Thank you Mike W H! Slept like a baby last night. Never would have dug that one out. Didn’t realize the song was that old.


    Like 4
  17. Del

    Haggerty does not even give values for a 57 BelAir Six banger.

    Suffice it to say as before not a 16 000 mile car. 116 ???

    Hard to put a price on it….9000 ??? Nah thats probably to high

    Like 2
  18. Hotroddaddy

    16,000 miles, give me a break? $26,000 for a 57 Bellaire with a 6? I would pay that much for a 57 Bellaire in that condition with a 283.

    Like 1
  19. Glenn Member

    My 1st car was a 57 , 210 with the 6 and 3 on the tree. It blows my mind how many different oil bath air fters there were. Mine didn’t look lile fact I’ve never seen this version with the rounded edge. 25K is too pricyley fir me and I have to have a stick.

    Like 0
  20. Ted

    I’d love to see state or local police bust just one curber for obvious fraud on mileage. Just one……….

    I’d buy this right now for 8K. This instant. I’d wire the funds.

    26K? If he tosses in 20K worth of BBC parts, an M22, and a written apology for telling porkies about the mileage.

    Like 5
  21. deak stevens

    Who ever came up with the name tri five for these cars are stupid, sounds like your speaking ebonics. Speak english! This is america.

    Like 3
  22. stillrunners

    Funny it got upgrades to power disk when – it’s pretty obvious by the low milage – it doesn’t go anywhere.

    Like 1
  23. Tom

    I am one of the previous owners of this car. I never thought I would ever see it again. Well, I was wrong! It is nice to see that not many drastic changes have taken place since I owned it.The internet can certainly bring back memories.

    Like 1
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Hi Tom, do you recall how many miles on the car when you sold it?

      Like 0
    • David B. McKay

      So, if you’re a “previous owner”, can you respond to the accusations by commenters about the lying by the current owner regarding the mileage? It’s obvious looking at the steering wheel and the rust that he’s lying. What say you?

      Like 0
  24. Jim Engliah

    I agree about the disc front brakes and what about the update to the generator. Why would you replace it with an alternator. I had a 57 alternator in my 55 six cyl. The 57’s were a bit bigger with more charging power. And this 57 has 16K miles on it ? Doesn’t make sense. Also, the steering wheel is just what the other guy said. It has way too much hand wear for 16K miles. And if you look through the rear window, … look at the drivers seat. Unless an elephant was the driver, … the seat in squashed inward more that half way. My 55 had 106K miles on it and the drivers seat was very little squashed down at the back. I do agree there should be more photos even though the body and chrome look decent as shown. And the valve cover doesn’t have the original color blue. Why would that had to be re-painted ?? Yeah, .. the car is over priced 10K to 12K , …. should be asking 12K or less.

    Like 1
  25. G. Gagnon

    Does not look like a car with 16K miles to me!!!

    Like 0
  26. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Looks familiar, from April 2019. 53 comments that time.

    Like 0
  27. TimM

    Great car well worth the asking price for a vehicle that’s probably has one of the highest history’s of being modified!! To get one that hasn’t had someone else’s opinion of what is cool done to it is a rare situation indeed!!!

    Like 0
  28. Jim

    That has got to be 115 K on the clock. This car shows too much wear for a car with only 15 K. Can any one say BULLS*IT !

    Like 0
  29. 38ChevyCoupeGuy

    BS indeed, the rust from wet road debris laying behind the panels, the bushings in column shift are wore,as you can tell by unparallel gaps, the steering wheel caught everybody’s eye. I’m sure the list goes on and on if in the flesh, which,if a new owner is in the near future,will see,then of course be a problem for the seller. Just be straight up when advertising these cars,for that matter, anything. It just creates problems for everyone. I fear our hobby is a dying breed, please let’s not make it any harder, stressful, not to mention the mental and emotional strain induced on all parties involved.

    Like 0
  30. Don Wallis

    The hood and trunk are not BelAir. Any chance this is a faked BelAir? Would be nice to see the cowl tag.

    Like 0

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