1956 Chevrolet 210 Barn Find

Everyone likes to claim “originality” as the leading or most significant aspect of their collectible car when it’s time to part ways. Well, today we have found an original 1956 Chevrolet 210 sports coupe that is so original that its original is original! This perfect example of originality is located in Stockton, California and is available here on eBay with a current bid of $5,800.

No kidding though, this ’56 really appears untouched other than by the hand of time. And yes, time has caused a lot of wear and it shows but that’s expected. Besides all that originality stuff, however, this one is the desirable two-door hardtop body style, though not a Belair, and is V8 equipped.

The 1956 model year was the second year for the famed, or soon to be famed, Chevrolet small-block V8 engine, this one of the 265 CI variety. As I may have mentioned somewhere in the past, the small block count stopped at about 100,000,000 units produced by 2011. And it is still in production so there’s no telling what the count is at this point. The seller tells us that he has not attempted to start this 170 HP variant and looking it over, it looks like it went on a deep-sea dive somewhere – with originality comes rust and in this case a lot of it. Small block V8’s are resilient but it wouldn’t surprise me if this one will have to come completely apart to see life again. In typical form, a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission backs up this V8.

The all-original body looks about as expected for a barn find that has been stored in, probably, a barn. The left side quarter will need some cutting and patching and the right-side quarter looks like there was a bondo sale at Salvo auto parts, as there is what appears to be a big glob of the stuff in front of the rear wheel opening. Good to know if they get some real inclement weather there in Stockton, this 210 is good to go with its snow tires!

So how’s the underside and floor in this ’56? Well, the seller is silent on that aspect of all 63 years’ worth of originality but the interior pictures look shaky. Good news is the carpet/rubber mat is gone so you can spy the floors. The bad news is the floors have holes near the door edge – that being the case there is probably more rot lurking elsewhere. The seller does remind us, however, that the interior is the “original interior”.

What does all of this originality mean? In this case, it is a completely unmolested, V8 powered, 1956 Chevrolet 210, two-door hardtop and that is a rare find! How often do you come across a tri-five Chevy that has been left untouched by the machinations of, you name it, a high-school hot-rodder, shade-tree drag-racer, professional restorer or my favorite, “Started on it, lost interest, needs new home” kinda restoration? This ’56 truly is a blank canvas because of, well, you know, its “originality.” Now comes the tough part, if you were to acquire this very original specimen, what would you do with it? Get it running and leave it as is? Do a 1000-point restoration? Hot-rod it? Resto-mod it? There are lots of options, but remember, they are only original once.


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  1. JW454

    I’ve restored several cars and also turned a few into a hotter version of themselves. At this point, I think I’d just get this one running and driving safely and leave it as it is. Repair what’s needed, stop the fluid leaks and, just drive it as is. This car and I share a birth year so we’d have a connection.

    Like 14
    • Dovi65

      This is what a 10-15 y/o ‘beater’ used to be. Pick it up for a good price, make it safe, & reliable. The bumps, bruises, and bad bondo work only add to the charm of it. Not every car, not every Tri-5 Chevy needs to be restored. Enjoy it for the old soul it is

  2. 8banger Dave Mika Member

    I had a ’55 2-door, and man, the fender eyebrow area above the headlights – mine included, always do that!

    Like 5
  3. dodgepolara500

    This came from the rust belt originally. It even had snow tires on the rear which explains the rust.

    Like 1
  4. Mark S.

    ’56 is my favorite of the tri-fives. For this one, I say “fixit and drive it”. No need to get carried away with a full restoration.

    Like 9
  5. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Sure it’s all original but you’ll have very little of that left after a complete restoration. This car needs everything, and I mean everything. You’ll have to replace a lot of original metal along with a complete interior and then there’s what to do about the motor. I’d be inclined to go with a modern small block and go with power disc brakes all around. Add A/C along with power steering and you’re done. Your bank account will be done as well. To restore this car back to any configuration, whether it be original or resto-mod, will require a high level of skill and a hefty budget.

    I have neither so I’ll just move along…………..

    Like 7
  6. Bill

    I have been in love with these cars all my life, since they were new when I was 8. I am particularly fond of the two door hardtop, which is a term your author uses several times to describe this car. To me, it’s a “2 door post” vs no post which I would call a 2 door hardtop. Just a note from an old guy who loves these cars. Maybe I’m wrong…???

    Like 5
    • Dusty Rider

      That’s a hardtop, there is no center post.

      Like 5
      • Bill

        Duh. You are so right. Looked at it on my
        phone and thought I saw it as a post. It’s what I get for thinking when I’m not used to it. Thanks

        Like 4
  7. txchief

    It may be in California, but I doubt it’s from California!

    Like 12
    • local_sheriff

      I would probably agree with you there chief. However what we do get to know from the cowl tag is it was at least MADE at the Oakland, CA plant and a rather early prod # too

      Like 2
  8. Ryan Hilkemann

    A bit rusty but not too bad, love the nobbies on the back!

    Like 1
  9. Robert White

    It’s a ground up resto job that will take mega-dollars & time.

    Have FUN & say hi to the bank account for me.

    Don’t forget to wave to the nice lady at the gas station when you finally get it back on the road too, eh.

    P.S. Think rotisserie sandblasting & new floor pans too, man. And new boots alone will be around $1k a set.


  10. Del

    This might have been saveable 30 years ago but what I see is too far gone.

    Not even sure of any parts value.

    The snow tires are a give away.

    Someones ride outta the rust belt to sunny California and they never looked back. 😎

    Like 5
    • jerry z

      I noticed the snow tires too! Definitely not from Stockton! Had a ’55 about 35 yrs ago and these car are smaller inside than I though. My ’68 Camaro had more head and leg room.

      Like 1
  11. John S

    It’s refreshing to hear that there are still optimists out there… I spent 40 years in the Chicago area “Salt Belt”… this is what cars look like after 10 years of brine laced roadways. When every panel needs rust repair… inside, outside, sides you never knew where there it gets reeeeally expensive and time consuming to save a car. I remember trying to remove parts held in place with nuts & bolts so welded together with rust that I’d wish it would just snap off to save time. Then it does and your hand slams into a rusty ragged panel… so it’s off to the band aid box! (again) So sad to see a once beautiful ’56 Chevy rotted away so badly. I’ll never buy a car with rust again.

    Like 6
  12. Gaspumpchas

    Unmolested but sure is rotten, Depending on what level you want to take it to. I’m with you guys- fix and drive. I’d ditch the PG and convert back to 3 on the tree. Freshen up the 283 and leave it stock. Good luck to the new owner!

  13. Jack Quantrill

    Still looks good, even in this condition!

    Like 2
  14. Richard

    Leave it like it is!!! Just do the Minimum to get it Running!!! I had a 210 similar to this, but was a 2 dr. Sedan with a 235, 3 on the tree w/Overdrive! Not quite this much rust though, but was Nassau Blue with Primer spots all over it! Drove it to many Chevy conventions across the country in the 80’s & 90’s from Idaho. Finally sold it to a guy in Hawaii !!!! Still wonder about that car today! I also own a ’56 Harbor Blue/Nassau Blue 2 dr. hdtp which I’m trying to get back together & a Sierra Gold/Adobe Beige ’57 2 dr. hdtp ! Had the ’56 since 1973.

    Like 3
  15. JP

    If you like it then go for it!

  16. Bill Hall

    I had a great aunt who bought a 56 210 coupe (post) new. This was a very neat car, light green in and out with nice vinyl seats. To make it better was the motor, 265 $ BARREL CARB. Very nice car , unfortunately we didn’t know she needed quict driving ujntil it was wrecked and not just sheet metal but the frame also. It ended being parted out, This was md seventies.

    Like 1
  17. John Oliveri

    Would need a tetanus shot every time u got in it if u left it alone, I don’t like these cars, for myself, but I’d dump the motor and interior, do the body work, flat black, nice 427, small tubs, drop the front end, nice interior add A/C tilt column, or I wouldn’t do it at all

  18. 38ChevyCoupeGuy

    Powerwash it, inside and out, revive the little mouse, stop the brake fluid leaks, get appointment at Dr for tetanus shot, drive the tires off of it. Which may not take but a minute if they are dried up bias ply. Bottom line, have fun with the damn thing, every car doesn’t have to have mirrors in the grass when parked, 27 coats of paint, and trim so bright it would blind an alien on a full moon summer night.

    Like 3
  19. Mountainwoodie

    Yikes a 500.00 car bid to 6250 already! Man, the market train left me at the station. But we already knew that.

    I give the seller kudos for selling a non running obviously rust ridden hulk.and a 210 at that and already reaching nosebleed price territory. lol. Must have spent its life in Mammoth.

    Whenever I look at that speedo I’m seventeen again and driving a 4 door hardtop ’56,that I bought in 1972 for 250 bucks or $$1500 today.

    Crazy. Just crazy.

    Like 1
  20. Richard

    Not just the engine, but the WHOLE car needs to be dipped in a Hot Tank for about a WEEK! In the late 70’s I went to the Portland Swap meet with a friend & after looking around for awhile, I asked him: Did you see that ’56 Chevy Convertible in the room next door? His immediate reply was…. Yeah, but did you see the PRICE on it??? It was a Beautifully Restored car White w/a Black top, with a price of $5,500. Everyone Drooled over the car & I thought nearly everyone was gonna have a heart attack after seeing the price!!! People were all remarking….Beautiful Car, but all were mumbling & hem hawing about the OUTRAGEOUS Price!!!!!!!!!

    Like 1
    • Ken

      $5,500 in 1978 is approximately $22,000 today, so it was actually a pretty good bargain.

      • Richard

        True- Low production BUT, How many people are willing to take on such a rust bucket as this car is? Yes, I love my 56’s, & yes, a 2 dr. hdtp in a 210 Is pretty rare, But, you have to consider how much you would have in it to get it to be a really nice car? To me, I would pay $500 to have it as a good parts car, but the current price is Waaaaay out Past Left Field!!!!! One would really have to have a deep passion for all the work it would take to restore a car, to take on THIS project!! Plus a lot of money And Time!!!!!

  21. Jim Morris

    Before writing it off as a junker, look at the production numbers:
    Model 2154, 2dr hardtop sport coupe (6 & 8 cyl.) 19,079 1.17% of total production.
    The only models with less are the Nomad, Sedan Delivery, and 2-door utility (no back seat) sedan.
    Get a RealDealSteel body, some patch panels and have at it.

  22. Richard

    May as well just buy a different car!!!

    Like 1
  23. Richard

    My book shows a production of 20,021……..Still Very low production. Most All 210’s were parted out, as most people wanted Bel-Airs!!!!!!

  24. TimM

    Quite a bit of rust on this old girl!! I’d love to fix it up but there are way to many projects on my plate!! The 56 was my favorite year!! More trim but didn’t have the big gaudy bumpers of the 57!! Great to start with if it can be bought right without paying through the nose!!

    Like 1
  25. Richard

    Price is Already Thru the Nose & into the Gut!!!!! It’s a a shame people let Great cars like this simply decompose!!!!!

  26. PatrickM

    All that rust!! And bidding is at $6,850.00. Wow! Good luck with that. So much work to be done. Ok, it’s a ’56 Chevy 2 door hardtop. I should say I’m sorry for my thoughts of rarity vs. cost, but, I can’t. T me, it just doesn’t add up. This car was neglected for a long time.

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