1957 Chevrolet Bel Air With 46 Years of Dust!

There are few American cars as iconic as the 1957 Chevy. It’s the car you see cruising the strip and stopping at the drive-in for burgers, fries, and a coke. The Bel Air (the highest trim level) was a huge sales success, with more than 702,000 sold that year. Bel Airs are still coming out of the woodwork. This long-dormant car, covered in 46 years of dust and still wearing its 1972 plates, for sale here on eBay in Cumberland, Maryland with bidding at $5,750.

It’s a four-door sedan, which (you wouldn’t know it from the shows) was the most popular trim line for the Bel Air, with 254,331 sold. The extra doors are a demerit for collectors but are certainly practical for old car folks with families. The car has 103,000 miles, which is not inconsiderable for 1957 engines.

More photos would have been nice. It’s the age-old problem of trying to properly photograph a barn find when it’s tightly packed into a barn or garage. The light is bad, and so are the possible angles. There’s no view of the front seat, but what we do see looks surprisingly good, especially the interior.

The car, with a 283 V8 and Power Glide transmission, was bought in 1962 by the seller’s dad, who drove it for only 10 years before locking it away. Dad’s title is in hand. The owner makes these observations: “Passenger window needs replaced. Replacement glass is in the back seat. The frame and suspension seem to be in good condition as far as rust. Body and interior are very nice considering the age.” It has factory air-conditioning, a rare option in 1957. The only non-stock item I see is a gauge cluster.

We can only see the upper part of the car but, aside from the odd dent, it looks reasonably intact under that truly remarkable layer of dust. “You will need a rollback/dollies or good wheels/tires to tow it out of the garage,” the owner says. “The driveway is on an incline. Consider this a VERY good base for a project car.”

The seller would seem to be offering an honest car. ’57 Bel Airs will always be valuable collector cars, but they’re a bit glutted on the market right now. Americans who remember them on the road are getting thinner on the market, and some estate collections have emptied out.

What’s the rarest 1957 Chevy? That would be the $2,757 two-door Nomad wagon, with just 6,103 sold. This is the third year of the remarkable “Tri-Five” run that began in 1955, and the differences in the three years are mostly down to styling. Though you could get fuel injection in ’57.

The car on offer looks fairly bare-bones (the four-door sedans usually were basic), but the options list was long that year, including power windows, brakes, seats, steering, and antenna (which could be had with a signal-seeking radio). Bel Airs started at $2,238. My guess is that this Bel Air could be back on the street fairly quickly—if it doesn’t have any undercarriage rust problems. It was on the road in the Northeast for 13 years, but the owner says it looks good to him. If you can get past this being a four-door sedan, it could be just the ’57 Chevy you’ve been wanting.

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Comments

  1. Slightly Askew

    8-year-old Timmy down the street takes better pictures than this with his Fisher Price “My First Camera”.
    Just because it’s a 1957 doesn’t mean you have to use 63-year-old film.

    Like 29
    • Mountainwoodie

      That gave me a chuckle.There’s no explaining people’s lack of effort when taking pictures for a car for sale ad. Unless I was physically handicapped, I would make more of an effort.

      It appears that at some point, back when it ran, someone added a amp/oil pressure gauge under the dash. I did that myself on my ’56 back in 1972.

      “Old” cars are my exception to the two doors only rule of thumb.

      Hard to decide what to pay for a car with so little dependable info.

      Like 3
      • Kjn

        All iPhones have cameras, take decent pictures! How much more of an effort to take additional photos……

  2. Steve R

    Too much money based on the information provided or lack there of. The seller offers no pictures of rust prone areas, but hints there is some based on his wording. There are better cars available that arent much more expensive. Unless a 57 4 door is your dream car, keep looking.

    Steve R

    Like 9
    • JW454

      But Steve he pictured an aftermarket key. Wouldn’t that get your blood pumping? HA!
      I agree Steve… some people have no idea how to display a car for sale.

      Like 5
  3. Mitchell Gildea Member

    1957 Chevy: sits for 46 years
    Dust: it’s free real estate

    Like 2
  4. Kenneth Carney

    Almost bought one of these in 2004 after seeing it listed in the national edition of The Auto Trader. I’d just lost my wife to a stroke a few months earlier
    and needed something to beat the blues
    when I saw one listed in Oregon for $4K.
    That one was black with a white top with a red and black interior. It ran a 283
    and a Power Glide tranny like this one did only the bands on the tranny had to
    be adjusted before being driven home
    which wasn’t that bad considering the
    car was listed as a good runner and
    driver by the seller. I planned the trip
    and the logistics of getting the car home
    and had everything ready when I called
    the seller and spoke with him about
    picking up the car. That’s when he told
    me that I’d missed buying the car by 15
    minutes and that it was on its way to
    Commiefornia on the back of some lucky guy’s car hauler. $5K’s about all
    it’s really worth anyway. Too many
    unknowns for me to even think about.
    Someone will buy it though–just not me.

    Like 4
  5. JONATHAN

    There is now a trend of making a two-door tri-five out of a four door. Videos are posted on youtube and Woody’s Hotrod’s website. This might be a good candidate if it isn’t a real rust bucket.

  6. DONALDDUCK

    how is floor ?? need more photos

  7. jerry hw brentnell

    you are wrong in the fact that the nomad wagon is the rarest because its not! try find 57 chev 210 4 door hardtops! or 150 2 door hardtops if chev even built any! those 210 hardtops were rare when new

    • Jim Williams

      1957 Chevy Bel Air Production Numbers
      Bel Air two-door sedan – 62,751
      Bel Air four-door sedan – 254,331
      Bel Air Sport sedan – 137,672
      Bel Air Sport Coupe – 166,426
      Bel Air convertible – 47,562
      Townsman four-door wagon – 27,375
      Bel Air Nomad two-door wagon – 6,103

      Credit: http://www.classic-car-history.com/1957-chevy-history.htm

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