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1957 Chevy Bel Air Project

Few cars conjure up images of Americana like the classic ’57 Chevy Bel Air. Scenes of hula-hoops, fuzzy dice, and stoplight drag races always seem to include a Bel Air. With its heavy chrome and good power, it’s easy to see why. Although a bit rusty, this Bel Air sports a matching numbers powertrain. Is it worthy of further investment? The seller obviously thinks so, as bidding is currently at $5,800 with the reserve still unmet. Find it here on eBay.

This 50’s icon comes with Chevrolet’s well-known 283 V8 engine and Powerglide transmission, and was even ordered with the desirable Power Pack. This option featured a four-barrel carburetor and other upgrades boosting output to 180 b.h.p. The added power was certainly appreciated over the base V8’s 162 horses. This car has benefited from recent maintenance items, including a tune-up with new spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor, as well as a rebuilt carburetor, new brakes, wheel cylinders, master cylinder and a new gas tank.

The 1957 model year gained several new styling touches, including a new front grille and bumpers, the famous fins and dual hood birds, still intact on this example. In Chevrolet’s advertisements for the ’57, it proclaimed that these cues made the new model sweet, low, and longer. While this does confirm that marketing hyperbole existed well before today’s automotive ad campaigns, we can’t deny that these features were likely selling points in the age of sharp body lines and acres of sheet metal.

Though the Bel Air listed here may cultivate youthful memories, its body and interior do contain a few reality checks. The lights and radio are said to work, but the heater does not. The front floor pan, inner and outer rockers, some of the floor supports, doors, rear quarters, rear wheel tubs, and rear trunk panel are losing the battle with the tin worm. We advise inspecting this one in person.

Originally painted ivory with a black and silver interior, an authentic restoration would yield a stunning combination of colors, chrome, and smooth V8 power. While rust alone can determine the viability of a restoration, some classics like the Bel Air get some extra consideration based on desirability and their place in America’s car culture. Do you think this one is worth saving? Let us know what you think below.


  1. Donald C

    For sure,this has lots of potential.

    Like 0
  2. Ed Morris

    I would love to own a 57 Chevy!

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  3. Corey

    I must be the only person out there who never had a hard on for one of these. I’ve seen some great stuff done with them but they just aren’t for me.

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    • dave newby

      had 3 of them 1 hardtop ,1 2 door coup ,1 covertible wish i still had them

      Like 1
  4. fred

    You’re not alone Corey. I don’t get the 57 either. Now the 55….that’s sexy.
    The weak point on this car is that 2 speed Powerglide….really sluggish

    Like 0
  5. Robert

    While restoration is a nice Idea I could see it burning up the strip with a blown 572 in it. But I am a nut.

    Like 0
  6. Ben Brosch

    i’ve always liked the 56

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  7. Justin in Indy

    Wow! Im not alone! Glad fred and corey spoke up. It’s not that they are bad cars or ugly…They are attractive for sure. but they just aren’t ‘all that’. I put the tri-5 chevys in with the 67-69 camaro’s and 64-forever mustangs.

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  8. J. Pickett

    Corey, I never fell for it either, I think I wanted one for about a week in high school. The 57 Ford Fairlane 500 outsold it. I never could understand why these reworked 55’s are so valuable. Probably the small blocks. Some times at car shows I ignore the tri 5 Chevy area. All the same. but a simple restoration. Lord you can literally build one from the ground up. Only Chevy would hold onto Powerslide so long. In 1972 you could still get a manual shifted Powerglide! Fully auto except shifting, basically a torque converter which you had to manually chose first or top. So useless in a Vette, They even offered it on the small 409 in 65/65.

    Like 0
  9. Matthew

    I love these but I prefer the styling of the 55′ a bit more.

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  10. wayne

    this one looks straight. I’d say save it. It looks good all cleaned up.

    Like 0
  11. Forrest

    Every time I see one of these all I can think of is the one I did back in the day – hi-po 327, T-10, Econoline front axle, Racemasters/homemade traction bars out back, 5.60/15 VW tires up front, 90/10 Konis, 4.88 posi, you know the drill. Half gutted interior with a partial roll cage mostly for looks. Uncapped fenderwell headers…now, THAT thing had stance. All for about $2000 and a lot of busted knuckles. Wish I had it now…

    Like 0
    • Walter

      Been there done that.

      I had 456-and a 220 Muncie 4 speed
      327/375 hp. 30 over duntov cam, high compression piston
      Headers, solid lifters, big aluminum intake with 650 Holley with Malory ignitin,

      Ran the timing 7 degrees hot

      Burn plugs out too quick

      Now 2020 looking to have another After wife passes away

      Like 0
  12. Robert Melcher

    I would love to own it. I have always loved the Looks of the 57 & 58 Chevrolet’s

    Like 0
  13. Wayne Melhiser

    Back in the day I was lucky enough to have owned 2 1957 Bel Aire Chevrolets. One was a 4 door hardtop, 3 speed column shift, 283 V- 8 power pack,dual exhauts and a real head turner. This was while I was in High School, how lucky was I ? My second ’57 was also a Bel Aire 2 door Hard Top, power pack but was automatic. I’m now in my late 60’s and would love to have either one of the Chevy’s back. Hell I would almost be satisfied with just photos of the cars!
    This ’57 Chevy is certainly a keeper. Put her back together from the ground up in pure stock condition. See the USA in a Chevrolet…………..

    Like 0
  14. Dean Etter

    I’ve always wanted the yellow ‘ 57 Chev 210 Htp with the 283 Fuel Injection 315Hp 4spd running on racing fuel. From the 1975 movie ” Return to Macon County ” with Don Johnson & Nick Nolte. I have it on tape & like to turn up the surround sound in the living room when in the beginning of the movie. When Don is under the hood “hearing that motor run” SOOOO BAD! Another time when it’s out running on pavement & the fuel injection kicks in.
    I’ve never ever seen 1 like it @any local or national car/street-rod show’s in the OH,KY,Ind,Tenn areas ever?? I wonder if anyone out there would know What happen to that car after shooting the movie? Maybe Don or Nick might know? maybe it’s in the back lot storage in L.A.?

    I have a friend in Cincinnati,that has a yellow Bel Air htp. But it has a black interior with white-letter tires on centerline rims. Another friend of mine has his white/red/black interior ‘ 57 stolen out in front of his house 1 early morning 10yrs ago. Then it showed up @a rinky-dinky lot on Rt.50 near Madison,Ind. It was all butchered up. I knew it was his,cause there were a crack down the middle of the driver side window.

    Post ‘ 55- ‘ 57 are more in demmand than the typical Htp’s & Nomand’s. Now the 150 & 210’s & Handyman wagon’s are growing in need too.

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  15. Al Neri

    I liked the style of the 150 model much better than the 210 or Bel Airs.

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  16. Adam

    I’ve seen a lot more done with a lot less. Plus it’s a 57 Bel-Air hardtop, a classic if there ever was one, OF COURSE SAVE IT.

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  17. Robert Kreiling

    weel worth saving would love to have it

    Like 0
  18. Norman Wrensch

    283 power pack was 220 hp not 180 which was the 2 barrel version. The 265 2 barrel was probably 162 hp which was only available with 3 on the tree in 57

    Like 0

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