Barn-Stored 33 Years: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

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In 1956, Chevrolet added a new body style to the 210 and Bel Air series, the 4-door Hardtop Sport Sedan (no door frames). It would go on to account for sales of more than 290,000 cars in the last two years of the “Tri-Five” Chevy run. This example from 1957 was parked in a barn in 1990 and recently saw the light of day as part of an estate sale. An unknown amount of work will be needed to get it back on the road and we wish there were photos of the interior to gauge its condition. Located in Marion, New York, this old Bowtie is available here on craigslist for $3,750. Thanks for the vintage tip. T.J.!

This ’57 Chevy was likely quite attractive when new, with what appears to be India Ivory over Larkspur Blue paint (code 810). For sitting so long, it doesn’t look bad, and the seller or prior owner may have rinsed off all the dirt and grime before taking the photographs. The Bel Air may have had only 67,500 miles when it was parked. We’re told the owner passed away and it and some other vehicles were left to fend for themselves. The seller bought it for a restoration project but has decided to focus on other things instead.

We’re told this Bel Air has a V8 engine, but we don’t know whether it’s the 265 or 283-cubic-inch version (the latter was new in ’57). It also has an automatic transmission, which should make it the 2-speed Powerglide. The engine will turn over, which is a positive sign, and one step closer to getting the cylinders all chugging again. There is no trunk key, so whatever is inside that compartment will be a surprise for both seller and buyer. Other than looking for rust, a big unknown is whether any furry inhabitants of the barn were able to get into the passenger area.

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  1. Harry Allen

    Well from what is provided the dust cover doesn’t look too terrible.

    Like 4
  2. "Edsel" Al leonardMember

    I’d be careful here…33 years on a dirt floor is not conducive to a clean, rust-free underside…But the previous owner probably thought it wouldn’t be there long….

    Like 6
    • George

      This is a NY made car, so likely been in this area its entire life. This one’s gonna have lots of bottom end rust/scale I suspect. Nonetheless, a great way to get into a tri five Chevy

      Like 3
  3. 64 Bonneville

    Take the glove box door to a locksmith and get a key made. That is how to open the trunk without damaging anything. Asking price is fair to middlin’ I suppose, Would have been much better ad if there were more pictures. I’ve seen CL ads with 24 photos, give a better idea as to what all it would need before getting involved with the buy.

    Like 7
  4. Jeff

    I think 57’s only had one key that worked everything. Unless they installed a new ignition switch at some point and fouled that up.

    Like 2
    • Jay E.Member

      I’m not sure that is correct, my 57 is all original and has two keys. This could be a nice starting point, it is a shame that this nicely equipped 4 door has degraded to this state. It is sort of hard to figure out how the outside can be so seemingly solid, yet the interior is trashed.
      Don’t understand the mania about not washing a car. It would present so much better and would probably bring the reasonable asking price easier. Once upon a time, this was a really nice car and probably shown beautifully.
      Wrong coast for me though, plus I know what I’d be getting into.

      Like 7
    • Al loncto

      In ‘57 the trunk has a separate key, I know because I have one with original keys.

      Like 1
      • Jeff

        They originally had one key that fit all the locks. You can read this in a 57 owners manual or the factory shop manual.

        Like 1
    • Al Loncto

      The ‘57 Chevy had two keys, one for the trunk and one for ignition, I know that because I have one with original keys.

      Like 1
  5. charlieMember

    I love the body style, in all the GM lines of the mid ’50’s. And “Sports Sedan” was used by Chevy at least as far back as 1938 for its upscale model, and then for its “new” body after WWII, when it was still producing the ’38 body as well. The “new” body did not have the third side window.

    Like 0
  6. Troy

    Price note to bad compared to others we have seen here, wish it was closer it would be worth a look

    Like 1
  7. Norman K Wrensch

    it has an automatic so it would have to be a 283. 265 in 57 was only offered with a 3 on the tree.

    Like 5
  8. tadah23Member

    I believe that the silver emblem on the trunk indicates a 265ci V8 where a gold emblem would indicates a 283 ci V8.

    Like 1
    • Bryan D McDonald

      The color of the platting on the script and “V” s on Try-5 Chevys indicates if the car is a Bel-Air or a 210 or 150 body style. Gold was for Bel-Air only. 210’s and 150’s got silver. On a ’57 the silver and gold theme carried onto the mesh grille as well. 6 cyl would only have the script and 8 cyl would include the “V”.
      The hood and trunk scripts on this Bel-Air do appear to be silver that could be due to the fact that they have been replaced or they could be faided or it could be just poor light in the photo.

      Like 3
  9. Danny

    Nice entry project! These old birds are getting scarce to locate, price is acceptable.

    Like 0
  10. Tom Crum

    My 1967 Cougar had two keys, one round, the other larger and square

    Like 0

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