Better Look Twice: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

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A decade ago when really rough 2-door cars started commanding a premium price, a lot of people in the classic car hobby turned their focus to their 4-door cousins. Heck, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-door like this one is about the size of a 2-door muscle car from the late sixties. When you shave the rear door handles, it makes these cars fool you at first glance. This one can be found here on eBay with a current bid of $5,200. The seller says the car has only seen two owners and was in storage from 1985 to 2019. Located in Wadsworth, Ohio, unfortunately, the car has some pretty significant rust issues. Take a look and see if you think it’s too bad to repair.

The interior is probably the best part of this car. The upholstery and dash are in amazing condition. The ad says that the entire car is very original. They even list several parts with the 1957 dates still stamped on them. As mentioned before, there is a significant amount of rust in the floor. There are massive holes and it appears the entire floor pan will need to be addressed.

Aside from the battery, the engine compartment looks very original as well. The powerplant is a 283 cubic inch V8 topped by a 2-barrel carburetor. The transmission is a Powerglide automatic and as you can see it has manual steering and brakes.

It is too bad the floor of this car is so far gone. Perhaps a frame swap is in order along with cutting out the floor and replacing it. There are a lot of aftermarket sources for replacement floor pans that will weld right in. What do you think? Is this car going to be saved or rot away?

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Comments

  1. Bill W.

    Well, at 5200, I won’t be the one welding in a new floor pan.

    Like 9
  2. Tomasino

    I was 1yr old in ’57.

    Like 0
  3. TheOldRanger

    Why would anyone let a car like this sit in storage for 34 years?? Total waste of a good car !!

    Like 11
    • Big C

      Like the man said. It’s a 4 door. No one wanted them, and the owner probably was “just about” to start fixing this one up, and wouldn’t part it out. For 30 years.

      Like 10
  4. Jay E.Member

    The money is all in at that price. If were a hardtop is would be worth more, but the post cars have the taller top and look old. The mileage might show 30K, but probably has 100K more to be in this condition No way is it a 30K original mile car. The interior is a replacement as that is not what stock fabric looked like. With a good floor it might get 8 or 9, but even that might be a stretch. Good luck to the seller.

    Like 6
  5. Mike

    Too much rust unfortunately….just start poking around that frame with a screwdriver….

    I’m afraid it’s to late fellas…..road salt got this one….parts only…

    Like 3
  6. nlpnt

    I can just about tolerate “shaved” rear door handles on new cars that are designed that way (looking at you, 2023 Prius). But on a classic there’s no worse way to dis your own ride. If you own a four-door, OWN IT! Keep, or shave, all four door handles /rant.

    But yeah, this one’s too far gone except maybe as a passion project.

    Like 16
  7. David Aikman

    The rot in those floors is nothing im in the uk for a floor to be too far gone here it means there is literally no floor ive seen 70,s/80,s cars here in far worse condition

    Like 5
    • Mike

      Yes, but it isn’t only the floor pans. By the time they are gone that far the frame is nearly always no longer safe. Trying to replace a frame on a body with that much rot is exceedingly difficult and not worth the expense. More often than not, it will just collapse in a heap when you try to lift it off the frame. It’s a big job to do right…

      Like 5
  8. Glenn SchwassMember

    Needs inner rockers/ rockers too. A shame.

    Like 3
  9. Joe S.

    That $19.95 Kmart exhaust system is just…..

    Otherwise, if this car could talk, imagine the tales it could tell…..

    Like 0
  10. Troy

    You can have a new frame built I think its worth saving. Makes me want to go back to welding school and learn to fix this kind of stuff

    Like 1
  11. Jack Barley

    I have seen a lot worse. My brother bought a Nomad many years ago with about the same floor issues plus rotted rockers and welded in new metal and replaced the nose. The frames on these cars are very stout. I would bet this 4 door only has surface rust in the frame as we can see. The trunk is amazing. To the DIYer this would be a great project. The amount of original parts is amazing. I’m surprised someone doesn’t scoop this up for the parts alone. Great buy if it stays about this price.

    Like 4
  12. CarbobMember

    Pictures 19-23 are the kids of death for this old gal. Too bad it’s been left to rot away like this.

    Like 0
  13. CarbobMember

    Damn spellcheck. I meant “kiss”!

    Like 1
  14. Chuck Dickinson

    The interior is NOT a replacement. That’s exactly what the interior looked like in a 57 BA SEDAN. The rear seat still has the original cloth. The front seat cloth is so dark in the photo, it has probably been replaced. You may be comparing this interior to a 2 or 4 dr HARDTOP interior. Sedans and hardtops used the same cloth, but the seats were entirely different in design.

    Like 3
  15. George Birth

    If the price stays the same it might make a decent project. Most of these tri-5 chevy’s are real tough and could make a worth while project.

    Like 0
  16. ACZ

    Four door cars will always be parts cars.

    Like 1
  17. LittleJoesGarageMember

    I beg to differ with ACZ to on 4 doors being only parts cars.We had that same attitude over 30 years ago.FYI,there would not be any 4 door cars built obviously if some people didn’t want them.Secondly,in my opinion there are some pretty sharp 4 door cars.I just sold a pretty decent 59 Impala 4 door hardtop and I’ve always liked the roof line on the 59/60 GM
    cars as well as the 57 Sport Sedan.For years they were affordable and still have some pretty neat styles with some of them.Times have changed and we should be more open minded regarding this comparison.Not everyone can do the usual Convertible or Hardtop buy or restor only as pricing obviously is out of reach for the average hobbyists.Ive seen and worked on many 4 door types and and a LOT of bad Convertibles and Hardtops that many have overpaid or get buried in just because they have a Hardtop or Convertible.I’ve seen it all!

    Like 2
  18. Thomas HandzikMember

    Not seeing significant rust??? Am I missing something??

    Like 0
    • Wayne from Oz

      Yes, significant rust.

      Like 0
  19. Jack Barley

    Thomas,
    I agree. I’m not sure I would replace the entire floor pan. I would replace sheet metal where needed as well as some supports.

    Also 4 door cars make great classics. Our current young drivers prefer four door cars.

    Like 0
  20. Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. I’ve never seen a 4 door sedan version of the 57 Chevy Bel Air. I’ve seen plenty of 2 door coupe versions and a few convertibles, but for some reason very few if any 4 doors. Given its condition, I’d pay around the asking price, and depending on its driveability, I’d enjoy it. No serious modifications to its suspension system or engine, other than a few necessary upgrades.

    Like 0
    • bone

      Never seen a 4 door Bel Air ? Really ? Look at pics of any old school junkyard , they are full of tri 5 sedans and wagons, usually all with the front clips removed . Junkyards hold on to them, but the good parts were usually pirated for coupes and ragtops years ago, and the only parts left are either damaged or only fit 4 doors models.

      Like 1
      • Joe S.

        I’m sure I’ve told the story before.

        Back in High School (1973), I had gone shopping at a nearby department store. Lo and behold, a ’57 Bel Air post sedan parked close by after driving past me. Elderly woman was the sole occupant.

        Recalling it was black with a yellow roof and gray interior. The lady stated she and her husband had bought it new. Most interesting was the car appeared to be completely loaded, power windows, seats, factory a/c and the auto dimmer on the dash.

        To this day, I wonder what became of the car – maybe I don’t want to know.

        A girl I went to HS with and part of our social circle, bought a similar ’64 Bel Air post sedan, loaded in a similar fashion. Also from an elderly couple; 327 4bbl, tilt wheel and am/fm mono with the optional package tray speaker on top of everything else. White roof on a blue body.

        Super nice, practically like new. Car was destroyed within 2 years.

        Like 0
  21. ACZ

    Joe S., this is almost the perfect description of a Priest’s car. I worked for a Dealer, back in the 60s, that used to supply cars to a local church. They were loaded Bel Airs. They had all the options on the inside but had a plain Jane outside in a real subdued color outside.

    Like 0

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