Blank Canvas: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

There’s no escaping the fact that restoring this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible is going to be a major undertaking. However, it is a classic that is structurally sound, and it represents a blank canvas for its next owner. It has generated some decent levels of interest since it hit the market. The Bel Air is located in Rutherford, New Jersey, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. The reserve has been met now that the bidding has reached $10,000.

A previous owner commenced the restoration process on the Bel Air, but it appears that he only progressed as far as dismantling the vehicle to its current state. It has been sitting in this garage for the past 20-years. There is some work for the buyer to tackle if it is to grace our roads once again. It rolled off the production line finished in Canyon Coral, although you wouldn’t know that today. As you can see in this photo, there is some rust to be addressed. As well as the trunk pan, the Chevy will require all new floors, along with inner and outer rockers, and rear quarter panels. The good news is that the frame seems to be sound, and only wears a coating of surface corrosion. There are some trim pieces included with the car, but plenty of these will require restoration. The owner says that there are some parts for the convertible top present, as well as some of the glass. The windshield will need to be replaced, along with a couple of pieces of the side glass.

You have to close your eyes and use your imagination when it comes to the interior trim because there isn’t a lot left today. There are no seats, so replacements will need to be sourced. The original combination was Ivory and Silver, which must have looked stunning. With the vehicle being a blank canvas, that will allow the buyer to trim the interior to their personal taste if they like. If originality is the ultimate goal, then a trim kit can be found for approximately $2,200. This will provide all of the trim pieces in the correct colors and patterns, and should have things looking great once again. The dash will also require restoration, although it does appear as though it is complete.

There is some bad news with the Bel Air because it is a roller. The engine and transmission are long gone. However, I did spot a radiator, a crankshaft, and some gaskets with the car. It isn’t clear what originally occupied the engine bay, but we do know that whatever engine was there was hooked to a manual transmission. Once again, this is an aspect of the car that is open to that personal touch. It would be possible to determine the original drivetrain configuration and then work towards sourcing the correct components. The buyer might also choose to slot in something more potent or even tackle this as a restomod project. If you are seriously considering this car, then the world is your oyster.

The bidding on this ’57 Bel Air Convertible has already reached $10,000, and it’s easy to see why. The Bel Air Convertible is one of the most desirable classics that you will find in the market today, but this isn’t a recent phenomenon. Their performance in the marketplace has been one of the most consistent for decades now. This is a trend that doesn’t appear to be set to change any time soon. If this car was fully restored and was a numbers-matching classic, then it could easily command a six-figure value. Even a faithful restoration with period-correct components could realize a price of $60,000 or more. A custom or restomod could still threaten these values, and with the ready availability of parts, it would be a tempting path to follow. If I’m honest, I don’t actually care what approach the next owner follows, as long as they return this classic to the road. Twenty years is too long for this beauty to have been left sitting. It deserves a second chance at life.

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  1. bone

    Makes you wonder where this thing was sitting before it ended up in the garage -this baby is rough !

    Like 5
  2. Maestro1 Member

    It is not easy to see why the bidding has reached $10,000.00. It’s absurd. You would be better off buying something that won’t take a deep wallet and years of time.

    Like 17
  3. Arby

    Ebay “bids” are not to be taken seriously.

    Like 9
  4. Classic Steel

    All they are saying is give tri five five fins chance 😂
    💰 💵

    Like 3
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    And where was this beauty when New Jersey got flooded?

    Like 2
    • karl

      Underwater !

      Like 5
  6. Mark

    A word to the wise…a blank canvas atop a rotten easel does not a work of art make.

    Like 7
    • Phlathead Phil

      Mark, I love the quote!

      It speaks volumns.

      Slapping up some OSB up to make a cluttered garage look like a garage seems a wee bit to weird? What are they hiding?

  7. Andy

    I think the author relied on autocorect when he wrote this article. It should have read “Bleak Canvas”.

    Like 4
    • 57Chevy

      It should have read: Take it to the Classic Car Bone Yard! Anyone who pays 10 Grand for this Bucket ‘o Rust, needs to see his Shrink!!!!!!!!

      Like 9
  8. oilngas

    Most of that will buff out.

    Just go slow and don’t burn through.

    Like 2
  9. Farhvergnugen

    Structurally sound??

    As in, “When hit with a hammer, the structure makes a sound”?

    Like 7
  10. Karl

    All I see is a tremendous amount of work, time and expenses! Although I do have limited imagination.

  11. DuesenbergDino

    Real Deal Steel sell a 57’ convertible skeleton for $12,000. Add your frame and other components and be light years ahead. Just not sure why people are determined to take on these basket cases. Even when dipped and taken to bare metal you still have a 60+ year old body.

    Like 1
    • bone

      A 60 year old body would be fine, if there was a body left

      Like 1
  12. 67Restomod

    This has to be written by Adam for responses. I’m one of those People who hate to see Classics taken to the Crusher. But in this case, there is not enough left of this car to Part Out.

    Like 2
  13. skibum2

    10k??…. hahahahahahaha

    Like 3
  14. Mountainwoodie

    In a funy way the absurdity of the listing is a window into our car souls. We need to seek redemption……and fast!

  15. Mountainwoodie

    “funny” too

  16. Jt Member

    Sold for $10,100.00

    Like 2
    • PatrickM

      Right. And, as far as I’m concerned, there was one too many zeros and one too many ones in the price. I would not have bid more than $1,000.00 for this scrap heap. Yet, I’ve always loved the tri-fives. Had a ’57 210 for a couple years when I was in my early 20’s.

      Like 1
  17. Paul R.

    As my wife said, after seeing the “car” and the reserve being met, “Men are strange when it comes to cars”

    Like 4
  18. Pat Caldwell

    Who would pay $10,000 for this piece of junk? I would suspect Fantum bidding on this car

    • Phlathead Phil

      Phantom is the correct spelling, unless maybe you’re making a point.

      But, you’re right about the phoolish price!

  19. Dave Mathers

    ‘a blank canvas’? I would suggest that should be a ‘blank cheque’!!

    Like 1
  20. Peter

    this is the purchase of an original ‘57 Chevy vin.
    Buy this wreck; throw away the body; install replica body. Install Original Vin

    Now that ”might” be sold as an “original, pristine, original car”

    AND That would be cheaper than restoring this mess

    Figures don’t lie, but liars figure

    Like 2
    • Bob Mck Member

      I had not thought of that, but I bet you are right.

  21. Claudio

    I have been to many car auctions and have seen first hand who and why these piles of rust are bought !
    Papers , papers and papers,
    Title, titleand title
    The stolen ones are put back on the road within a few days and the miney FLOWS

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