Bubble Top Project: 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air

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The design of Chevrolet’s full-size cars for 1959-62 used “bubble top” styling with its 2-door hardtops (though some will say that was really only in ‘61-62). That meant a generous amount of glass was used in the roof with a minimal amount of sheet metal. This applied to both Bel Airs and Impalas – except in 1962. That year, the Impala came with a formal notchback roof whereas the Bel Air still sported the bubble top. This ’62 Bel Air is described as a barn find that needs restoring, but unlike what you might expect, an inline-6 lies under the hood. Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, this rare car is available here on craigslist for $29,000.

Chevrolet wasn’t the only GM manufacturer to offer bubble top styling as the B-body platform was also employed by Pontiac, Buick, and Oldsmobile – but not Cadillac (the C-body applied there). The shift to tone-town the somewhat over-styled GM products of 1959 and 1960 created a more conservative approach in 1961 and 1962 – which makes the latter cars more popular with collectors today. And the Bel Air 2-door hardtop is especially in demand because the Impala did not share the bubble top that season.

According to the seller’s documentation and research of this Bel Air, it was one of just 2,045 built in 1962 and was first sold by a dealer in Canada. The white over black paint is said to be original, but I’m surprised that the trunk is painted white while the rest of the lower body of the car is black. There is rust at least in the driver’s side rear quarter panel which will need replacing, and there is likely rust in other key places as well.

Most of the photos carry a “restorevolver” watermark and we don’t know why that’s significant. Resto-Revolver can be found online as a Canadian manufacturer of automotive rotisserie systems and products. The photos show the car with different sets of rear wheels, one with wide slicks that seem unusual as this car was built with a 235 cubic inch inline-6 which is still present and said to be numbers-matching. It also has a “3-on-the-tree” manual transmission. Do you concur with the seller this can be a six-figure car after an extensive restoration, even with the six-banger rather than a 348 or 409 V8?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Stan

    These are cool cars. Is a 409 w 4 on the floor available? 🏁

    Like 5
    • T. MannMember

      Russ is the only person who has not seen a1959 or 1960 Bubble top.

      Like 19
      • T. MannMember

        1959 Bubble top Impala

        Like 17
      • CCFisher

        I’m sure Russ has seen a ’59 or ’60 Chevrolet 2-door hardtop. The question is whether or not they are considered “bubble top” cars. Some say yes, some say no.

        Like 3
      • Camaro guy

        In 59&60 they weren’t referred to as bubble tops that term didn’t start until the 61 model some magazine writer coined the term and it stuck from then on

        Like 1
  2. geezerglide 85

    Russ, I don’t think the trunk (inside) is white but looks more like GM trunk paint, that kind of splattered stuff you get with ant color body. Really a unique body style. I heard once that Chevy had some left over roof stampings from the ’61’s and decided to use them up that’s why it was only available on the Belair? Who knew 60 years later it would be such a sought after car. In ’76 I had an ugly brown ’62 Belair 4 door I paid 50 bucks for. It was almost embarrassing to be seen in it. Now I have 20 year old brown Impala and nobody bats an eye or at least I don’t care if they do

    Like 6
  3. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    I am surprised no one made a comment saying ” Drop a LS in it”….Bubble tops are cool cars. That is a early GM I liked. Since it’s 3 on the tree. Make it a 4 on the floor. And get a regular steering column. Engine for me could only be 409 2-4bbl with headers . Install a 12 bolt rear with 3:73 posi. That Bel Air will fly!!! Good luck to the next owner…🐻🇺🇸

    Like 4
    • Jon

      Drop an LS in it. There I said.

      Like 1
  4. Terrry

    Leave the thing as it is. The world is too full of small block and big block engines stuffed in ’62’s. Just because it has a bubble top doesn’t mean it needs an engine transplant.

    Like 0
  5. Mark

    Just one aging man’s opinion…
    Although the results have been proven to be quite impressive, the LS swap tire smoking craze is becoming a bit boring.
    Too bad everyone won’t ever get the chance to drive a 6 cyl with a 3 on the tree. Make this one safe/roadworthy and drive it!

    Like 1
  6. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    I almost had one of these, all black 6 cylinder for $750, and I only had $500, I knew they were rare then, oh for the good old days. I ended up with a 64 El Camino, 283 and rusty wheel wells.

    Like 3
    • ACZ

      Nothing wrong with a $500 Elky!

      Like 2
  7. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    I almost had one of these, all black 6 cylinder for $750, and I only had $500, I knew they were rare then, oh for the good old days. I ended up with a 64 El Camino, 283 and rusty wheel wells. But I do have a bubbletop, it’s a keeper.

    Like 6
  8. Michael Smith

    At 16, in 1969 my second car was a beige ‘62 Impala. It was a V8, 2 bbl with 3 on the tree. 283 or 327? It wasn’t particularly fast, but it would have been quicker with a decent floor shifter, the 3-speed it came with was so slow to engage. It was quick to 30 or so in first gear.

    Like 2
    • Mark

      In 1983, I saw a 1962 409 Bubble Top Bel Air for sale at a swap meet in NJ; price was $8995.00. White, 4-speed, blue interior. At 20 years old, that was more than I made in a year so I passed on it. My father thought it was a fair price – he would have lent me cash to buy it but I said no.
      Dad was smarter than me.

      Like 4
  9. Randy

    Bubble top only refers to 62 Bel Air hardtops. 61’s were simply hardtops. All other 62 hardtops had the new for 62 simulated convertible top styling. In 62, Chevy had the task of using leftover 61 hardtop sheet metal, hence the limited number of 62 bubble tops. These 62 Bel Air bubble tops were not available the entire model year. When the leftover sheet metal was used up, Bel Air hardtop production ended. These were the last hardtops Chevrolet offered in anything less than an Impala.

    Like 1
    • Camaro guy

      👍 finally someone got it right

      Like 0
    • MathieuB

      That’s true until 1970 when GM Canada bring back the Bel Air Hardtop!

      Like 0
  10. ACZ

    Needs a W motor!

    Like 1
  11. David R

    My first car was a 61 Impala Bubbletop, very nice car with the 348 and T-glide trans. These cars were a styling hit from Chevrolet, drivability for a daily driver not so much, lots of mechanical problems for a 50k mile original car, still a cool first car though.

    Like 0
    • Randy

      I thought 61 was a great looking hardtop. Loved Pontiac hardtops that year, my favorite big Pontiac. All the big GM cars looked great.

      Like 0
  12. Chris Cornetto

    29k…wow, but times have changed. Sadly long ago in the early 80s I worked in a wrecking yard and things would pass through. A red on red version of this came in one day. A tired northeast car that had long past its time. Whoever bought this one new checked a few boxes, especially for a Belair as the car had a 327, aluminum power glide which came with the 327s and larger engines. The car had factory ac, power windows, tinted glass and a wealth of other gizmos. At that moment then just and old tired parts car. I wanted to keep it but it needed everything body. The only unrusted part was the roof, plus I already had a fully optioned Impala hardtop that had wandered in from rust free land. I still remember that car. I also remember thinking as it went through the press that this would haunt me and it has. I still have my hardtop but I regret not putting that rusty one next to it as my 62 has more or sat hidden, forgotten as I moved to other cooler,(to me) cars for almost 4 decades now. Someone did that with this basic fella and now it’s payday. Likely another 409 4 speed. I there are more of those now than then.

    Like 0
  13. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    The term Bubbletop has come to refer to any GM hardtop with that back window in my experience.

    Like 3
    • Truth


      Many years of bubble tops

      Like 4
  14. Alvin Melson

    The only thing I will say about the seats is they are from an Impala! They are not BelAir seats! Just saying!

    Like 0
  15. T. MannMember

    I had a 1960 Bubble-Top Impala

    You had a 1960 hard-top Impala,

    I like mine better

    Like 2

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