California Barn Find: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

From time to time, people will wonder if a reported barn find is really a “barn find”, i.e., a car that has been tucked away in a barn, garage or shed for many years. The layers and layers of dirt and grime that have been built up are usually a giveaway, as is its location before being extracted. This 1957 Chevy Bel Air 4-door hardtop looks to be the real deal. It appears to have been hiding in a country barn for many, many moons, but there is no indication of where the car actually is, but the license plate is from California. We also don’t know if the car is even available for sale. But it can be seen here on Muscle Car Zone. Thanks for the tip on this one, Larry D!

This old Bel Air is one of the famous Tri-Five Chevrolets that were built between 1955-57. Overall production for the three model runs was more than 4.5 million units, in 150/210/Bel Air trim. 1.56 million were built in 1957 alone, including this hardtop with four doors that would have been one of 142,500 assembled that year. Under all that dirt, it may still be in good condition, with what may have been two-tone paint at some point. The storyteller pops open the hood and reveals what appears to be a 265 cubic inch V8. We don’t get a peek at what the interior looks like after all this time.

If you get a moment, check out the video clip of the “discovery” of this car which has been posted to YouTube. Looks like a true barn find to me, having been long forgotten out in the barn by its owner. While two-doors seems to be the standard for reviving old cars, the ’57 Bel Air 4-door hardtop “sport sedan” should be a desirable automobile to anyone interested in these old Tri Fives,


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  1. Gary Rhodes

    283 ci, not 265. These four doors are worth restoring, unlike the four door sedans. Looks solid, clean it up and drive it everyday.

    Like 6
    • Vince H

      It is possible it is a 265. It was still used in 57. Being in a Bel Air I to would think it is a 283 but again could be a 265.

      Like 4
  2. Ignatius J. Reilly

    You suppose the answer to the question of why an owner would leave a classic car languishing in an old barn would be the same as the one to “why does a dog lick his balls”?

    Like 6
    • robert semrad

      Ignatius, I really doubt that when the owner put this car in the barn it was a “classic”… was just a used car that he no longer wanted. Maybe it was a G.I. who didn’t make it back from Viet Nam, or elsewhere and the parents just couldn’t sell it because of the memories of their son.

      Like 6
    • Freddy

      No. “I’ll restore it someday” vs. any number of gross out thoughts that just popped into my head.

      Like 1
  3. fordor

    thank goodness, for not another 8-foot-crawl-over-your-back monstrosity:)

    Like 1
  4. Wayne Chew

    So what’s the price of the car?

    Like 2
  5. James Sayre

    Definitely would consider this for the right price as a driver. I would not restore the fun out of it. The article says it is not listed for sale.

  6. Wayne from Oz

    Prettiest body style of all the 56 and 57 models. Looks like this one was parked because of mechanical issues. There’s an exhaust manifold gasket lying in front of the windscreen, and the brake booster/ master cylinder have been removed. Love the car and the spats.

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