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Car Next Door: 1961 Chevrolet Bel Air


This true garage find is being sold by the next-door-neighbor to it for the last 20 years – he bought it from the late owner’s estate. It’s been sitting in the garage since 1974. The owner has loaded a five-minute youtube video here giving more details and showing off the nice interior. Unfortunately the exterior isn’t quite as clean, with some rust in the rocker panels and around other areas. The motor is free but there’s been no attempt to start the car. With only 42,000 miles and the last oil change sticker showing one at 41,000 miles in 1973, it’s just waiting for someone to come along, replace the bias-ply tires and re-awaken this car. Yes, it’s a four-door. But, there’s no reserve in the eBay auction here, and bidding is currently at $2.25 (not a typo!). I’ll bet you could have it running pretty quickly, but then what? Do you think it’s worth a sympathetic restoration?


  1. Avatar photo Luke Fitzgerald

    See what happens? – not for sale – ever – and when it is (by default) it’s F$&@ed – stupid old git – happens(ed) all the time

    Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Luke Fitzgerald

    All I can say is that well preserved, unaltered cars we love are going or just about gone – to my mind we have to pay the market price for something that’s been loved. Or restored, if that’s your thing. The days of leaving notes on cars or spying the tail lights sticking out of a garage are over. Or just about. It’s just a time thing – everything is getting old – owners, cars, enthusiasts – and buying something that just needs a buff and a distributor cap is getting rare.

    Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Ed P

    The bidding is over $1200 with 8 days left. This will get out of hand. The rust that is showing must be hiding even more.

    Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Tom

    Is the an oil bath air cleaner?
    I have wondered why GM didn’t have a cross flow head on those old 6’s

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo 56chevyguy

    I love the styling to these early 60’s. But I believe this going to go too high for my blood and bank account!!

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo joeinthousandoaks

    ’61 has to be the end of the oil bath air cleaners right? I agree with Ed P. It will go too high and the rust issues are evident. I often day dream of buying up stuff like this and renting to the studios for shows like the Astronaut Wives. Of course the cost of keeping these cars is high and would cut into rental fees.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    Boy, does THIS car take me back. My grandfather bought a brand new 4 door, ’61 Bel Air, almost exactly like this, except a V-8. It was the car that replaced his ’48 Packard, that he wrecked in 1961. Same color and everything. Nowadays teal is a common color, but back then, I remember, it was the only car I saw with this color. This was the car I remember going to Marc’s Big Boy in. This one looks a rough around the edges, but looks like something an amateur could fix up and enjoy. Thanks, Jamie for the memories of my grandparents.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Kerry Glenn

    No, Tom – that is the standard-issue wire mesh air cleaner.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Wayne

    Looking at the video, this guy would be the king of understatement. He says it’s surface rust. The car has been bogged up before and a great hunk of filler has even fallen out from the LH fender above the headlight. I wonder what salt water swamp it was driven through 40+ years ago. Beauty might be skin deep, but rust goes all the way, from the inside out.

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo geomechs Member

    I rather like the color combination. I wouldn’t mind having a car like this in my collection any day. However the timing is off and the distance too great. I would still like to have one just like it; maybe somewhat less rust…

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo tommy nelson

    i have one for sale in prescott az. drive it home 6200 original miles needs interior and paint to be perfect.

    Like 1

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