Desert Driver: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-Door Sedan

In the late twentieth century, owning a ’57 Chevy amounted to a license to print money, and even today they singularly represent “The Fifties” on posters and T-shirts celebrating that golden American decade. The B pillar or “post” on this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door sedan renders it less desirable than the post-free Sport Coupe, but hey, you can’t go wrong with a ’57 Chevy. As a ’50s novice I thought perhaps there was no such thing as a ’57 Bel Air with a post but this eBay Buyer’s Guide explains that both the top Bel Air and mid-level 210 came in Sedan or Sport Coupe bodies. Thanks to Pat L. for spotting this quintessential American classic in Las Vegas, Nevada and listed here on Craigslist with a $9500 asking price. You may notice the mismatched front fenders that suggest a hard hit to the front end some years in the past.

All three “Tri-Five” Chevrolet model years (1955-1957) hold cult status, but the ’57’s larger fins and stainless rear quarter inserts render it King of the Tri-Fives. Gold-anodized trim (among other items) distinguished a Bel Air from the lower 210 model. The new owner could take this imperfect but largely unmolested Bel Air in one of several directions. I’d be tempted to sort out the safety items and drive it as-is, at least for a while, then decide later on a more complete restoration or custom build. Once you start replacing cosmetic items, you take away the car’s story. There might be hundreds of nearly perfect ’57 Chevies out there, but there are fewer and fewer that look like this.

An all-new dashboard for ’57 makes this a one-year combination. Some prefer the 1956 dash but the ’57 shows the more modern “Space Age” influence. The complete sales brochure at myclassicgarage.com describes these special cars in fabulous period sound bytes including “…whopping big brakes and stay-put cornering make the fun of going every bit equal to the fun of getting there!” Where do I sign, Mr. Salesman?”

For those not familiar with these cars, including myself, Chevy sprayed the firewall body color then attached the black inner fender liners, so the paint could be all original. Maybe an expert can decipher which of five available V8s propels this classic. Perhaps it’s the “Super Turbo Fire 283,” clearly named in a day and age before words like “fire” were considered potentially negative when describing an automobile. Though clearly not installed on this car, a buyer could have stepped up and ordered the latest technology on this Bel Air:   the Corvette’s fuel-injected V8. Before the Internet if this car turned up in your local newspaper classifieds it would be gone by noon. Today the market is more selective and muscle cars have come on strong. Where do you value this iconic two-door?

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Comments

  1. Rock On Member

    I would make it safe, throw a pair of glass packs on it and drive it as is until the snow flies!

    • Dan

      Agreed. Glass packs are the only way to go on this car!

    • Charles

      Would rather use steel pacs, smittys, thrush mufflers or cherry bombs!!! Louder!!!

  2. Tom

    The craigslist ad lists this as a Bel Air at the top, then to the right as a Bel Air 210. Pretty sure it can’t be both and it’s not a Bel Air. The seller either doesn’t know the difference or is promoting something he doesn’t have. Not a good sign.

    • Roger

      It’s definitely a 210 because of the Chevrolet script on the quarter panels plus the horn button clearly says Two Ten on it,doesn’t make or break it if you truly want one though.

      1
  3. Mountainwoodie

    I can remember when NOBODY wanted a stripper 150 or 210…..post sedans were the bottom of the barrel unless you were building a gasser……….the more things change………

  4. ruxvette

    Steering wheel calls it…”Two Ten”. Probably 265. Nice car and not a bad price.

  5. Alfie

    This is a 210, not a Bel Air.

  6. Murray S.

    They didn’t have a 265 in 1957. It would have been a 283. 210 post car.

    • Vince H

      @Murray S.

      Yes the 265 was still being used in 57. I agree with ruxvette on this probably being a 265.

      1
      • El Chinero

        Yes … 265s in 1957. Friend had one in a 2-door wagon (!).

        1
  7. Vince H

    Todd

    There was a 2dr. Bel Air Sedan. I had one a 283 with P/glide. It was unusual to see a Bel Air a 2dr. sedan

    1
  8. Tom

    Wasn’t too rare, they made over 124,000 Bel Air 2DR sedans -http://www.oldride.com/library/1957_chevrolet_bel_air.html

    1
    • Vince H

      Tom

      Did not say rare after 60 years it is unusual too see one.

    • Flounder 57

      Only 62,537 1957 belair sedans were made. You might want to check your numbers again

      • Tom

        Yes, that number with V8’s and an equal number with 6’s. I checked the number before I posted it but thanks for the free advice. See link above.

  9. Steve

    Reminds me of a 57 I had back in the early 80’s as a teenager. My dad and I bought it complete running driving (trans slipped) but rust bucket 2dr sedan, (copper with cream top). pulled the body off, rebuilt the front suspension, sandblasted and painted the frame myself, rebuilt the 283 and added a 4 barrel intake and carb (original look but numbers said it was off a ’59).Had the cast iron PG rebuilt This was back in the day before all of the reproduction sheetmetal was available. It needed quarters, floors including trunk. Possibly wheel housings. We searched for a “donor” and bought a 57 2dr hardtop (medium blue but not original paint. I never thought to look up the paint code) for $3k that someone had turned into a hotrod (badly). We planned to sit the hardtop body on the sedan frame but unfortunately my dad’s work situation (lack of, and when he was working, he was away alot and I wasn’t capable by myself yet.) dictated that they both be sold.We did a s few things to the hardtop and sold it for $5k and sat the body back on the sedan and got $2500 :( I wish I had them both now, but I guess we all have tales of “the one that got away”. My list includes a 62 Impala SS annivesary gold power windows and locks (!) AC padded dash bumper guards, 327 (missing) auto, needed floors interior and paint, 70 Nova 2 dr. cream with black interior 6 cyl 3 ott original paint I was second owner, one dent (pellet gun) ran and drove, 71 El Camino SS with non numbers matching LS5, 76 Toyota Celica GT with original paint and one rust hole about the size of the end of your little finger on the hatch.My wife can’t figure out whay I hoard cars now. (!) Nothing as cool as what I once had though. Can’t afford them. Now stuff like G body chevys (79 Malibu 2 dr. Ive had since 97, and a wagon bought last month, 70 Chevy C20Longhorn 400/400, 91 Olds Custom Cruiser wagon, 55 chevy first series pickup on an S10 chassis and a 55 first series Ive had since I was 13 y.o.(33 years).

    1
  10. Bellingham Fred

    This is a 210. The big give away is the chrome on top of the rear fins. Belairs have much longer chrome strips. The Belair would have an aluminum insert in the rear quarter panel with Belair script. This car has paint and Chevrolet script.

  11. Dallas

    All the above postings are correct that this is a 210 series car.

    The 150 series used modified 56 Chevy trim on the side with a very short piece of chrome trim on top of the fin.

    The 210 series used the Bel Air trim without the insert and a longer top trim on the fin.

    The BelAir used the 210 trim with the insert and full length chrome trim to the rear window on the spear.

    The Bel Air also used specific trim on the hoods and deck lids as well.

    Interiors got more refined trim at the trim levels.

  12. Huntley Hennessy

    Definitely a 210, not a Bel Air. 210’s did not have the anodized rear trim inserts and the script spells out Chevrolet not Bel Air. Also, the 210 had chrome V emblems, not gold anodized. Front fender hashmarks were Also gold anodized on Bel Air models. Bel Air models had stainless around side windows.

  13. Charles

    Overall, looks decent from the available pictures. However, you never know about the rust! Depends on how and where the car was stored. May just need some TLC, get it drivable and go!

  14. geezerglide85

    I once read that you could order any body style in any trim level (except conv.). The same article had a picture of what was supposed to be the rarest configuration a 150 4dr hardtop. I sure do wish that I had all of the ’55 to ’57 chevys that a passed up for $125.00 in seventies.

    • jw454

      Nomads were Bel Air only as well.

  15. Tim

    I’d get it roadworthy and just drive it. And of course get the seats redone. A pair of dual chamber welded body mufflers sound way better than glass packs. Glass packs belong on an old pulp wood truck.

  16. RicK

    At least it doesn’t have 2 more doors! Back in the early 70s nobody wanted anything but a ’57 2 w/ doors, and you could find really nice ’57 4 doors (and 4 door station wagons) that went for a fraction of the price of a ’57 2 door.

  17. Mike

    A bel air or 210 sport coup now were talking my language. About 5 big ones invested in a mouse with muncie 22. Heavy Hayes clutch. Single frame a must. 12 bolt leave tubs original. Disk breaks all around. Black, dark blue, or root beer exterior done in deep rubbed paint. Black interior with clear stock gauges after market sun or autometer tac. Car should run 11’s or 12’s. Do l have this 57? Nope! The rust bucket is looking good.

    • Luki

      Breaks?

  18. DweezilAZ

    A “post free” vehicle is a hardtop. No one ever marketed a “post” anything. A “post sedan” is just a sedan. Unless it has no B pillar, in which case it’s a hardtop.

    Sedan and hardtop are the operative words.

    Using the word “post” does not make the description of a sedan [or coupe] more precise. Or the user sound more informed. If it doesn’t have a B pillar, it’s a hardtop.

    Using the word “post” just muddies the water in discussing old cars, when in fact it’s really simple.

    The 57 Chevrolet brochure doesn’t describe anything as a “post”.

    • T Mel

      You’re on the right track, but the word hardtop is equally absent from the ’57 Chevy brochure. Everything that wasn’t a convertible had a “hard” top. I’m guessing that’s why Chevrolet didn’t use the term. The brochure nomenclature uses the following: “2 door Sedan”, “4 door Sedan”, “Sport Coupe”, and “Sport Sedan”. The word “sport” meant no B pillars, or no “posts” as most ppl refer to them. Here’s my 4 door Sedan:

  19. Keith Hall

    This looks just like my 1st car, a 210 sedan same color that i paid $15.00 for and pushed it home (blown engine). Took me 2 weeks to get the money, i was 12 years old in about 1966. Big Dreams, car never ran but i sold it later for $50.00

  20. Mike MacWhirter

    I have a 57 2 door sedan, 210 model. Have the original 283 Power Pack engine, with 3 on the tree, original also! I prefer the 2 door sedan over the 2 door hardtop for various reasons! I believe it’s a more solid car because of the post, and I think the ride is more quieter. I know it’s an optical illusion, but the sedan looks shorter, even though the chrome is the same on both models! Hardtop or sedan, both great cars!!! Just a matter of preference!

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