Duntov Power: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

1957-chevrolet-bel-air

I know it has a bit of rust along the rockers, but boy does this ’57 have a cool look to it! I just love this Tropical Turquoise and ivory color combo, especially when it has some patina to it. The seller claims that this Bel Air is highly original, including the paint, and that it’s a real Duntov 283 car! It’s been parked since 1985 and hasn’t run since, so it’s hard to say what issues it might have. They do note that it has rust in the trunk, but the rest of the floors look solid! This is one car that I would want to preserve rather than fully restore. You can find this Chevy here on eBay in Barnesville, Minnesota with bidding currently to $11k.

1957-chevrolet-bel-air-interior

It’s rare to find a ’57 that hasn’t either been modified or restored at some point in it’s life. These cars have always been popular, especially ones in this color scheme. I would be sure to do some investigating just to be sure it really is original, as people were already restoring them by the time this one was parked.

1957-chevrolet-bel-air-283

This was a well optioned car, with the two tone paint, the Turboglide with overdrive and the dual 4 barrel carbs. Yes I said dual carbs! If you don’t know much about the Bel Airs or haven’t ever heard of the Duntov engines, these were special high performance engines that featured “Duntov” high lift cam and solid lifters! The added air and fuel flow really brought the 283 to life and was rated at a respectable 270 horsepower. That’s a lot of power for one of these classics, but sadly this car’s original engine is missing and has been replaced by a plain Jane 283. It’s sad, but not uncommon for these engines to be missing.

1957-chevrolet-bel-air-project

It’s really too bad the original Duntov engine is missing, but the seller has all the paperwork to prove it really did leave the factory with one. Finding the parts to build one could be tricky, but not impossible. I’d be alright with the regular 283 for daily driving, but having it original sure would add value to it. I just wonder what happened to the original, did it blow up or was it swapped into a race car? We may never know.

Like This? Get Our Daily Email

Comments

  1. Terry J

    I sure miss that time long ago when many of my friends had shoe box Chevys. They were everywhere at decent used car prices. That Turbo Glide tranny was interesting. It was smooth shifting and had a “Grade Retard” for going down long hills to save brakes. It was heavy and complex though and not real popular. There was some differences so it wasn’t just a case of jerking the TG out and tossing in a Powerglide , but I can’t remember what the details were. The TG was not an Overdrive tranny though. That was a common misconception because when they first came out in 1957 as an option, the shift lever said “HR” , but that didn’t mean High Range, but Hill Retard. They changed it to “GR” . :-) Terry J

  2. Tony S

    Had this flexible record (came in Corvette News) a long time ago. Great recording of ZAD.
    https://youtu.be/zOyHO4IycmE

  3. RON

    Glad you cleared that up on the Turboglide not being overdrive Terry. I was kinda freakin on that one. My Mom bought a 57 with 16000 miles in 59 when the new models came out and the 57 was traded in. it came with the 283 powerpak, 4 barrel and dual exhaust from the factory and the turboglide. What a car. Wish I had it today. The Turboglide I guess was what saved it from me, because with the GR there was no dragging from dead stop. It was fast once rolling but not a drag car with the single speed forward even with the powerpak.. I got into deep trouble with her when it got to the point that she only drove it about 1 mile to work and same back and in 3-6 months the duals would rot out and require new mufflers because the water never got dried out and they literally rusted out. I convinced her if I put glass paks on it no holes would rust out in 3-6 months. Guess you know the rest of the story, 4 months after the glass paks went on and every Fri-Sat. night my heating them up really good it was really in great form.. Not only did I drive it anymore but the duals came off and a single stock muffler went on!! What a shame. Was fun while it lasted!! Just never fool with Mama!! LOL She traded it with 64000 miles in the 70’s for a Plymouth Fury. What a crying shame

    Like 1
  4. ccrvtt

    Great story, RON. Paints a vivid picture to go with the car. I hate to see these already on a trailer because it shouts, “Flipper!” to me. Very cool find though.

  5. Marc Lawrence

    My pal picked up a a fairly clean one a few years back – Told me he had over $50k in his resto – It looked like it but this looks more like one of those “boat holes” than anything to me.

  6. Steve

    No such thing as a “turboglide”. This car originally had a three speed manual trans with overdrive. They could also be ordered with a
    Two speed automatic powerglide transmission.

  7. Speedy D

    Seems there was indeed a turbo glide transmission from 1957 – 61 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turboglide

    • Rocco

      Thanks Speedy D,

      VERY interesting link. I didn’t know they were 3-speeds, and that they were produced that far back. I saw one at a trans parts warehouse once, but just thought it was a fancy 2-speed aluminum glide.

  8. Terry J

    Now Steve, you gotta be younger than me. Sure there was a GM Turbo Glide. It was similar to the Buick Dynaflow, and was an option in the Chevrolet V8 cars from 1957 to 1961. I’ve not personally known a Turbo Glide in a ’57, but I rode in many 1958s, 1959s & 1960 Chevys that had that tranny. Dennis blew out his Mom’s on the family ’58 one night by playing with the Grade Retard at high speeds just for fun. Didn’t turn out to be so much fun dealing with his folks though. It was the most common tranny I saw in the 348 powered cars. Now 3 speed sticks with OD? Real common in the shoe boxes behind 6s and 265/283s. Had a few myself. In this car, I don’t see a third pedal anywhere. :-) Terry J

  9. ACZ

    TurboGlide was a shiftless wonder. You’d wonder how long it would last. 57 was the first year for the trans. It was so unreliable that there were two kits available as over-the-counter replacements at the dealer. One was a complete Powerglide conversion, the other was a complete 3 speed manual conversion with clutch, pedal, linkage and all the parts.

  10. ruxvette

    Really? The “glove compartment doc” say it was a turbo dual 4bbl car. Look at the bottom of the main dash cluster…anything in there? Somebody replaced the turbo with a three speed and added the original type overdrive selector? Maybe. Original dual 4 car? Maybe, but it’s a wrong motored 2bbl clunker motor now.
    Just say no.

  11. Marty Parker

    The 270 HP dual quad and the 283 HP fuel injection engines came equipped with a close ratio (2.20 low) transmission.

  12. Rocco

    The Turboglide was probably replaced at the dealer with the 3-speed with (OD) after the glide took a dump, like ACZ mentioned.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.