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Export Candidate? 1953 Chevrolet Two-Ten

I’m not sure why the seller of this 1953 Chevrolet Two-Ten describes it as a “pirate ship“. It’s not flying a Jolly Roger and the seller’s description doesn’t include an “Arrr Matey!”; just one of those things I guess. What is important, however, is that this Two-Ten is right from the era before V8 power took over at Chevrolet, so it, and its 1954 successor, are often given short-shrift. For that reason alone, it’s worth checking out. This Chevrolet two-door sedan is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is available, here on craigslist for $11,000.

The seller also refers to this Chevy as a Bel Air, it’s not, it’s the mid-grade Two-Ten trim level which was offered in two and four-door sedans, a two-door “Sports Coupe” (hardtop), and a convertible body style. There was a Two-Ten “Handyman” station wagon as well.

The body of this Chevy appears to be solid and straight but the finish with its satin sheen and placed primer looks posed to me – an attempt at that infamous “P” word perhaps? It is listed as a 64K mile example but there is no documentation to back up that claim, just an odometer reading. It is difficult to tell whether Bondo is showing through in places or it’s just where the paint has either worn away or been worn away, to reveal an underlayer. The seller states that this Chevy was parked in a garage for decades but the roof, with its blossoming surface rust, is indicative of a lot of outside time. The trim shows to be all there but I would rate the chrome as poor. There is no reference in the listing to rust or structural integrity.

Since this Two-Ten has a three-speed manual transmission, I’ll surmise that the engine is a 108HP, 235 CI, in-line six-cylinder motor (the automatic transmission’s “Blue-Flame” version carried a higher horsepower rating). The seller claims that it “runs great“; hopefully, he has an air cleaner for it somewhere.

The interior is an interesting site at first glance, especially with a blanket seat covering advertising a state that has been getting a lot of TV air time as of late. I’ll take that to mean that the seat upholstery is shot. It’s difficult to make out anything else inside though the radioless dash and instrument panel look original and complete in their minimalist way. The dash-mounted compass is certainly a nod to a bygone era. I’m not sure what the railroad lantern is for, possibly no interior lights?

The seller claims, “Asking price based on 2 previous offers received by European and Brazilian car exporters who happened to see the car on the road…” My thought is if one of them will pay his asking price, he should take it, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Awful big price for a lot of nothing…

    Like 8
  2. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    So, not one, but two car exporters spotted this car on the road, and assumedly followed the guy home to make an offer on the car? That’s never happened to me, but my cars don’t have that much patina.

    Also, this car appears to be the rare “breezeway” version. What’s up with that?

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Mountainwoodie

      This car is rare. Not many are sold with the “wind tunnel” option. Better jump on it! Some sellers are just plain nuts. Speaking of which just yesterday I saw a 4 door ‘54 being two wheel trailed behind a truck. It had the desirable burnt desert patina with that always desirable broken side glass option. But the patina!

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Phlathead Phil

      Hahaha, I thought the “Breezeway” was an actual model until I noticed E.T. had apparently absconded with the rear glass.

      No phoolin’ man.

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Steve Bush Member

    My parents had a green 1952 with the same drivetrain when I was a small child. If it checked out ok in person, it looks like it could be a solid basis for either a stock ride or nice restomod but at a way lower price than the ridiculous $11k asking. By the way, agree that the seller’s story about collectors offering him a ton of money seems like a ton of BS.

    Like 4
  4. Avatar photo Kenneth Carney

    It’s obvious he’s baiting you when you read his ad. 11K for this car? Hell no!
    Only worth maybe 5-8K tops. Do I want
    it? You bet I do. It’s got everything I like
    in a mid ’50s Chevy. Big, roomy, and easy to keep running too. Needs a radio
    to make me happy though. Bet if you
    waved 5K under his nose, it would be
    going home with you to your house.
    Would make a great auto portrait IMHO.

    Like 4
  5. Avatar photo wallyum

    If you hold your tongue and say “pirate ship”, it all makes sense. I think that joke goes back to third grade. I did it in front of a nun. She was unamused.

    Like 15
    • Avatar photo 67Firebird_Cvt Member

      Hi Bill

      Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Alexander W. Wiley

    And nobody has mentioned that it has no rear window.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo local_sheriff

      See Rex’ comment above…

      Like 3
  7. Avatar photo RJ

    After I took Driver’s Training in H.S in a ’58 Chevy with a Powerglide 6-cyl., a buddy took me out in his ’53 – same color and trim level this one – to teach me how to drive a stick. His quote (and he was a Chevy die-hard) “If you can shift this, you can drive anything” He also taught me how to un-jam the linkage when it hung up between 1st and 2nd.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo ken tilly UK Member

      @RJ. Why did they do that I wonder. All the British Fords that I drove, apart from my Father’s 1948 Ford V8 Pilot, jammed between first and second gear if you weren’t careful. Many is the time i had to get out under the bonnet to sort out the gear selector arms.

      Like 2
  8. Avatar photo Bob Member

    I like Wallyum’s observation. From my personal perspective; Nuns were never amused.

    Like 3
  9. Avatar photo Steve

    Being that the rear glass is missing. You can let the exporter have it.

    Like 1
  10. Avatar photo Malcolm Boyes

    I had the 4 door version of this car in much better shape. Mine came from near where this one is located with around 45,000 miles and I paid $475 for it . It was dubbed ” The Roach” because of its brown roof and kinda coffee cream body. The owner towed it with his motor home to New Orleans and I drove it from there back to Santa Monica ,Ca. I went up and down California and down to Baja, Mexico with surfboards loaded.Great car..only parted with it because I got a 56 Caddy Coupe De Ville and didnt have room for two big cars ( and a 356 A Porsche that I still have ). I traded it to the next owner for a kitchen remodel..think I got my $$ worth out of the faithful “Roach”? Hope she’s still cruising PCH. BTW..finding a back window for this car is going to be a labour of love!

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Eric_13cars Member

    This looks like it could be a candidate for a top chop to give it a lead sled look. $2500 would seem to be the right price for this dog. No reason to restore. Better as a resto-mod. 2 offers at $11K+ and he didn’t take them…Ma told me better stories at bedtime.

    Like 7
  12. Avatar photo Steven Dempsey

    My very 1st car was a 53 Chevy two door post when I was 13. I paid a whole $15.00 for it and it looked better than this one. It ran and drove well. Of course that was 53 years ago…

    Like 2
  13. Avatar photo Phlathead Phil

    Arrgh, Matie, methinks ye needs to remove said chrome trim to get at the rust issues.

    Rust, having never slept a day in its life, nor, corrosion it’s twin ever gone to bed, are more than likely lurking silently in those prone areas.

    I found some on my ‘53 Vicky. It’s there I almost guarantee it. Grind, sand and prep it out properly is my opinion.

    Then, seal out the moisture & water with the right coatings. Put new, same or used trim back in it’s place AFTER final paint cure.

    My folks had one exactly like this one.

    Same color scheme too.

    Both the ‘53 Chevy & the ‘53 Ford are amazingly similar in style and design.

    Look at both of them and you can just imagine how the next couple of production years morphed themselves into both designs, IMHO of course.

    Nice car. Wouldn’t pay that for it unless it was properly painted and upholstered.

    Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Pops bought one brand new in ’53. Black, gray interior. It was probably a one ten as he was always quite cheap.
    Got pictures of my Mom holding me as a 9 month old next to the car.
    Fond memories of that car. I guess he kept it until 1960 or ’61, then it was a string of $100 used cars until he bought his second new car in 1970, a Checker Marathon. Again, in black, but Mom insisted on a blue interior

    Like 1
  15. Avatar photo Madlad

    Had a ’53 I found parked at a local garage for a few month. the engine was blown, I paid $35 and towed it home. Spent another $35 to fix the motor. Someone questioned the Bel Air, mine WAS a Bel Air convertible red with red & white pleated STOCK interior. Love to have it back. I put a ’56 head on with trip one barrels on a manifold I built. and a floor shift. Locked the hood so no one could see, because i talked about dropping the V8 from my junk ’55 Buick in there. It ran like a scared rabbit.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Madlad

      This was back in ’58, ’59

      Like 0
  16. Avatar photo Karen Bryan

    Oh my heavens! This is a near-relative of my Grandpa’s car (his was a 4-door, though). Same colors! Same 3-on-the tree. Same dash (though Grandpa’s had a radio). Many memories.

    Like 0
  17. Avatar photo deak E Stevens

    Export it because you’ll never get 11 for it here,in that condition it’s not worth more than 4 and thats before seeing it in person.

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo Rodney - GSM

    “Brazilian Car Exporters”?
    Yeah right. I was just saying the other day,
    “To get a fair price for you have to have your car appraised by a certified (?) Brazilian Car Exporter. The Gold Standard…

    Like 5
  19. Avatar photo George Cassidy

    Price seems high for a ratty 210. I think you’re wrong about there being a convertible in this series.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jim ODonnell Staff

      From the ’53 Chevrolet sales brochure.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo madladdj

      There was a conv. , I had one but they were a Bel Air model.

      Like 0
  20. Avatar photo Thomas Bakey

    It was also a New York car so I would be looking further into it. Look at the stickers in the windshield.

    Like 0
  21. Avatar photo Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Jim O Donnell set you all straight. There was a 210 convertible. In the movie, “Pleasantville” they show a yellow 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible.

    Like 0
  22. Avatar photo Jalopy

    My 1st car was a 1953 210 2 door green on green. I paid $20.00 for it in 1963. Looks like I shoulda stored it! Funny coincidence, I had a spare rear glass in case it got broke that I picked up from an abandoned one.

    Like 0

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