Factory Air: 1956 Chevrolet 210

1956 Chevrolet With AC

This 210 may not seem all that special. There’s a 265 V8 under the hood, but not a lot of options – no power brakes, and no power steering. The seller believes that it left the factory with air conditioning though. Many people had A/C added to their cars at the dealer so that was my first thought, but apparently the option is stamped on the trim tag. Take a closer look at the car here on eBay and let us know if you think this 210 actually came with factory air and if that really makes it something special.


  1. piper62j

    This is one sweet machine.. It would look supreme in all blue, or a two tone blue and off white split at the side moldings..

    When I was very, very young, my friends’ parents bought one in those colors.. I loved to sit in it and it had it’s own unique sound when his father would accelerate it on to main street.. Almost like a whiz/whine to me..

    This one needs a lot of love..

    Great, great find.. Priceless..

  2. Tom Member

    All be it that this car needs everything, it is a solid car to start with. The roof is a little dicey but can be dealt with. I am often honest, truthful and critical of some of the junk people are trying to “sell” on this site but this is the way you want to start a project. Nothing hidden. For the most part what you see is what you ARE getting. There will still be surprises to kick you in the nuts but that comes with every resto. Just don’t pay too much! Like that Camaro in the background!

  3. cyclemikey

    It actually is pretty special, and should definitely be restored to original specs. Finding an OE compressor will be a bit of a problem, but that aside, the car is eminently restorable and just screams to be left stock.

    Unfortunately, what likely will happen is that the new owner just won’t be able to resist throwing a 350 in there with disc brakes and power everything, and turning it into a virtual clone of the other 27 billion tri-five “resto-mods” that are already out there. And the uniqueness of this car will be lost to time. The final ironic insult will be the fitment of “Vintage Air”.


    • packrat

      Yes, cyclemikey is probably right about the rework, sadly: another retiree will get this one to show in a Camaro Orange respray and alloy wheels for his last few golden years cheek-to-jowl with the rest of the tarted-up clones from suburbia. In Hendersonville, TN, there’s a dealer lot right on the main drag that specializes in offering a rainbow of ~40 brightly painted resto-mods in turn-key condition at any given time. I suspect that many, if not most, are from someone moving into assisted living, and local estates being settled as another generation passes in review. If that’s your flavor, it might make sense to save some cash (and precious time) and buy one *pre-modernized* to do Shopping Mall car shows and weekend Sonic runs with the grandkids.

    • Rando

      As beautiful as the tri-five chevs are, you are correct. It will be “corrupted” to a forgettable street rod type car.

  4. Ed P

    The climate control has a ‘REFR’ setting between the heat and defrost controls. Plus there are two a/c type vents on the extreme left and right side of the dash. Also the crankshaft pulley has groves for 2 belts. The housing for the heater & a/c is in 3 parts and one looks like it has high pressure hoses like a/c would use. But, I don’t see a compressor. I would think a/c on any car like a Chevy,Ford,Plymouth would require a special order. As late as 1965, those dealers were not stocking cars with a/c, at least in the Maryland area.

  5. Roseland Pete

    I thought that the 210 was at the low end of the Bel Air food chain. Factory AC would indeed be rare.

  6. Marty Member

    The 150 was the lower trim level than the 210. But this car was made in the days before “option packages”, and I understand someone could go in to the dealer and order a car almost any way they wanted, with any crazy combination of available options, colors, and trim levels. If these cars could talk…

  7. Barney

    I’ve never seen a 56 with factory air but I know of an original, never molested 55 with the option. The AC compressor is mounted high on the right side and is absolutely huge. The AC box is right behind it and mounted on the outside of the fire wall. This makes it virtually impossible to change plugs.

  8. Rick

    this is the one I’d clear coat, not the snub nose White truck cab

  9. Jim

    I agree, factory AC is a rare option indeed. I remember scraping 60’s Fords with aftermarket AC and saving the complete unkits (comp, cond and under the dash unit). We sold alot of them well into the 80’s. I had a 73 Excalibur that came from the factory with that same Ford unit. I dont remember seeing any mid 50’s GM cars with factory AC except maybe a few Caddy’s.

  10. JW

    This seems like a sweet deal, the 56’s are my favorite of the tri-fives. It’s not as boxy as the 55 but smother lines than the 57.

  11. RoughDiamond

    An honest representation of an extremely rare old car from a by-gone era of automotive history. If GM had any sense they would buy and restore this ’56 to perfection and keep it in their archives.

  12. Mikie

    Are those fender mirrors original?

    • Ed P

      NO way

  13. Jason Houston

    Loose those tires, tacky mirrors and mickey-mouse grill and you’ve got a great starting project.

    • dave h

      Yup – don’t TIGHTEN them – “loose” them. Just be sure you don’t LOSE them in the process!

  14. RON

    Neat project. There were way more of these cars around than most realize especially in the Southern most states and as unreasonable as it sounds a.c. on convertibles. You have to live one or two summers there to understand this. . I remember quiet a number of family friends having Big 3 cars and station wagons with factory air. I remember a 56 chevy wagon 210 series with factory air.The air ducts looked much like these, they were round bezels that hung below the dash on each end. Then I remember some Belairs that had them come through the dash like this one. I see reasonably often 56 Ford Fairlanes and Crown Victorias with factory air. The ducts on these exit through the top of the dash with a floating directional register. Then there were the many other models with Chrysler and the independents that were trunk mounted and the clear plastic tubes through the package shelf. Probably the most unique were on the 56-57 Lincoln MKII’s where they exited through the headline at about center of the car. Another unique A.C. is on a car that still exited a few years back saw it in Hemminings for sale was the 1941 Packard Staff Car of General Geo. Montgomery

    • Ed P

      That makes sense Ron. As late as 1969, I met a guy from near the Great Lakes with a new ’69 Plymouth Fury without a/c. He said they did not need it there. By then, it was all but standard on all but economy cars in the Mid Atlantic area.

  15. Wayne Thomas

    See what you can do…actually what Art Morrison can do….to a 1956:


    Good starting project and different enough from the ubiquitous 1957 and much more common 1955.

  16. RoughDiamond

    I would just imagine that when this ’56 210 post went down the St. Louis assembly line with a build production order for a 265 V8 with a 3-speed manual transmission and factory equipped AC, the assembly line workers knew it was something unique. Just look at the door gaps on this ’56. Amazing!

  17. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen air conditioning on ANY mid-1950’s car exit through the dash like this. Wouldn’t they all have been below the dash. The bezels look like much later units than a Tri-Five GM item. Could be wrong. I agree that the 1956 with posts look much more balanced next to a similarly appointed 55 or 57. My favorite of those years.

  18. alabee

    I learned to drive on a black 150 3 speed 4 door. What’s with the grill?

  19. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    Yes, that is factory air, the vents hanging from the dash were dealer added air. I had a loaded 56 Bel Air 2dr ht I flipped in late 80s, power pack 4bbl dual exhaust power windows, power seat and padded dash, purple and white. It’s a resto mod in new Haven IN last I knew, would have been a great one to restore original, like this one.12 mins to go and it’s risen to $6400. The grill on this is factory, with every other horizontal cross bar removed to make an egg crate look, easy custom.

    • Ed P

      I don’t see any vents in the center of the dash. Were there any or did the a/c use the heater and defroster vents?

  20. Jim Bray

    Best example of a neat 5 6 7 with factory dashboard vents AC was a 57 150 4 door sedan we found back in the mid 1980’s. Had a power front seat too. 6 cyl 3 speed NO other options. Black with red interior. Parted it out. Sad.

  21. Mr. Bond

    Sold for $8026. Looks like a great project!

  22. Chris in Australia

    Factory A/C in 1956. Science fiction here in Aus. Or Europe.

  23. Travis Johnson

    Hi I’m the guy that sold the 56. Just to let everyone know the car was bought by a guy who builds trifives back to original in NC, and has for many years the way it sounds. No restomod here. Thanks to everyone who praised our car.

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