Same Family 50 Years: 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air

This is an intriguing car, hopefully it can be saved. This is a 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air two-door sedan and it can be found on Collector Car Ads for $4,500! It’s located in Powhatan, Virginia and thanks to Dean for sending in this tip!

It’s unfortunate that there must not have been any way to push, pull, or to any other way drag this ’55 out of the garage for better photos. They’re all close-up, detail images and there aren’t even that many of those. But, from looking at most of the photos that are included, it looks fairly solid, other than the obvious gooped-up headlight areas and fenders in the first image. The Bel-Air was the highest trim level so there’s lots of nice chrome here, or it will be nice again once you polish it up.

Whoa, there is a better photo of the headlights and tops of the front fenders. Yeah, you’re going to want to replace those. This car has been in this family for over 50 years and the current seller, presumably not the original owner, just can’t get to the restoration so it’s finally being offered for sale. This would be such a fantastic car to have restored! The seller has 29,643 miles listed as the mileage. Thoughts?

Here’s more work for the next owner, the passenger door skin has met with some other unknown object, or objects, and is in need of repair. Thankfully, pretty much any and every part for these tri-five Chevys is available in the massive aftermarket.. market. This sure is a beautiful color combination! This is by far my favorite year of the tri-five Chevrolets in by far my favorite color. A hardtop / Sport Coupe would be great but I would not turn down a two-door post/sedan. Or, dare I even say it?.. a four-door!

There are no engine photos at all and not even a mention of what engine is in this car, other than it’s a six-cylinder. There are only two interior photos and both of them are fairly close-up images so it’s hard to assess the condition. I would assume that a full restoration inside is needed, too. The photo above appear to show a dash and steering wheel in really nice condition; just dirty and dusty. There is a back seat image that shows the condition of the seats and they’ll most likely all need to be reupholstered. This car has a three-on-the-tree shifter for the manual transmission and I’m assuming that the engine would be Chevy’s 236 cubic-inch “Blue-Flame” inline-six with either 123 or 136 hp. Can this one be saved? What are your thoughts on the restoration costs for this one based on what you see here?

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Comments

  1. Marty Member

    This is a good deal, if we can take it for granted that it has floors, a trunk floor, something left to weld rocker panels to, etc. Cool to see one that looks like it’s never been apart, and if all (or at least most of) the trim is present as the seller says, this will save the next owner lots of cash when he doesn’t have to buy new stuff.

    The turquoise and white is a great color combination. This body style and trim was basically ‘made’ for two-tone. It also looks great in orange and white, red and white, black and white, coral and charcoal, and so on. Great find.

  2. Rock On Member

    Even looks nice in primer grey as in Two Lane Black Top style.

  3. Fred W.

    First two door Tri Five I’ve seen for a long time in this price range that wasn’t pure junk.

  4. Joe Haska

    Its hard to tell, but it looks like the V-8 emblem is not under the taillight, which would mean it is a 6-cylinder. It still appears that it could easily be worth the asking price,

    • JW454

      The sale advertisement states it a six cylinder.

      It appears that it is something to work with.

  5. Andy Frobig

    If it had a Mitsubishi diesel under the hood, I’d say it looked like it came straight off the streets of Havana.

  6. Kevin Wernick

    Probably the regular 6, the Blue Smoke 6 had two carburetors

  7. Woodie Man

    Those are some ugly headlight eyebrows! Whoever tried to fix the rust really went to town. The seller stating that it would make a great “parts car” has me wondering what else lies beneath the surface………. like Jaws…….waiting to drag you under!

    Still if the block isnt frozen and the tranny munched and theres anything to work with……….hell yes! Too bad its on the wrong coast.

  8. paul

    what Am I missing I remember when, these finished were worth tons 6cyl or not email me you guys that know.. hoffmnpl@yahoo.com thanks

  9. Howard A Member

    I’ve told many stories here, but remember the one about the old guy across the street from my parents that had a double nickel Chevy? This is what they pulled out of his garage when he died, only it was in perfect shape. Remember when gas used to stain the sides of the car like that? And no auto-shutoff’s, so you’d fill it until it pissed all over, no biggie.( but in reality, it was a HUGE biggie) Great find, clearly a lot of miles, but there simply can’t be many of these left like this. Hello resto-mod.

  10. Dave Member

    The eyebrows on all ’55s rust out, and is one the first things to check out for sure. If you see one that has primer only in that area, well, there ya go.
    I take a floppy fridge magnet and let it do its thing…

  11. Mark S

    The headlight eye brows are not hard to repair just cut back to good metal shape a piece of 18 gauge and place it in from the back. Then just mig or tig it into place, gring it smooth and touch it up with some body filler and sand it out, your ready for primer and paint. When I did the fenders on my dodge I removed them so I could restore the inside of the fender as well. Not only did this repair save me money but it has kept the car closer to original, besides try to find new fenders for a fifty one dodge not happening. By the way it only took me about about 3 hours per fender to do the metal work.

  12. SFM5S

    Judging just from the photos, at $4500 it would seem like you could part this car out and come out ahead! This car would be a great candidate for a custom or restomod.

  13. olddavid

    This price is the new normal. I have learned and adjusted accordingly. There are no more ’56 2dr. (265 3spd.) posts, priced at $400 like the one I drove to fight fires the summer between freshman and soph college years. Who says you can’t teach us old dogs new tricks? Right, Howard? George?

  14. charlie Member

    ’55 – ’57’s were great cars, 6 was enough to cruise at 70 all day, brakes were marginal by today’s standards, but good enough, and they were sprung stiffly enough (unlike the contemporary Buicks which were like driving a mattress) that they handled well for their time. When a brake line went out, happened 3 times on my ’56, the parking brake with the pistol grip was actually usable as an “emergency’ brake, you could modulate your stop. Try that with your “electronic” brake control on your Audi.

  15. Rustytech Member

    This is one of those good news / bad news kinda cars. First the bad- there’s going to be lots of rust repairs needed, and it’s going to cost $$$$ to to bring this to even excellent driver condition. The good news is-it’s reasonably priced, every part needed is readily available either NOS or aftermarket, and there are tons of options for restoring it any way you chose. If I had the time to put into it, I’d be on my way to VA now.

  16. Brian G.

    I am doing a 1956 Bel Air that looked a lot better than this one, even up close. Virginia car, 2 owners since new.
    Floors, trunk, fenders and inner wheel wells all looked solid. Doors needed new skins.
    After separating the body from the frame, the frame was very good but a few soft spots became apparent on the floor and trunk. After sandblasting and some digging with various implements the true story became apparent. 60 years of improper repairs became evident.

    After 15 months of work we have replaced the floors, trunk, both rockers, inner and outer on both sides, 3 of the 4 doors, (skins were bad but interior structure was worse -beyond repair) one front fender, both rear wheel wells, front splash pan, one inner front fender, patched sections of the inner rear quarters, rear door doglegs, trunk lid and fabricated new “A” pillars because unlike all the previously mentioned parts the “A” pillars are not available. We also did a pile of fabrication on the firewall and around both front and rear windshields.

    The sludge in the botttom of the oil pan was like a pan of brownies and an inch and a half thick. Miraculously, it still ran quite well but the cylinder walls were scored and the bearings were in tough shape. Compression was within 10 psi on four cylinders but the other 2 were 20psi off both wet and dry. Rebuild time. Rebuilt the 3 speed manual tranny and carburetor too. And re cored the radiator.
    So far the bill is $78G and we still need glass, wiring and an interior. Not to mention wheels and tires.

    To be fair, that price includes some upgrades like power front disc brakes, full LED lighting, air conditioning, power windows and trunk, multiple redundant immobilizer systems and security monitoring and a few other electronic goodies. We have dressed her up with a faux Continental kit and fender skirts too.

    The point is that even with close inspection, and even after the car was disassembled the true state of decay was not readily apparent. So these old girls can fool you. When we are done though it will be essentially a new 2017 version of a 1956 Bel Air and will become my daily driver. At least in summer.

  17. newfieldscarnut

    This ’55 in my opinion is definitely an original 29,000 mile find … check out the condition of the steering wheel and pedals . Another very cool thing to note is the mini tach in the gauge cluster . The seller of this Bel Air is honest and has no reason to lie at his asking price . What a great find !!!

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