Fuelie 1957 Chevy Bel Air Barn Find

1957 Chevy Bel Air Fuelie

For many Tri-Five fans, the fuel injected Bel Air is the holy grail of finds! Just like the Corvette’s fuel injection system, the Bel Air’s system was difficult to keep properly tuned, so many had it removed. When it worked though, it worked great! The base fuel injected 283 produced 250 horsepower, while the top level version cranked out an impressive 283 horses. No word is given which version this one has, but I would guess it’s the 250 horse engine. It’s been parked for 35 years and is believed to have original paint. Whether it is or not, this is a desirable Bel Air and you can find it here on eBay in Santa Maria, California with a current bid of $16k.

1957 Chevy Bel Air Fuelie Engine

Looking at this engine, I can see why people were intimidated by the fuel injection system. Compared to a modern car, it looks pretty simple, but when you compare it to a carb it looks like a mess of hoses and wires. Between the internet and modern tuning equipment, it isn’t nearly as difficult to get these systems set right, so there’s no need to be scared of it. I really wish the seller would have provided the engine and trim tag numbers. They state that the engine was replaced in ’72 at a GM dealership, so it will be interesting to see what the specs of this block will be and whether the car was originally fuel injected.

1957 Chevy Bel Air Fuelie Interior

The little bit of the interior we can see in their photos looks pretty good. They claim the seats are nice, but that the headliner needs to be replaced. Given that this is a ’57 Chevy, I wouldn’t be too worried about finding interior parts. These cars have amazing parts support, with only a few trim pieces being difficult to find.

1957 Chevy Bel Air

Given the value of these cars and the difficulties of proving it’s an original fuelie, I would want to inspect this one in person before bidding. I doubt someone added fuel injection to it later in life, but you never know. One thing is for sure, a fuel injected Bel Air with a 4 speed Muncie sure would be fun! So would you keep the fuel injection system or switch it to carbs?

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Comments

  1. Steve

    “Handwritten notes with details of the repairs”…yet a photo of the notes isnt included…

    The rest of the ad Sounds a little far fetched. Miilions in silver bars in the trunk…

  2. Bill

    These don’t generally do too much for me, but this one is really cool! I’d be half tempted to get it running with the mechanicals sorted out and leave the body as it is.

  3. Steve

    As far as being an original fuelie car or not, i would be willing to bet that there are more 57 fuelies now than were built in 1957, just like more 69 z28s now than in 69. I have had two 57’s in the past. Im not aware of any numbers in the vin or anything to tell if it was a fuelie or not. Vin tells six or eight cylinder, nothing else as far as engine. Casting numbers would be the only tell, but easily cloned. I had Both of mine at the same time when i was 16/17, nearly 30 yrs ago. First was a rustbucket 2 dr sedan with numbers matching 283 2 barrel pg. second was a 2 dr. Hardptop purchased for $2k but was a nightmare of patched together junk with a small block 400. Sold them both for $5k back then. Did ok for the time but wish i still had them…

  4. 68 custom

    its looks like a solid body but I would check carefully before assuming the cars a factory fuelie. and the 4 speed is wrong (though nice) I think the 250 horse could be had with a Glide or a 3 on the tree and the 283 horse only with the 3 on the tree.

    • brian crowe

      for a 60 year old car that body looks great. Even the under side looks solid. It would be fun to clean that up and what you could do to the paint.

  5. Matt

    That is a later fuel injection unit off a corvette.
    Highly unlikely that is an original fuelie car. The valve covers are wrong too.

  6. jeff6599

    Come on men! If it came from the factory with dual exhaust, the pass. side gas line ( V8 RH; 6 cyl LH) was on the outside of the frame rail to avoid heat to the line from the exhaust. There was no Muncie 4 speed back, only BW T10s. None ever came in a ’57 car except a few dealer installed. Corvettes only! No Chevrolet literature exists calling for one either installed or as an option in a car.An original 1957 FI unit is worth $6k to $12k

    Like 1
  7. Mike

    Interesting it looks like it has new body bushings.

    I’d get it running and safe and drive it as is.

  8. Jon

    here’s another possible clue that it is not what they claim.. I do not see the fuel injection emblems on the front fenders, or even any evidence of them, which you would see holes in the fenders just ahead of the doors.

    Like 1
    • Moxman

      Good call, Jon. That was the first thing I thought of when I looked at this listing.

  9. cj32769

    It looks like it has the parking brick option.

  10. Dan

    Front end doesn’t match the rest of the car…probably hit in the front and got a new front end at some point, may explain no fuelie emblems on the fenders. I would have to expect this in person before I bid, but California is a long ways from east Tennessee..

  11. Rando

    all front sheet meatal doesn’t match the rest, so fenders may have come off a non-FI car? I dunno – looks a little suspect to me as well

  12. Bingo

    Black widow this beast!!

    • brian crowe

      was there ever a black widow featured here?

      • Jon H

        In the time that I’ve been a member here, I don’t recall seeing one profiled.

  13. Al8apex

    Black Widows were 150’s, not Bel Airs

    • 68 custom

      plus 6 lug truck wheels/axles.

      Like 1
  14. Rick

    Like the burn mark in the center of the hood that looks suspiciously like the result of a carburetor fire . . .

  15. ron h

    It doesnr really matter how it came from the factory, it will never again have the original motor! Bid accordingly.

  16. Alan Brase

    That’s a FI unit off a 60 or 61 with 290 or 315 hp. The 250 hp unit and all earlier had fins on top, 1962 units had an actual butterfly choke on the air meter instead of the cold enrichment device shown here.
    So, total BS that it was original.
    NOTHING about that car is original FI. The engine code would have a suffix indicating the FI, but anybody with a letter stamp set the right size can counterfeit that.
    I would also disagree that the units were troublesome at all. Just like all engine problems of the day, 90% of the problems were ignition.
    I drove one off and on for several years, with 3 different engines under it, and the only problem I had was when the ethanol fuel absorbing water let the HP pump gears rust in the pump body. Disassembling and knocking off the rust totally restored its operation. Another reason why you should start it every few weeks in the winter.
    Another friend used one of these as his daily driver for years. (always carried a few spare parts, never needed them).
    The Rochester FI operates quite similarly to the Bosch CIS, but since it uses vacuum signals for metering, it is less vulnerable to contaminated fuel. Not quite as precise or high end as the direct mechanical injection of the Mercedes 300SL, but
    pretty genius for a mass produced American car in 1957.
    For a few years they were near the top of the game, I think Corvettes won Sebring in 1960. (Who needs a $20million dollar Ferrari?)
    Bill Thomas (Cheetah) and others were able to make modifications and make even more horsepower.

    • 68 custom

      Bill Thomas did a stroker mod to the Cheetah enginesI think about 377 CI. yes they screamed! I agree a 59/60 FI intake.

    • Mike

      This is why I love this site. Always someone with knowledge I can add to my own. Thanks Alan Brase.

    • Alan Brase

      The Ebay listing nowhere says it is original FI car. the car DOES have a Wonderbar radio, which is in itself pretty rare in a 1957 Chevy.
      Also, I note there is a Wright Patterson sticker on the bumper. That’s in Ohio.

    • Johnny

      I’ve stripped the paint and restored many GM cars from the 50’s-60’s in the last 50 years and found most of the front end sheet metal assemblies had only the black EDP primer over bare metal and were painted at a different facility than the baked red oxide enamel primer that was used on the bodies. The two seperately painted assemblies were married for the first time at the assembly plants. The baked acrylic lacquer colors weren’t perfect matches from day one and only aged and weathered at different increments over the dissimilar primers, hence the different appearing color leading many to think these born-with panels have had the front group sheet metal replaced; not original.

      Like 1
  17. Tim Wyrick

    You guys always deepen my knowledge, too. Thanks. By the way, I think I would Black Widow it, also. With some modern upgrades.Talked to a guy the other day that owned my 55 Bel-Air 40+ years ago. According to him, he and his partner bought a 54 Vette from Smokey Yunick that was used to figure out the fitting of the small-block V-8 for the 55 Vette. Same guy had several 57 Fuelies. Never had any issues with them.

  18. new yorker

    agree the fuel injection setup is not original not having the fins.

    I own a 1957/58 ser 4800 Rochester FI bought it 40 years ago to put on my ’58 corvette. well the corvette project got pushed back into the garage where it still have it (along with the FI)

    i bolted the fi on a 327 4 speed and it worked great a while back – smooth acceleration. only problem is when it liquid locked piston # 2 and bent a rod. off it came. found out this happened to a lot of FI’s even to a 1963 that I talked to the owner at the syracuse nationals this year.

    the ticket is to place an aftermarket solenoid that is hidden under the spider tubing.

    As for the 1957 belair sedan – whoever buys it should just clean it up and not restore- only original once that is catching on

  19. Dolphin Member

    “Only in California would you believe this story.”
    —————————————————————-

    That lead sentence makes no sense. I wouldn’t believe it in or out of California. Unfortunately the rest of this auction listing goes downhill from there.

    On the other hand I do believe Alan.

    • Alan Brase

      That’s funny. I would note, the seller may have more credibility than seems at first take, as he previously sold a Citroen 2CV Van, one of the coolest vehicles ever to land in a US port. (I’d actually prefer the 4 seater, Charlesworth edition.) A permanent smile when driving.
      I have a wide interest in anything AUTOS.
      Al

  20. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    guess they were putting an upgraded dual master cylinder on these cars 30 or did it say 35 yrs ago and parking them in a barn ?

    Like 1
    • Alan (Michigan)

      Good one.
      There is a lot of “non-OE” going on in the engine compartment.

  21. Jesse

    Well folks interesting comments I assure you the story is correct because I pulled it out of garage along with 911 porsche and a couple of other items. We don’t claim it is a original fuelie but simply are describing what the car is. Either way very very nice body I think there is a potential home for it just wanted to share story. Sadly the owner was murdered in house and he was a hoader a big hoarder. All the cars had jack stands under the bodies so they would not sag with the weight of the silver.

    • Dolphin Member

      Jesse it sounds like you are saying that you are the owner of the ’57 Chevy that’s on auction on Ebay.

      It would be good to have more background on this amazing story, so if you could attach links to the newspaper accounts of the murder and how the silver and the cars were discovered and pulled out of the dead owner’s house I think some of us would be interested in reading them.

  22. Bob Baird

    The fuel unit is a later 60-62 Corvette type with a smooth top. ’57s had the ribbed top.

  23. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Sweet old tach in picture four on the dash.

  24. Jesse

    I am terrible with emails but I am going to find sometime and will post the newspaper articles about the crime scene. We stumble across a lot of stuff like this usually not with 5840 pounds of silver . But nevertheless a lot of cool stuff. Will post articles thanks for interest.

  25. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    And we wait…..

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