Genuine Fuelie:1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

Some classic cars are okay, while others are achingly beautiful. This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible fits into the latter category but is far more than a mere pretty face. It is one of the rare ’57 Convertibles to roll off the production line equipped with a fuel-injected V8, giving it the power to match its stunning looks. This classic needs nothing but a new home, so the owner has listed it for auction here at Barrett-Jackson. It will go under the hammer with No Reserve in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, July 2nd. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Larry D for spotting one of the most beautiful ’57 Bel Airs I’ve seen for a while.

Have you ever gone to tell a story and struggled to know where to start? I find myself in that situation with this Bel Air. Anyway, I’d better take a shot at it! The owner purchased the car in 2007. They elected to treat the Convertible to a restoration in 2008, which was a no expense spared process. They dismantled it to the last nut and bolt before mounting it on a rotisserie. The vehicle was stripped to bare metal, the panels were massaged to perfection, and any rust issues were addressed. Once they completed these tasks to their satisfaction, the floors received the correct red oxide primers as per factory specifications, while the frame wears black. They coated the gorgeous panels with Matador Red paint, topping it off with a white power top. The chrome and stainless exterior trim received similar attention, while the glass wears the correct E-Z-Eye branding. The result of this effort and considerable expense is a Bel Air Convertible with perfect presentation. The paint shines richly, the trim sparkles, and no marks or flaws are visible in the supplied photos. I loathe the term “time capsule,” but this car deserves that label if I must use it.

Chevrolet produced 47,562 examples of the 1957 Bel Air in Convertible form, which doesn’t make this car a rarity in the big picture. However, some of these classics hold an ace that massively increases their rarity and desirability. This Convertible is one of those cars. Its engine bay houses a 283ci V8, but it is no ordinary motor. The seller claims that Chevrolet produced a mere sixty-eight examples of the ’57 Bel Air Convertible with a Fuelie V8 under the hood, and my resources agree with that figure. This is one of those cars, but its desirability goes deeper still. Only a small number received the upgraded 283hp version backed by a manual transmission. Since that is what this classic offers, it makes it the rarest of a rare breed. While it was never considered a genuine muscle car, its ability to storm the ¼ mile in 15.7 seconds would cause its owner no shame. The listing indicates that while this Bel Air isn’t numbers-matching, its entire drivetrain carries the correct date codes. Every mechanical component received professional attention to ensure the car returned to a factory-fresh state. It runs and drives well, although it has only clocked fifty miles since the restoration ended. That means the next owner will face the joy of breaking in what is essentially a brand new car that is sixty-five years old. That doesn’t happen every day!

I’ve spent countless hours examining the supplied photos in minute detail, searching for a flaw with this Bel Air, and I’ve failed dismally. Its interior is a thing of beauty trimmed in Code 683 Red and Silver. Since the car has clocked so few miles since the restoration, it is no surprise that there isn’t a spot of wear anywhere. The upholstered surfaces are perfect, the painted surfaces shine brightly, complemented by flawless chrome and bright trim. The factory AM radio is intact, and the correct rubber mats protect the carpet. An album detailing the entire restoration journey is included for those interested in the finer details.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that is true of this 1957 Bel Air Convertible. Mere words fail to convey the beauty of this classic and examining the supplied photos carefully reveals new minute details every time. I’m not sure whether there is such a thing as automotive perfection, but this Chevy tests that question to the max. If you intend to make a play for this beauty, you will need either a healthy wallet or an extremely understanding Bank Manager. I expect the bidding to top $200,000, although its overall condition could see that figure climb significantly higher. The current record stands at $379,000, set back in 2005. Considering its condition and rarity, do you think this Bel Air could set a new benchmark? If it does, I won’t be surprised.

Comments

  1. Mikefromthehammer

    It “looks to me” like the glass or clear plastic is missing from the rear window. Does anyone else see this?

    • SMJohnsonIndy

      There is a small reflection near the upper right (passenger side) corner of the rear window plastic. The rear window material appears to be incredibly crystal-clear, clean, no-haze (aka – NEW), and photographed at just the right angle to minimize reflections/glare.

      Like 3
      • Mikefromthehammer

        Thanks. I can see it now.

  2. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Oh man if only I had my million now. It would be difficult not to blow the entire bank on this car. It’s one of my all time favorite cars. I had a 57 Bel Air in 2 door hardtop with 283 power glide at one time. I loved the lines and dash design on thee cars. The fins are just right not to high and just enough so you know they’re there. Not fast cars by todays standards, but will motivate you to push the gas pedal to the floor on occasion.

    God Bless America

    Like 2
  3. Tony

    I have the exact same car color but my car has
    the factory style cont. kit it’s a factory fuelie with PS—PB and PG Trans, I’ll have to watch
    To see what it goes for.

  4. Morley Member

    I love these cars, but you would have to be knowledgable than me to know if it was a clone or not. The trouble with low production cars. Stilll almost a perfect car

    Like 1
  5. Mark

    Makes me want to watch return to Macon County with Nick Nolte and Don Johnson! I believe their vehicle had a feeling jacked it in June and I think it was running a quarter-mile some 14s if that stopwatch was correct that Nick had in his hand!

  6. Bob McK Member

    20 years ago the car shows were full of 57 Chevrolets. Today you don’t see them too often. They are still beautiful, but those that relate with them are aging out. But I bet some collector will pony up big bucks to buy this beauty.

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