Heart Transplant: 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Wagon

What do you do when you have a solid chassis without its original drive train? Put one in it! Although this Chevrolet wagon appears original and untouched, this snazzy looking wagon has been lowered, and features a slightly more modern drive train than what it left the factory with. In ready to drive condition, this wagon would certainly be a hit driving around town, and at local car events. With a little over a day remaining, this wagon has been bid up to $8,500. Check it out here on ebay out of Oakland, Oregon.

A Chevrolet 350 V8 by “Target Master” has been fitted to the car with a turbo 350 automatic transmission. Besides the obvious drive train swap, the engine compartment appears untouched. Yes, this wagon still has manual brakes with drums all the way around. The brake system has been serviced and would seem to be in tip top shape for a manual drum brake set up. There is some mild surface rust peppered throughout the engine compartment, but all of the under hood sheet metal looks rock solid. Maybe the future owner would care to add a little more stopping power to this wagon?

Inside there are many original remnants of the factory interior to be found.  The front bench appears to have been recovered, and a Corvette steering wheel has been added as well. There is no carpet or headliner, but sound deadening has been added to the floors.

A carpet kit, a headliner, and a few odds and ends would really round out this interior nicely. Also some door jamb seals would probably help with some other various noise pollution as well.

I am sold on the exterior, as much of the factory paint remains, and who could say this wagon isn’t a sleek looking classic? The seller has mentioned that there is no rot or rust concerns with this Chevy other than the lower portion of the tailgate. That being said, the interior bottom edge of the tailgate definitely has some rot concerns. The good news is that the rot appears to be hidden from the exterior, where I would opt to patch it with fresh sheet metal, to keep the original tailgate, and the cool overall original appearance.

There is some surface rust scattered over the exterior of this wagon, but none of which appears to be threatening to this classic.  The bright work all looks to be in nice shape with no obvious signs of damage. The glass is all there, but the driver side rear door glass is cracked. Ready to drive with an easily serviceable drive train, this wagon could still be “polished” out even further making it an even more enjoyable driver. What would you do with this classic V8 powered wagon?


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  1. 86 Vette Convertible

    I like it, though I’d seriously think about painting it. one interesting thing is the spotlight/mirror. Had not seen one of those in years.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      I would have to find another spotlight/mirror for the passenger side..cool options :)

  2. DrinkinGasoline

    I like this one even with the mill transplant. I would however do a strip and re-paint, find an original steering wheel and complete the interior. Powder coat the steel wheels and stick with original dog dish caps. This one would be a lot of fun.

    • On and On On and On Member

      I’ll drink gas to that! I’m a sucker for ’50’s two-tone paint jobs. This one is really striking. Did anyone look up the color names? Just wondering.

  3. XMA0891

    A quibble about that inappropriate steering wheel, but other than that, what a fantastic driver! Love the color and the dig dishes! Great find!

  4. Derek F

    Sits nicely on those steelies.

    Love the longroof cars.

  5. Beatnik Bedouin

    Cool car, although I’d also consider a coat fresh paint and a bit of a tidy up of the interior.

    Would make a great daily driver.

  6. 68custom

    Love the fact that it is an original V8 car! Also love the optional bumper guards.

  7. glen

    The ’55 is my favourite of the tri-five chevys. The rear of this car looks better than the front of a lot of todays cars. It has just the right amount of chrome, a really nice looking car.

  8. jw454

    I think I’d look into upgrading the brakes just to make it a bit safer. Finding an O.E.M. steering wheel and installing the carpet would make it complete for me.

  9. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    I have have one, not as solid, but it does have the original 265ci, although the dealer installed air conditioning is in the back in pieces.

    Like 3
    • Jim

      Great find! Wagons are a lot of fun I am still looking for one.

  10. PatrickM

    Didn’t read past $8,500.00 bid! This should easily go for a WHOLE lot more! Tri 5’s are worth it no matter which direction you take them….as is, clean up and drive, restore, custom or hot rod.

    Like 1
  11. moosie Craig M. Bryda

    2 doors 2 many and its not a Nomad but I’d rock it as is with a brake upgrade & maybe A/C

    Like 1
    • glen

      I like the look of this with the slightly narrower rear doors. Sometimes 2 doors are overrated!

      Like 1
  12. moosie Craig M. Bryda

    2 doors 2 many and its not a Nomad but I’d rock it as is with a brake upgrade & maybe A/C. Doubt the steering wheel being Corvette sourced.

  13. Gaspumpchas

    dam sam thats Purty…at least a dual master cyl,

    Fun for someone.Good Luck!!!

  14. JW

    I agree with others definitely a dual master cylinder, I’m a nerd for safety, if it’s got get up and go it better be able to whoa.

    Like 1
  15. Bish

    Floor pan suspect. Why No underside pics and interior covered over? Drivers footwell looking like it’s got issues. Closer inspection warranted before $$$ .

  16. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    Nice car….just wish he had stuck with some GM caps instead of those Fords.

  17. charlie Member

    Owned a ’56 from new (well, my father bought it and I inherited it in ’59) until ’68 when it died from rust. Brakes good for ONE full stop from 65 mph. Lost all brakes, single master cylinder, three times, but the “parking brake” was pistol grip and actually could be, and was, used by me to slow and stop the car, and with proper planning, worked as a driving brake if you did not go very fast. Lost the brakes on a rainy midnight in the City of Philadelphia for about 30 minutes to get it home to the suburbs, lots of traffic lights, and turns, and then to the shop in the morning. SO, fit discs, at least to the front, and a dual master cylinder, and, keep the Corvette steering wheel is safer than the bullet nosed one that came with the car which would punch right into your sternum in an abrupt stop. And seat belts. This is not a museum piece, there are enough of them already. Fix it, make it safe, paint it, and drive it.

  18. 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

    58-60 Impala steering wheel, two tone like interior/exterior. Update brakes to dual circuit and front disc. Carpet. Safety check and then drive. I have a ’55 Nomad (since 1975) done like that. Drive the wheels off it.

  19. DJMN

    This is pretty neat and the price doesn’t seem unreasonable. Regarding the drivetrain, how much would it have cost to put an LS1 in?

  20. David Ulrey

    So glad the whole patina thing seems to be falling out of vogue. If you can’t afford a paint job yet that’s one thing and if it actually has good or passable paint that’s fine. The whole thing about wanting a car to look crappy and dull on purpose needs to fade away like old paint does.

  21. Nrg8

    Hard work is done, car is worth 10k all day. Leave brakes as is just go through system, may need front end work anyway. Then you upgrade. Lets face it this is a cruiser. Clean it up and enjoy it.

  22. jesus bortoni

    New front and rear suspension, disc brakes all around with dual circuits and power steering. Further: tear out the interior and do the job right with a floor board check/repair (if needed), sound deadening pads throughout. Pull the motor and rebuild/repaint the engine compartment. Some GOOD bodywork and you’ve got a ride for life. I LOVE these station wagons. Oh, cooling restoration and A/C.

  23. Pete

    I rather prefer a car not to be repainted, That way I know what I am starting with and can go from there. So often past body work i not of the best quality and will chip out of the car allowing water intrusion which makes the problem far worse when it is actually noticed.

  24. Chris in WNC

    sell the V8 & automatic.
    find a correct 6 and a stick shift trans with BW overdrive.
    that’s what I’d do with this gem…….

  25. Gus

    Had a 56 Chevy wagon once. My buddies and I used to check the back lots of dealers looking for cheap cars we might like. One Saturday we spotted a 56 wagon so we checked it out. It was rusty with a 6 cylinder and three on tree. I loved it and went inside and found a salesman. Nobody wanted to mess with the cars on the “back row” but finally found out it didn’t run and price was $50. I offed him $25, after talking to the boss he can back and said it was mine. Well we hooked up a tow chain to get her home. Still in the back of the lot I put her 2nd gear and popped the clutch-the thing fired right up and was running half way decent. Signalled my buddy and we unhooked the chain and out I drove, much to the surprise of the sales staff. Later that summer I turned 19.4 at our local drag strip. I would love this 55 the same.

  26. charlie Member

    1955 was the first year for the V8, 265 if I remember right, my uncle’s 55 with the V8 had a lot more guts that my ’56 with the 6, so if you are going to go “original” that would be the way to go. You need the little V8 emblems below the tail lights to make it right.

  27. Pist-n-Broke Racing

    I wouldnt even bother with painting this old girl. In todays hot rod world patina is the way to go and the surface rust hasnt gotten to bad on her so throw on some clear and drive her around town.

  28. Joe Haska

    Sold for $10,600, probably about right!

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