In The Dark For 31 Years: 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

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The thought of a classic car not seeing daylight for 31-years is a pretty sad idea, but that’s been part of the story for this 1955 Bel Air. The current owner purchased it as a project, but the project has stalled. The owner then listed it for sale, but the winning bidder failed to pay, so this car can’t seem to take a trick. Maybe its luck will be better with the next owner, who can find the Bel Air listed for sale here on eBay. The car is located in Superior, Wisconsin, and the bidding has reached $7,300 with the reserve now met.

If you are on the hunt for a ’55 Bel Air project car, then you really need to take a long, hard look at this one. There are a number of photos of the underside of the vehicle, and while there is a pretty consistent coating of surface corrosion under there, it looks like it is free of any rot. Similarly, the rest of the body is showing a lot of promise. All of those usual areas designed to give you heartburn such as the rockers, lower quarters, and headlight eyebrows look to be really good. There are a few minor trim pieces missing, but these should be fairly easy to replace.

The owner has given the Bel Air a bit of a heart transplant, dropping the 283ci V8 and 3-speed automatic transmission out of his Nomad project car into the Bel Air. The motor ran fine when it was in the Nomad, so hopefully, it will do the same in its new home. The owner also says that there’s a fair old pile of parts in the trunk of the Bel Air, and this includes the car’s original Powerglide transmission.

The owner refers to the interior as being “old-school,” and that’s as good a description as any. It isn’t the most attractive look on the planet, but it appears to be complete and serviceable. There’s little doubt that the new owner will make some changes, either a few, or there will be wholesale changes. The vinyl covers on the front seats and rear seats don’t match, and none of that vinyl is the same as the rest of the trim. So I can see a trip to the nearest rubbish skip somewhere in the future for all of that vinyl.

When I look at some of the cars that I write about, I spend some time just shaking my head. It’s hard to see how a classic like this Bel Air can spend decades locked away in the dark. However, these things do happen, and if that hadn’t been the fate of this car, who knows where it might be today. I tend to think that the Bel Air is headed towards a long and pretty happy future, and I would personally love to see it when the new owner completes this project. For me the big question will be whether that person will be one of our Barn Finds readers.

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  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    This will take a little work but looks to be a good foundation overall. Things like missing weather stripping on the trunk, bunch of surface rust plus some potential rust inside the one door for sure. Interior looks to be out of an 60’s era Impala but not absolutely sure on that. Always liked the 283’s as they were rock solid IMO. Shouldn’t take too much to get the clutch linkage in and adjusted having done that before.

    Finish it up, put some steelies and Baby Moon hubcaps on it and go out and cruise the main drag on Friday night. :-)

    Like 5
    • GPMember

      I was confused about your comment of, Shouldn’t take to much to get the clutch linkage in, etc., until I read the ad. The write up said it was a 3- speed auto and the 2 – speed was in the trunk. It is a pretty nice car.

      Like 0
  2. Troy s

    Go to the local shows and I see all kinds of these tri-fives, always liked the ’55 the most, probably had something to do with watching American Graffiti as a child, ha!
    I like this one here, the oddball interior actually works for me as it’s so nostalgic, something like a kid threw together trying to create the mean street rod years ago. A piece from here another one from there…on a tight wrecking yard budget of course, hope it kinda stays a little rough around the edges.

    Like 1
  3. Dave Mazz

    The eBay ad for this car (1955 Chevy Bel Air) had the comment:


    I’m not familiar with this provision; what does it mean and why?? Does it mean the seller will end the auction prematurely, if some dude shows up with cash, and the price is right?

    Like 1

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