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Man Cave Prop: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

The 1955-57 generation of Chevrolets was enormously popular then and today. Especially the 1957 model, which seems to have reached iconic status. So, its not a surprise that a restaurant wanting to recreate a Happy Days kind of motif for their business might choose to build a display prop tribute car. That’s apparently what happened with a long-closed Sarasota, Florida ‘50s diner that commissioned a fiberglass/wood replica of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible. Now located in Dade City, this unique piece of memorabilia is available here on eBay where the no-reserve auction is up to $3,250.

By the end of 1957, Chevy had cranked out more than 700,000 Bel Air sedans, hardtops, wagons and convertibles, of which nearly 48,000 were the latter. This motivated someone to come up with a ’57 Chevy display for their Mel’s-style eatery in Central Florida. Rather than gutting a worn-out version of the real thing, a ’57 Bel Air convertible was created largely out of fiberglass and wood. It looks so authentic that I had to flip through some of the photos to confirm it’s a fake. It even looks built to scale, with a hood and trunk that open, but doors that do not. After the restaurant that housed this display closed (we can’t determine its name or when), the “car” found its way into a private collection until the seller acquired it recently.

The red paint looks nice and shiny, but there are flaws with the overall body, such as panels that don’t line up as well as they should. The bumpers must be chromed as the front is pitted in a few places and the rear is rusted along the bottom. The trim around the wheel wells is starting to come off and the wheels and baby moon hub caps are rusty. The interior will need the most amount of attention, as the rear seat and convertible boot are ripped and what would normally be door panels are obviously wood and some detail work there would help the car look more like the real deal. The dashboard is not in especially good shape. Since the doors don’t open, we’re guessing there never was any intention to have people sit in the car.

The hood opens to big a cavern, which I guess would be a perfect place to store memorabilia or bling related to the car. There is a light fixture on the underside of the hood, so at some point this must have been a show-off area.  The trunk is similarly empty. The opportunity to attract termites becomes clear when you look underneath at what would be a chassis on a real ’57, but instead is largely wood and support bars to hold the whole thing together. And some of that wood also needs attention.

The seller poses the suggestion that the buyer might consider turning this into a real car. I can’t imagine that would be viable, if for no other reason than its structural integrity. Right now, it rolls but just forward and backward. Whoever buys this may want to do just what the former owner did and restore it as 1950s display. Or include it as part of a really big man cave.  Either way, this thing is pretty darn cool!


  1. unclemymy Member

    I know it has suffered in the weather, and has a little rust, but do you realize that it has ZERO MILES?!!!

    Like 26
  2. IkeyHeyman

    Hmmm, my wife always wanted a ’57 Chevy convertible…..

    Like 8
  3. Mitchell Gildea Member

    My question would be what do you do with something like this?

    Like 9
  4. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    There’s a Mel’s Diner in Naples, Florida perhaps they might be interested. It would have to be mounted on top of their building as their parking lot is rather small. Great restaurant, great people, great food at fair prices. If ever in Naples check it out.
    God bless America

    Like 7
  5. Sc RMac

    Looks like it was from Angels diner in orlando which had the best red velvet cake ever

    Like 0
  6. Joe Haska

    What would you do with it? If you have a good answer to that question, you should probably buy it!

    Like 0
  7. Joe Machado

    Figures, I am in Florida, loaded. Need to leave as a hurricane is arriving and I need to be East at least 500 miles so I am not in the evacuation parade here on the pan handle.
    Would be fun for a cafe to have it on top. City permit crap would be a mile long as newbee politicians dont care

    Like 2
    • unclemymy Member

      I’m hoping for luck, as we got our hurricane pasting two years ago. If the ’57 was on a cafe near my house, it might have ended up cruising down the boulevard in Oz.

      Like 2
  8. FastEddie/OldEddie: pick one

    I know I’m old, but I don’t think my eyes are that far gone, and the same for my memory: what the heck is that dashboard? Is it just the color that is throwing me off?

    Like 1
  9. Big Kahuna

    Put a hot tub in the passenger area, barbeque under the hood and wet bar in trunk. Stick in backyard!

    Like 11
  10. 8banger David Mika Member

    I would totally make it a Go-Kart

    Like 3
    • nlpnt

      It would make a pretty ponderous one, I think it’s full size. If you want a big-for-a-go-kart tri-Chevy replica you’d be better off just getting a Trabant and cutting the roof off, or with that already done (especially if it was done before it was exported and the TUV certified it…) But I digress.

      Like 0
  11. PaulR

    Given the amount of plywood and fiberglass, this is a candidate for a vintage boat restorer. Just by looking at these photos, there’s no way to make this car road worthy. It may make a good Shriner’s parade mobile though.

    Like 2
  12. Stan Marks

    Not to mention the great gas mileage & leg room.

    Like 0
  13. Dave Mathers

    Termite Motel?

    Like 0
  14. pwtiger

    This reminds me of the one that Gene Winfield has up on a pedestal at his place in Mojave, I’m not sure if his is fiberglass or steel, hopefully he is still kicking…

    Like 1
  15. David Goodlander

    Buy this cheap, cut it in half and double your money.

    Like 2
    • Jeff D

      Cut in half abd put it on opposite sides of a wall. Think of the old bar. scene with an (Insert animal of choice) head on one side of the wall and the backside on the other

      Like 1
  16. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $6,400.

    Like 0

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