Mr. V’s Ride: 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air


This morning, my daily driver 1995 BMW M3 was towed in due to thermostat / overheating issues. The tow driver was a super nice guy named Richard who was a total gearhead, and we talked about his project ’57 Chevy 210 and Pontiact Catalina at home, along with a built Chevy Nova. He’s bought all three of those cars off of the original owners, an impressive feat! I wonder if he’d be keen on picking up this 1956 Chevy Bel Air, recently acquired from the car’s longtime original owner, and now up for grabs here on eBay


Now, I know what you’re thinking: here’s another case of a flipper buying the car off of the old man and selling it for a profit on eBay. And you may be right. But at least it’s not still stuck in the garage, potentially deteriorating further. This Bel Air looks extremely solid, and has been a California car from new. It still wears its California black plates and vintage dealer license plate frame. The car is said to be have been assembled by a Los Angeles Chevy plant, sold to a Los Angeles dealer, and been with Mr. V in Southern California ever since! It is a true time warp car.


Check out that interior. Why don’t we build things like this anymore? Gorgeous. The Bel Air still wears its original paint on the outside, and original materials inside the cabin. There is some wear-through on the seating surfaces, but who cares? I would simply preserve this car and drive it for years to come. Despite going off the road in 1966, Mr. V kept it insured and running every year until 2012, when the current owner bought it. As a result, it still fires up easily and runs nicely, and its body panels all remain original to the car.


Though the 265 isn’t a fire-breather of a motor, the originality is what you’re paying for here. Matching numbers, matching body panels, original paint – how often do Bel Air’s like this come around? While I certainly hope Mr. V received a fair price, it is also good to see this example hopefully heading for a new home where it will continue to be preserved. The bidding is currently at just under $20,000 and the reserve is not met. Not a surprise, but I wonder where this one will end up when all is said and done. When’s the last time you saw a Bel Air this original?


WANTED 1976-1980 Plymouth volare Looking for Dodge Aspen / Plymouth Volare donor car with good sheet metal for parts for my project Contact

WANTED 1987 Dodge Charger Looking for a 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger GLHS Ready to buy now, serious buyer Contact

WANTED 1970-1978 Datsun 240z 260z 280z Hello, I’m looking to buy a datsun z car from 1970-1978, project condition or nicer car considered Contact

WANTED 1994/95 Dodge Dakota 4X4 Looking for a nice ’94/’95 Dakota 4WD in nice shape.Want a V8. Contact

WANTED 1958 – 1959 Chevrolet Impala Top dollar paid! Contact

Submit Your Want Ad


  1. dj

    Several years ago my grandpa helped clean out my deceased great uncle’s garage. Sitting in the very back covered from floor to ceiling in boxes was a 56 210. He had hopes of restoring it and then it sat for close to 40 years. My grandpa wanted the car. After 11 truck loads of junk were hauled off, the car was pulled out. His son said, I’ll take 25 for the car. Meaning 2500. After I told him, no he means 2500, he cussed and we left. LOL

    • dj

      I just love negatives. This is one feature I wished wasn’t here.

      • GTOJeff

        I wouldn’t pay any attention to the them. Trolls can hide behind their screens. Cool story.

  2. SFM5S

    I love the patina of an older survivor car like this! I would clean up the engine bay a bit and just keep preserving it as it has been. They are only unrestored once!

  3. RichieC

    Awesome car but the original California plates for this car would have been yellow. The black plates were introduced in 1963 and the letter sequence on this cars plates would put them in 1964 or 1965 depending on how busy the dmv was in his area.

    • Gphillo

      The ebay ad shows a black and white picture of the car with the original yellow plate
      (one with the little girl leaning on front bumper) and the numbers match up with the current shot. Instead of turning them in in 63 he held onto them. Couldn’t ask for better proof of originality!

    • jackthemailman

      Once again, Barn Finds info doesn’t match the eBay listing. My eBay photos show black letters/numbers on yellow Calif. tags.

    • rockribbedrushy

      The ebay listing shows yellow plates with what looks like 61 on the plate.

  4. franque

    Now I know where the inspiration for Altezza tail lights came from! I had no idea those were stock!

  5. Bob Baird

    The last time I saw a super condition, all original, ’56 Belair was when I bought it for $250. Both I and the car were 17 at the time and the condition of the car was what you’d expect from a 1999 car today! I’ll never forget the first time I stopped for gas and I looked round and round the car until an older gentleman saw me in my perplexity and came over and helped me. He went to the drive rear taillight, turned what looked like trim at the top, the taillight housing tilted down and, what do you know! There was the gas fill underneath! There was even a puzzler on Car Talk about this!

  6. 68custom

    only original once, and this one deserves to stay that way. note this one also has bumper guards. 1956 is my favorite year tri-five chevy!

  7. Another Bob

    Good Work Mr V. Hope you are still with us.

  8. flmikey

    This car should set the mark for what original tri-5’s should be bringing…no question this one is the real deal…

  9. Luke Fitzgerald

    This will go off – pow – good work boys

  10. jackthemailman

    The ol’ 265 ain’t no firebreather is right, but … back in prehistoric times, we’d change the intake manifold/carb combination to a 4 barrel set up and swap the camshaft for what we called a “Duntov cam” and have a right peppy motor. Now, that “Powerslide” transmission is beyond help.

    • starsailing

      Don’t forget we changed to dual exhaust with glass pack mufflers and used Corvette valve covers as well!
      Brother Bill’s first car was the cashmere blue color and white 4dr…had 2brrl carb and factory dual exhaust. Got it from one of the old duffers across the alley who died in 65. Washing and waxing the car for the old fart for 5 yrs put Bill first in line for it!
      Had quite a number of guys with TRI fives as first car…went to junkyards often for upgrade parts…gears, trannys, carbs….Still quite a few cheap ones to be had on Craigs.
      I would leave it as is with maybe new carpeting, change to tri carb and lumpy hyd cam…rusty headers, new pie crust cheater slicks…moon tach. Glider is ok as just want it to look and sound tough…once it goes out…switch to TH350 with stock linkage looking setup.

  11. al leonard

    Where’s the dreaded oil filter can and assorted plumbing on the intake manifold that wreaked havoc on oil flow to the cam????Hmmmm…maybe Chevrolet got smart in 1956..The ’55’s suffered with this set-up…

    • Bill

      The 265 oil filter adapter was cast into the block in 56. 55’s had a remote filter next to the thermostat.

  12. Wayne

    The original plates are shown with the photo with the little girl in front of the car, and are different the the plates on the car now. How does a seat wear like that after 97000 miles?

    • G.P. Member

      60 years just might have a little something to do with it.

  13. Joe Muzy

    Bought a 56 last year that was solid but paint needed redone. Engine ran great . Paid 10,000 paint was 9,000 after trying all last summer sold it for 20,000 at the good guys car show. Profit a grand just too many of them being shown

  14. stillrunners stillrunners

    why does barn finds glorify or post car flippers ?

    • Mark S Member

      Bought the car in 2012 selling it in 2016 does not a flipper make.

  15. Rocco

    Had one in HS. My first hot rod after I pulled out the 6 cyl. and put a 283 with solid lifter cam(Duntov 098) in it, with 3 on the tree.

    • Rocco

      Someone gave me a thumbs down for an old high school story relating to the same year and type of car? How did I offend you?

  16. joeinthousandoaks

    I wish I could have found this. Having that original yellow plate is the icing on the cake.

  17. Steve

    Love the old photos they are sharing… Very nice memories! I would absolutely love to own this one. ’56 Chevy Bel Air 2-door hardtop happens to be my favorite classic car of all time, and this one runs and drives! Too bad I don’t have near enough ready-cash, I would be all over this one in a skinny minute. Only a couple hours drive from my house as well. Sigh…

  18. Rocco

    Gosh, Mr. V should be 100 yrs. young now. Hope you’re still with us Mr. V.

  19. Steve

    Maybe some of you tri-five experts should know this… is that stock trim on the eBay Chevy’s trunk? Every ’56 I’ve ever seen seems to have a Chevy emblem above the chrome V, but in this car it’s the Chevrolet script that is above the V… what’s up with that?
    Also, just noticed that the V on the eBay car seems wider too. Curious…

    • rockribbedrushy

      Someone did something somewhere along the line. Look at the bumpers, they have an extra piece on them. Was that stock or after market?
      Anyway, it’s still a nice car.

    • Bill

      The V/8 equipped cars had Chevrolet script and a longer “V”. The 6 Cyl. ones had the crest, smaller V. The over riders on the bumper ends were a factory option to protect the quarter panels.

      • Rocco

        I had a 6cyl ’56 Bel Air, that I put a V-8 in, and it had a bigger crest ONLY. The V-8 cars had the smaller crest with a V under it.
        Think about it. Why would a 6Cyl. car have a “V” V-8 emblem?
        Maybe it being all one color, instead of two tone, has something to do with it. Just guessing.

      • Bill Miller

        I stand corrected! The V/8 had a small crest with a V. A 6 cyl. had a large crest, NO V.

    • Jeff

      Most likely a 57 V8 trunk lid was used as a replacement at sometome or at least 57 V8 trim used to replace the 56

  20. RedRacer

    “Why don’t we build things like this anymore? Gorgeous.”
    wow–after seeing the 2nd photo, you hit the nail on the head. Absolutely beautiful, (regardless of what all the nit pickers have to say about matching this and that)

    • rockribbedrushy

      And the hood ornaments were great. Every once in awhile I’ll put some in my watch list and see what they go for. I sold two on ebay so far. A 49 Ford and a swan for a Packard or a Hudson, don’t remember which.

    • Russ

      Imagine pulling up in front of your new house in a new suburb in that Chev in ’56… new shopping center a mile down the road, new school for your kids, new roads without potholes. Beautiful car, wonderful home, the American dream for you and your family. What an amazing time to be alive.

      • rockribbedrushy

        In my case, my father’s car was a maroon ’56 Special and it was ’59 or so and it was Newington CT just off of the Berlin Turnpike. There was a McDonald’s on the corner where we turned off and sometimes he would stop in, sometimes my mother, but we would always get something.
        And then there was the short ride to the Connecticut Post Shopping Center in Milford. We also lived in Orange before moving to New Jersey.
        Yes it was a great time to alive and be Americans.

        My folks came here from Europe after the war and never once regretted coming here.

        My father bought Buicks for about 20 years or so before he bought a Dodge.
        Don’t remember why.

  21. stillrunners stillrunners

    Buy it for or steal if for $5000 in 2012 – change the oil get it running – sit on it until the economy’s fixing to tank – and sell it for $25,000 that’s a nice flip or guess investment ?

    1957 saw the first spin on oil canister filter on the V/8 bowtie block.

    • Rocco

      Hey, good for him. I’m just jealous.

  22. socaljoe

    Steve, That’s a great catch that I didn’t even notice and I’ve had several tri-five Chevys. That’s a ’57 Trunk lid on this car.

    • Steve

      Hey Joe, thanks for clearing that up. I was wondering why it was different. Now I am wondering why would it have a 1957 deck lid? Was it hit in the back and replaced with a 57 junk yard trunk? Seems kinda odd…

  23. Steve

    Well she just sold with a winning bid of $23,656. What do you guys think of that price, a little over, under or right on the value? With it needing so little to get her right, seems like a great deal for the winning bidder.

Leave a Reply to Another Bob Cancel reply

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.