Never Restored: 1956 Chevrolet 210

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The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air has been a staple of the classic scene for decades, but it took a while for the rest of the Tri-Five range to achieve that status. They are now highly sought after, especially if original and unmolested. This 1956 Chevrolet 210 2-Door Sedan perfectly fits that description and is a turnkey classic ready to provide immediate motoring enjoyment. A new owner could treat it to a restoration that would reclaim its youth, although preserving it as a survivor is a viable approach. The 210 is listed here on eBay in Accomac, Virginia. Bidding sits below the reserve at $18,500, but the frantic action suggests the situation could change anytime.

Before we consider this Chevy’s cosmetic attributes and shortcomings, it is worth delving below the surface. The seller believes someone, possibly the original owner, undercoated this classic during its early days. That is excellent news for potential buyers because the underside shots confirm the floors, frame, and trunk pan are rock-solid. Tackling rust can be half the battle with these classics, but that war is over before it begins for the successful bidder. The seller states the exterior received some repaint work, mainly around the front and the roof. The Body Tag confirms it started life wearing Code 706 Sherwood Green and India Ivory, which is predominantly what we see today. I suspect the repaint work may have been an attempt to achieve a Tri-Tone appearance, but the person responsible achieved limited success. Some panels are exhibiting paint cracks and checking, meaning the new owner might consider a cosmetic refresh. However, the odd paint shades and defects are a part of the car’s character, which makes preservation in its current state tempting. The panels are free from significant bruises, the trim, and the glass look acceptable for a survivor-grade vehicle, while the 210 rolls on its original steel wheels. These feature the correct hubcaps and a new set of whitewalls.

The “unmolested” theme continues when we examine this classic’s interior. It features its original upholstery and trim, with no aftermarket additions. The front seat upholstery has deteriorated, showing signs of splits and rot. Sourcing a reproduction replacement would be easy and wouldn’t break the bank. However, with the back seat looking so nice and no evidence of rips or tears in the other upholstered surfaces, I’d be inclined to throw a blanket over the front seat and leave the interior essentially untouched. Some surfaces require a deep cleaning, but careful work with modern, high-quality detailing products could make an enormous difference to their presentation. The car retains its original rubber floor mats, and although they show some deterioration, there aren’t loose pieces flapping in the breeze that could represent a hazard. If the new owner plans a faithful restoration, reproduction mat sets retail for around $350. Otherwise, the aftermarket floor mats we see in this photo should keep future problems at bay.

Although Chevrolet offered a V8 option in the 1956 210 range, many buyers stuck with the tried-and-true 235ci Blue Flame six. Considering its power and torque levels, the decision was understandable. It churned out 140hp and 210 ft/lbs of torque, and even when teamed with the two-speed Powerglide transmission we find here, it still provided performance that satisfied most owners. It would never threaten a muscle car, but it would be in its element, cruising on the open road at 60mph. The odometer currently shows 49,000 miles, but I would be unsurprised if it has rolled over. Considering the bulletproof nature of the mechanical components, it could have rolled over three or four times without this classic being close to worn out. The car runs and drives well, meaning the buyer could enjoy what it offers immediately while planning their future strategies for this gem.

Some readers will look at this 1956 Chevrolet 210 Sedan and instantly plan a restoration. The car deserves it and is an ideal candidate. However, it is a proud survivor that has served faithfully for sixty-seven years, and I see no reason why it couldn’t continue that trend for decades with little more than care and essential maintenance. Eleven people have submitted thirty-three bids, suggesting they like what they see. Such intense action could see the reserve exceeded at any moment, and that’s when things could become frantic. Would you consider joining the battle? If you do, what would be your plan if you were the winning bidder?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    Perhaps I’m the last emotional sap on the planet left, but I think I trigger some emotions. Let’s go back, shall we? The year, late 1955. That awful quagmire in Korea was over, it was smooth sailing,,for those that survived, that is. By 1956, things had evened out some, and for many, a new Chevy was just what was needed, since the old pre-war Dodge dad got after the war was about shot anyway. Mom usually called the shots there, and agreed to a new car, but nothing fancy, we aren’t rich, you know. Good old practical mom. Automatic, so she could drive it, but THAT’S IT! And served them well. Later, each kid took their turns trying to kill it, and amazed someone didn’t drop a V8 in at some period, the ’56 Chevy 2 door, the hottest stick at the time. Grammy grams held fast, oh no you don’t,,which brings up to today. Quite a find, love the “draft tube”, I’d leave it just the way it is.

    Like 34
    • HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

      Oh, oh, I see a new “addition” to the comments,,,,”report comment”,,( breathing heavily into a paper bag), we’re all friends, right?? I’ll be good,,

      Like 14
      • leiniedude leiniedudeMember

        lol!

        Like 3
      • Grant

        Who would ever tell on you Howard? Your a genius, a true national treasure.

        Like 5
      • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

        Don’t worry Howard! This wasn’t put in place because of anything you said.

        Like 1
      • HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

        Thanks, Jesse, you know I think the world of the site and ALL the writers. What exactly does “moderated” mean?

        Like 2
  2. 64 Bonneville

    Howard A I totally agree with you. Way to many cars, not just tri-5s’ have been butchered up, but to each his own. If not for the originals how would they know what to desecrate?

    Like 10
  3. Troy

    I say keep it as a survivor I think it’s cool its the 6cyl you can still put a nice exhaust on it and sound better than the fart can import

    Like 12
    • Glenn SchwassMember

      Nice car. I prefer a 57 with a stk since that was my first car, but love the color. Hopefully it gets saved and not butchered. Only needs seat re-covered @ $3500 or so. (If the inner rockers and things are rust free)

      Like 0
  4. Steve

    My dad bought a car almost identical to this new in 1956 when he was 19yo. He said he and his dad went to Houston to look for a used car that was a couple of years old. They didn’t have any luck and saw a new black and white 56 bel air two door sedan with a 6 cyl and 3 spd manual trans. His dad loaned him the difference to buy the new car. Dad joined the Marine Corps shortly after and the 56 made the trip back and forth to California from south Texas several times. One of the funny stories he used to tell was about how the MPs wouldn’t let him in base with the car with the lowering blocks in back. He said he and a friend had to remove them in a parking lot. They used the bumper jack and a couple of steel trash cans turned upside down for “saferty” while working in it. He said that a few years later he realized how lucky he was

    Like 8
    • Steve

      Dad said that a little while after arriving in California, he had the car painted solid black. It wasn’t by choice, though. He had gotten married to my mom and was living in married housing (which was a travel trailer). He was at work on base and she was at home and heard a crash outside. When she ran out, she saw a car had hit theirs and sped away. She called the MPs and they found the culprit. It was an officers wife who had been drinking. He said he met with the officer and he told him to fix it and bring him the bill, which he did. He said the body shop told him they couldn’t make the paint an exact match and would have to paint the whole car. He ran that by the officer and he agreed. Coincidentally nothing happened as far as his wife being held accountable.

      Like 13
  5. LCL

    Like my Dad’s 1954 3100 this car has a crankcase breather that discharges below the motor.
    Could these/should these be routed through a PCV valve into the motor?
    Our 3100 lasted till 1976 before it was literally put out to pasture in New Hampshire where it attracted two free parts trucks. How does that happen? Then my brother found someone to take all three as parts trucks.

    Like 3
    • Norman K Wrensch

      Yes a pcv valve can be installed I had done it on a couple of them. I took the top off the tube coming out of the engine then cut the tube off just below the draft tube, and put the top back on with a 1/4″ npt fitting coming out the top. Then a barb fitting with a hose going to a pcv valve in the intake manifold. It worked fine, no more stinky blowby.

      Like 3
  6. rbig18

    Survivor status is a bit of a stretch on something repainted this poorly in not original colors. Still pretty cool car and in good shape for its age. I can live with the interior and motor staying as is but that paint is not something I could abide by. It would go back to the original two tone.

    Like 3
  7. 56 Chevy Nut

    That is the “original” two-tone. Chevrolet called it “conventional”. Only the roof was painted the alternate color. Most folks think that 210’s should have two-tone that looks like a Bel Air. Chevrolet never built them that way. They were either like this, or the mid-section front to rear was the alternate color. With these colors, the mid-section would have been white; above the belt line and below the stainless side trim would have been the green. The firewall would have been green, too.

    She’s a beauty in all her mutli-hued coat! There’s been lots of something done to it, but I think I’d have to leave it the way it is for a while. I might have to return the engine to blue, though. Afterall, it is the Blue Flame 6! It would definitely stay until it died.

    Like 3
  8. TheOldRanger

    I bought a 56 BelAir for a second car back in 1974 for $150 and spent $100 for new tires and a new battery. I ran it for 3 years as I did nothing else to it… best money for a car ever.
    I had to move out-of-state and I sold it to a high school kid who was strapped for money for what I had in it… $250… you would have thought he had hit the jackpot… LOL…. I still miss that car

    Like 3
  9. Steve

    I bought a ’56 Chevy 210 4-door in the late ’60s for $200. I was a young pup, still living at home. I was so proud of my purchase but my dad gave me you-know-what for buying it, calling it junk. I sold it to a female co-worker for $225. Still, I was happy to have made some ‘big’ bucks off of it.

    Like 3
  10. Little_Cars Little_Cars

    Does the trunk shut, or is there a bend in the top surface?

    Like 3
  11. Grant

    Howard? Howard? Where for art thou Howard? And so it begins. Have seen this before.

    Like 3
  12. Jeff

    Pure speculation here, but could it have taken a hit in the nose early in life, and gotten a new front clip (or at least all of it repainted), and the passenger door fixed (see what looks like cracking bondo at upper front corner where the paint is flaking off, in the typical spot that gets bent when a fender gets pushed back into it)? Doesn’t explain why the passenger quarter was also painted below the trim, but it could have gotten a little rake there too in the same mishap?

    Impossible to say from pics, but an early repair (when the rest of the paint was still nice) makes a whole lot more sense than someone deliberately painting the entire front clip, one door, and half of one quarter, without just going ahead and painting the rest of the car …

    Like 3
  13. Dave

    I wouldn’t change anything but maybe de-gross the interior a bit and fix the trunklid gap. I see the paint mis-match and it doesn’t bother me at all.

    Like 2
  14. Joe Haska

    I would love to have a Tri-5 and this one is in the exact condition, I would like to find. There are many things I would like to do with it. What I think would be so great about this car is you could enjoy it from day one. Drive it, use it and improve it at the same time. Every change would just make it nicer and you would not lose it for a couple of years, to do a frame of restoration. I would be re-living what I did in high school with the cars I had then. One of which was a 55 2 door hardtop.

    Like 2
  15. Shuttle Guy Shuttle GuyMember

    For me I’d leave it the same with the exception of maybe some nice chrome rims of some type (something old school) and reupholster the front seat. A guy would get the lookers with this car. I don’t think the engine was red back then. Maybe take it back to the “Blue Flame.” Man, after typing this maybe I should start bidding to win! :)

    Like 3
  16. Jack Quantrill

    I had a ‘55, and a ‘57. I think the ‘56 were the best of the lot!

    Like 4
  17. Norman K Wrensch

    Something has been done to the engine, 235 did not come from the factory with red paint on it. They were sort of a bluish green color. So something is fishy there

    Like 1
  18. HCMember

    What a sweetheart 210 survivor that wasn’t molested. The 235s are damn near bullit proof, but I already see a potential buyer upgrading its drivetrain to a small or big block V8. Along with front disc brakes and PS and AC, but Hey, the buyer can do what he wants, IMO. It’s their decision. No one elses. What a great find.

    Like 4
  19. Paul E Schneller

    This car is a bona-fide time capsule. Leave it alone and drive it. Not enough of that is done anymore.

    Like 3
  20. charlieMember

    I drove my ’56, PowerGlide 6 at 70mph all day, frequently, even with over 100,000 miles, but it had been maintained “by the book” which was change the oil and the filter every 3000 miles, lube the same, nevertheless replaced ball joints, shocks, exhaust system, and brake lines and cylinders much more often than they fail today, let alone bias ply tires which blew out more often than the young folks reading this would believe. Best one was just sitting in in the driveway after a 65 mph trip on a hot summer day. Brake lines failed leaving you with no brakes other than the “parking brake” which you could modulate and slow or stop with some foresight.

    Like 2
  21. Gasser300

    Watching some punk trying to put gas in this would be a hoot

    Like 2
  22. Rustytech RustytechMember

    Sold! $21,000

    Like 1

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