Never-Restored Driver! 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

A rolling symbol of 1950s cool, the 1957 Chevy, especially in top Bel Air trim, topped the “most desirable” list of many a car enthusiast for decades. This never-restored 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air in Tucson, Arizona features nearly all of its original equipment including the straight six-cylinder engine and three-speed manual transmission. The seller says it runs and drives “great,” and the only items missing or not working are the heater and the rocker trim. The listing here on eBay features a Make Offer button along with the Buy It Now option if you need this desert chariot right away and don’t mind parting with $17,900.

Looking relatively clean and minty-fresh, the dash shows plenty of style and bling. The prominent speedometer begs to have its needle stretched above half-way, though the practical inline-six will be happier providing a lifetime of smooth reliable hours given more modest driving. The manual transmission and column shifter combine to form an effective anti-theft device in today’s world of 8+ speed automatics.

Both bumpers look great, and the trick hidden fuel filler brings a show-car touch to this sand-blasted classic. The mixture of primer and patina won’t thrill everyone, but some folks like the story told by an honest old car with worn paint. Once they’re painted, that story is lost. The Bel Air, named after the posh California neighborhood near Los Angeles, rolls out with extra trim and goodies.

Though not too exciting in the world of hot-rodding, the trusty Blue Flame inline-six will run forever with proper maintenance. Inherently balanced inline or “straight” six engines make more torque than an equivalent V8, earning them a spot under the bonnet of luxury automobiles and trucks, where owners prize smoothness and low-end power. Personally I’d deep-six the air filter for one larger than a tuna can but to each their own! The new owner could rip out this six-banger and replace it with any number of non-original motors, but it’s frankly more interesting to see at least one ’57 Bel Air that isn’t trying to be a tire-frying muscle car. What would you do with this iconic ’57?

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Comments

  1. Will Fox

    Oh look! Another rolling cliche. (yawn)

    Like 4
    • Dave

      Ummm, cliché? You mean icon.

      Like 19
  2. William Cockayne Member

    I would drive it like it is. We grew up driving Falcons, Econolines, Belvederes, etc. all 6 cyl. 3 on the tree. That and no A/C. Bring it on!

    Like 10
  3. Gaspumpchas

    Love it, would need a good inspection. This one repainted in original color would be sweet. I’d leave the six and the 3 on the tree. That little air cleaner, they look cool but they will plug up quickly in a dusty environment. Good luck and stay safe.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 10
  4. Steve

    Well that sold before I finished reading the article.

    Like 9
  5. Chris in Pineville

    wow. don’t see too many heater-delete cars.
    restoring or V-8ing this car would be criminal.
    hope the new owner will preserve and drive……

    Like 2
    • JW454

      This car has the standard heater. Most had the deluxe heater. If you look at the firewall you will see the heater motor.

      Like 2
  6. Ken Jennings

    My best friend in high school had a 57 2dr HT with a 283 3 speed (later he made it four on the floor). A really nice car that as I recall he paid $150 for. Not a spot of rust and present able paint too. I really miss the early 1970s.

    Like 11
  7. TimM

    Didn’t last long but the desirable ones never do!!

    Like 4
  8. Jimmy Holt

    Gimme a Wayne 12 port head on a gmc 292 six and go with that!

    Like 6
  9. Mark Johnson

    Just put 57 Chevrolet hubcaps on it, drive it and enjoy it. You can hot rod another less original car and leave this one as it is. Thanks!

    Like 5
  10. jerry z

    Someone paid $18K for that! Car looks nice but still needs a tremendous amount of work. I must be getting old.

    Like 6
    • Tom Member

      Agreed but…some work has been done and if the car is as solid as t looks you save a ton of money in not having to deal with all the usual rust, new body panels, welding, body work etc. IF IF IF you are looking to build your own with specifics.

      Otherwise go buy one done for 1/3 of the resto budget. Just had one in my shop, gave it some awesome upgrades, customer bought it reasonably, he is out driving it.

  11. Shaggin’ Wagon

    So much cooler like this, than resto-modded into another big dollar tri five.

    Like 4
  12. art

    The heater was an option, not standard equipment and thus a delete item. The fresh air heater cost $74.80 and the recirculating heater cost $48.15.

    Virtually everything on these cars were an extra cost option. If you did not pay for an option, it was not on the car. There was really so little standard equipment, not much was left to delete. A radio was an option, back-up lights were an option, even a full flow oil filter was an option costing $8.65 and on and on.
    When equipment we take for granted today doesn’t appear on a car of this era, many folks incorrectly assume that the “missing” equipment was deleted. It was just never optioned.

    Like 11
  13. Jay E.

    There should be a tri-five a day on Barn Finds. They are wonderful cars and, have low price entry points and are easy to work on. One of the best cars available for keeping the classic car movement alive.

    Like 3
  14. Joe Haska

    Its gone already sold, not sure what that means. I like the car and condition, but like Jerry said, I would be a little concerned at 18 K.

    Like 1
  15. Johnny

    Fix the interior . Check and fix what needs to be fixed and drive it. Nice old car.,but $18,000. I,ll pass. Theirs one in my cousins garage with a v-8 all original in better shape and I,m sure a guy could buy for alot less. I didn,t see any gold on it. Give the interior new parts ,paint it and enjoy it.

    Like 1
  16. Ray

    Since I already own a complete frame off customized 57 bel air i would restore this one to its original self. And make a daily ride out of it.

    Like 2
  17. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I had a 57 Bel Aire 2 door hardtop back in my youth. It was white with red interior. 283 v8 powerglide. Had deluxe heater, am radio, power steering and power brakes. It died while sitting at a highway construction zone and never started again. Pulled it to my brothers house where it remained until he sold it for $50.00 just to get it out of his yard.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  18. Stevieg

    Unfortunately, we will probably see this again as a V-8 powered hot rod real soon, probably with black paint & red -n- silver interior, or “restored”, fully loaded with also with a V-8, fender skirts, continental kit, so on.
    Me? I would repaint to original (even though I hate green & this, to me, is the worst shade…what I call Sears green), redo the interior to original, add underhood a/c just because (wouldn’t use it…prefer fresh air) & drive it. I really like this one too!

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