Next To The Barn: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

1957 Bel Air Convertible

For having been parked next to the barn, instead of in it, this ’57 Bel Air Convertible is surprisingly intact. Having spent its entire life in Pennsylvania and the past 45 of those years sitting outside, you’d think it would have already turned to a pile of rust. Now don’t get me wrong, it was definitely on its way there, but I think the seller got to it soon enough that someone can save it. Bel Air prices aren’t quite what they once were, but being a convertible makes it quite a bit more desirable! If you’ve been looking for a ’57 convertible to restore and don’t mind fixing rust, you can find this one here on eBay in East Earl, Pennsylvania with a current bid of $15k.

1957 Bel Air Convertible Floors

So obviously this thing is going to need new floors and lots of patch work. The seller notes that the passenger’s door latch is stuck shut, which could mean the door latch is damaged or the more likely of scenarios, that the body is flexing so much the door can’t open. I know they make every piece of metal for these, but I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t be easier and cheaper to buy a reproduction body.

1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible

Besides needing lots of rust repair, it also needs a powertrain and an interior. It left the factory with the 235 cui inline six, which is a good little motor, but no V8. I wouldn’t be surprised if the car was parked because the previous owner was planning on upgrading it with a V8 and only got as far as pulling the engine and transmission. While it wouldn’t be too difficult to find and install a 283, you will want to upgrade the brakes, suspension and rear end if you want a safe and fun car to drive. That probably isn’t a huge issue considering that it needs just about everything anyways. So do you think this convertible is worth taking on or is it beyond saving?

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Comments

  1. Cassidy

    Nice car, guess whoever sold it finally figured out he’s not going to restore it. No surprise that it turned into a Flintstonemobile! Yabadabado!

    Not knowing the cost of reproduction parts vs restoring this rusty beast, but personally, I think I’d rather have a restored car instead of a reproduction car. Since it will never be all orginal, doing a combination of both makes sense, as long as there’s no difference between the 2 as far as fit and finish.

    Definitely upgrade the drivetrain along with the brakes, a convertible is a showpiece that needs to drive as well as it looks

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Any vehicle needs to operate as well as it looks :)

  2. DrinkinGasoline

    15K?? Good Lord, Someone please hit the seller with a dose of Narcan. The seller is obviously addicted to Heroin. At the very “least” it’s going to take an investment of another 15K on top of the ridiculous bidding to make this vehicle presentable.
    30K involved in a non-numbers matching car? I’m thinking, some have more money than they have common sense. I’ve got extra Narcan for the winning bidder also….

    Like 1
    • Blade~

      Actually those cars can bring good money when restored. I purchased a ’59 Cad convertible for similar price, was also sitting outside on east coast for over 20 years. Yes probably $25-30K for full restoration but it turned out to be an original special order car, when completed can bring $140-150K. I am not planning to sell it though.

  3. John C.

    Wow! That’s only 20 minutes from me, Amish country. not something I’m interested in right now though.

  4. Kincer Dave Member

    If you got the money this could be really nice,I found new bodies for $17,500 but then you need fenders and hood another $2500, oh then you need interior, motor, trans, everything underneath blasted, painted, rebuilt. If I had an unlimited budget and wanted to build it my way I’d do it, being as I don’t I’d look for a driver that’s done and get in and go. This would have to be a labor of love project because it’s gonna be costly to do it right.

  5. Mr. Bond

    Might need to flush the gas tank before …. oh never mind. It was a pretty car in it’s day!

  6. G.P. Member

    Even if I ever won the lottery for a hundred million, I would not pay this kind of cash for something this rotten. And then pay who knows how many times that to make it a car again.

    • Bill Parmenter

      …. figure on spending another $15,000 to bring it back …..

      We get them at our local car shows all the time – RESTORED – about $20k

  7. JW454

    It would be nice to know the story behind this ole’ girl. Seventies wheels, missing engine, what happened to all it’s missing parts? One of these is only my “Lottery” list but, this one’s not what I had in mind.

    • Chebby

      Exactly! The missing parts and hooptie wheels don’t add up to “original owner parked the car and left it.” Also the driver’s door seems to be from a seafoam green car.

      These cars were worth big bucks even in the 80s, so it’s amazing that it was allowed to rot for so long.

  8. MikeK

    The A/C probably needs a recharge.

  9. Steve

    57 Chevy Bel Air Convertible. One of the few cars that would actually be worth restoring in this condition. A perfect candidate for restomod. Replace the rusty chassis with modern running gear; throw in an LS3 engine, done right by a top shop would fetch 6 figures, of that I have no doubt.

  10. Pete

    This one seems to me to be an ideal project for a dyncorn body and frame swap. If you have the original title and data plate it would worth the effort of doing it up right. Even if you wanted to drop a V8 in it you could still make money on it. So basicly take the gas cap off and slide another car under it. Love the color combo. Tempting.

  11. Skip

    What a shame that such a classic has been allowed to get into this shape. Just as I was getting out of the car here at the library earlier a gorgeous and immaculate ’57 Bel Air wagon was leaving. I would’ve liked to have seen that one close-up.

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