Nicely Equipped: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Survivor

It isn’t clear why the restoration of this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air stalled, but it did so back in 2000. It is one of those cases that stalled before it started, making this a blank canvas project for its next owner. This solid classic is nicely equipped and will turn heads once complete. As a bonus, it runs and drives, meaning that the next owner could immediately enjoy the classic ownership experience and complete the restoration work at their leisure. Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, you will find the Bel Air listed for sale here on Craigslist. The seller has set the price of admission at $12,000.

The ownership history of this Bel Air is slightly vague, but the seller believes that he is only the vehicle’s third owner. He also believes that the paint combination of Canyon Coral and India Ivory is original, and that the car has never received any restoration or repaint work. If this is accurate, the Bel Air presents well for its age. If the buyer wanted to drive it as an original survivor, that is a genuine alternative. However, a fresh coat of paint would have this classic sparkling. The panels are pretty straight, with no significant marks or blemishes. Its rust problems are minimal, which is no surprise for a vehicle that has spent its life in New Mexico. There are small spots in both front fenders and the driver’s door, but that seems to be the extent of its problems. The floors and frame are rock solid, with only the usual sprinkling of dry surface corrosion. Most of the external trim and chrome is excellent, although a couple of pieces sport some minor damage. The tinted glass shows no issues, and the overall impression is that this should be a pretty straightforward project.

Lifting the hood of this Chevy reveals its 283ci V8 that, equipped with a four-barrel carburetor, would have produced 220hp in its prime. The original owner equipped this classic nicely because bolted to that V8 is a two-speed Powerglide transmission, while the buyer will also receive power steering and power brakes. This is by no means a muscle car, but its ¼ mile ET of 17.9 seconds would have looked pretty respectable in 1957 for a family sedan capable of seating six people. The owner believes that all mechanical components are original and states that the Bel Air runs and drives. He says that the brakes require some attention, as does the suspension. He suggests that some minor items like ball joints are at the point where they need replacing, but it appears that there is nothing significant for the buyer to tackle. So if you purchased this classic and felt the open road calling, you could hit it immediately and enjoy the classic car ownership experience.

As we often see with feature cars here at Barn Finds, while a dry desert climate is excellent for preserving classic steel, it will take a toll on upholstered surfaces. This Bel Air is no exception because it is a strong candidate for an interior retrim. The basics are there, but the upholstered surfaces have succumbed to the ravages of time and UV rays. It remains serviceable, but if the buyer spent around $2,200 on a trim kit, they could return the inside of this classic to its factory best. It remains original and unmolested, with its factory AM radio intact in the dash. The original owner also chose to equip this classic with air conditioning, and while the compressor now sits in the trunk, the system appears to be complete. With fresh upholstery and the A/C system reinstated, life inside this Bel Air would be pretty pleasant.

Returning this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air to its former glory should not be a difficult undertaking. While the four-door sedan isn’t as popular as the two-door Hardtop, it represents a practical alternative for an enthusiast with a growing family. If the buyer didn’t want to complete the project immediately, the car could be driven and enjoyed as it currently stands. That will leave them with the choice of either returning it to a factory-fresh state or using it as the basis for a custom build. If you were to park this one in your workshop, which path would you follow?

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Comments

  1. Terry Mason

    What’s the price tag ?

    Like 2
    • robert semrad

      It wouldn’t take a lot to bring this one back to it’s former glory.

  2. Rw

    Two door post are the best off all tri 5s

    Like 1
  3. Terrry

    Finally, a decent tri-5 that’s not priced out of this world.

    Like 5
  4. Mikefromthehammer

    Too many doors.

    Like 1
  5. Jay E. Member

    The number of doors is irrelevant once you are sitting in the drivers seat, and 4 door 57’s are one of the nicest looking ones. It is so much fun to be able to pile kids or friends in and go for frostys and burgers. This is a perfect example of why I love ’57’s. Power steering, power brakes, A/C, auto and a V8! A very well equipped and rare car. And at an entry level price that is actually around 50% below market with only the interior and a sort of boring color holding it back from that price. You will not go wrong with this one in your garage. It would be in mine if I didn’t already own one.

    Like 12
  6. jay

    Ah, I miss the great cars of New Mexico!

    Like 2
  7. Mark C

    I’m glad not everyone likes 4 doors, as it gives cheapskates like myself plenty of options. I don’t like the color pink, but it somehow works for me here. Jay is right, this thing has a nice options list, and the price is quite fair. It’s not perfect, but it’s the perfect condition to drive it without worrying about scratches while still getting plenty of “thumbs up”. I hope a BF reader pounces on this, and I wish it was me!

    Like 5
  8. Ian Mackaye

    Four door, yuck. It’d be a cool car for a hot, goth chick that’s in high school…but that’s about it.

  9. Rw

    So nicely equipped it has 2 extra doors.

    Like 3
  10. Gary

    There is a 10,000 mile black version of this near me, been for sale for years at the same price. 6k daily driver to me

  11. fordor

    wow–my favorite car for a restomod; correct # of doors(and NOT those horrendous 8 foot long monstrosities with 2 doors and the crawl-over-your-back seats). Someday….

  12. Jon Gibson

    This is a perfect candidate for a four door to two door conversion. Woody’s Hot Rods is a good source to get it done.

    Like 1
  13. Stevieg Member

    I like the looks of the 4 door hardtop better, but the 4 door sedan like this is fine. It seems that the 2 door versions are so popular, I would prefer the 4 door.
    For $12,000, this is a great deal!
    My grandparents had a neighbor that had a ’56 Chevy sedan similar to this. I remember this old lady puttering up the street well into the 1980’s. It always impressed me.

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