Old School Drag Car: 1963 Chevrolet Bel Air

For most of the 1960s, the Bel Air was the mid-level choice when you bought a full-size Chevrolet. If you wanted something to haul the family around in but didn’t need all the comforts of the Impala, the Bel Air was your car (but if you wanted bare bones, you signed up for the Biscayne). This ’63 edition of the Bel Air 2-door sedan appears to have spent most of its active life at drag strips in and around Oklahoma City. It has some more modern touches, which means it was still racing not too long ago. From a dealer in Mustang, Oklahoma, this “old school” drag car is available here on craigslist for $16,900. It could be street legal with just a little work. Thanks for the fast tip, T.J.!

We don’t know anything about this Bel Air before its racing days. The original owner may have ordered it with a 327 V8, which was the engine of choice with the two gentlemen who took it out to local tracks back in the day. When they were racing it, the engine was paired with a 4-speed manual transmission and the decals on the hood indicate it won some awards before its 4th birthday. Their primary sponsor was Downtown Chevrolet in Oklahoma City, but a search on Google doesn’t turn it up as still being in business.

Fast forward to whenever and the 327 and 4-speed are gone in favor of a 383 “Stroker” V8 with some modifications that probably generated more speed. And a TH-350 automatic transmission became the choice for shifting gears. The dealer has it in running condition though you’d need to at least attach working windshield wipers if you wanted to drive it to Cars & Coffee. The decals and stickers are vinyl and can be removed, but why would you buy the car to do that?

From what we can see of the passenger compartment, things are strictly business. Racing-style bucket seats are up front, and a roll bar is in the back. No rear seat or door panels. Who needs all that stuff when you’re trying to do the quarter mile in 12 seconds? The body and paint all look really good, so a “restoration” was likely done at some point. I’m betting the next owner is someone who raced a car like this back in his/her own youth!


  1. Rw


    Like 4
  2. GCS Member

    I want the 4spd back. Thanks.

    Like 14
    • Walter

      And the 327 too..

      Like 6
  3. Dusty Rider

    I bought a ’63 BA in ’71 in Tucson, AZ, for $300. The back of the back seat was already toast from the sun. It was a 6cyl 3 spd with hang down air. I had to switch off the air to climb hills, not very steep ones either…

  4. T. Mann Member

    Our author should have caught this.
    This is Not a Bel Air
    No lower side trim!
    This is a 1963 Chevrolet Biscayne 2-door
    which was lighter and cheaper…

    Like 3
    • Big Block 4-Speed

      Wrong, it’s actually a de-trimmed Bel Air made to look like a Biscayne. Look at the chrome drip-rail moldings and lots of other things too…but I’ll let you learn on your own.

      I doubt this car was ever a “race car” back in the day, lol. If it had any provenance whatsoever, it would be way more money. People have no idea what they are looking at. It’s no wonder so many people get taken to the cleaners, lol.

  5. al

    love 1963 chevys had a nice one Impala 2 Dr ht 283 2 Barrell 195 hp 3 speed on the column great car

    Like 1
  6. Wayne

    The first car that I owned and “legally” drove on the street was the twin to this appearance wise. I was 15 when I bought it and drove it home after installing a rebuilt distributor ($13!) It was a 230 6 cylinder with a powerglide. No rust, perfectly straight and the interior was also in good condition. (this was 1966) It had just received a tune up, oil change, new tires, exhaust and shocks at Sears! (It had approx 120,000 miles on the odo.) When the owner got home it no longer started and he got mad and bought a new Mercury wagon and the Chevy sat in the driveway for 6 months before I bought it. I paid $100 and it was sitting in the driveway when my Mom got home driving her 1963 Impala 327 4BBl dual exhaust and 3 on the tree. I did a valve job at school while the other guys played with lawnmower engines. (freshman year) Junior year saw me get my license and I borrowed a 4.10 pumpkin from a buddy and went to US30 Dragway in Indiana. (I lived just across the line in Illinois) I raced in the 6 cyl. automatic class and won 1st place! (It was still slow) The next week installed a warmed over SBC that I has rebuilt in my basement when I was 13 & 14 years old. (my Mom was not too happy with me dragging the engine on the skid that I made up the stairs luckily, outside door was available) Once installed (a couple of days) I burnt out the powerglide in no time! (big surprise!) I sold the car minus the engine a couple of months later without the engine. (that went into the 1955 Chev BelAire convert that I bought that had a bad engine.) I sold the 1963 For $500!

    Like 6
  7. Frank

    Nice car at a reasonable price. My buddy has a bunch of nice cars including a 10,000 mile 62 plain jane 425 hp 409 four speed car that is a true unmolested all original street sleeper race car from day one. Beautiful car that was raced around Chicago and put away in the mid sixties.

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