One Family Since New: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

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Here’s an unusual find; an almost 60 year old car that has stayed in one family and been really well-cared for its entire life. The seller of this fantastic 57 Chevrolet Bel Air two door sedan for sale here on craigslist in Cream Ridge, New Jersey says it is a one family owned car. However, the seller is evidently not a member of that family, but acquired it from the original owners, who had kept it in storage.

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The current owner then got it ready to be a daily driver and is now selling it to make a profit. There’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion, but I’m guessing the asking price of $29,500 is considerably more than the original owners got for this beautiful original car.

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The seller calls it a time capsule and the pictures certainly back up that claim.

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This Chevy is said to have never been stored outside and has no rust, with mostly original paint. It has some minor flaws, but that’s to be expected of any 60 year old unrestored car.

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The car was stored for some time in a local garage, but since being put back on the road, the brakes have been done and a tuneup completed. According to the seller, the engine runs well, but smokes a bit when first started. So there may be some additional mechanical work yet to be done here.

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This is a six cylinder example with an automatic transmission, so you lead foots should look elsewhere. Many families in that era did not want to pay extra for the less fuel efficient, more powerful eight0cylinder engines that were so heavily promoted by Chevrolet. So it is somewhat unusual today to find a Bel Air that is not motivated by the now more popular small block V8 engine.

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The seller says that everything works aside from the clock. No fancy electric options here to break down. And the underside of this car is definitely in amazing condition. It’s claimed there is no rust in the floors and not even any under the floor mat – which is original to the car and looks amazing too. It’s wearing a set of wide white bias ply tires that look right for the car too.

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Collectors of original cars will be pleased to know that this car comes with the original sales receipt, warranty documents, owners manual, options catalog, all of which are original to the car. The title has been transferred once within the family in 1984.

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In 1957, Chevrolet had a spectacular sales year and managed to take 25.7% of the new car market in the United States. Today, there may not be a more ubiquitous collector car. Many of us tend to dismiss these cars, just because we see so many of them. But many people really do love them and for good reason; they’re great looking, are roomy comfortable cruisers, and are dead easy to maintain. There is probably no 57 Chevy part that is not available in some form; NOS, used or repop.

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For collectors, resale values will be strong, so a well bought 57 Chevy is a great investment. This car seems to be special enough for its originality and condition, to make it very desirable to many Chevy fans. Give it points for being a two-door Bel Air and maybe even because it is powered by the six cylinder engine while most Bel Airs have eights.

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It’s not easy to categorize a survivor against the price guides’ condition levels, but my research suggests that even though it is in great survivor condition, this example might be worth something closer to the $25,000 range. Maybe…

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Oh yes, did I forget to mention that this is also a low mileage car? Maybe some of our knowledgeable readers will have something to say about this car and its value. Would you pay a premium for a survivor class car like this one?

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Comments

  1. Matt picaro

    It’s on eBay auction ending in 2 hours, 10pm est ! This car will not disappoint!!

    • DrinkinGasoline

      And You are the seller ?? Longshot guess there…

  2. Len

    I’m calling my father right now! This is what he has been looking for. Hopefully he is in a favorable and friendly mood.

  3. Len

    Wait, I think my bank is open tomorrow.

  4. z1rider

    Robert Cumberford, who writes a monthly column for Automobile magazine, worked in the design studio for GM in the 50’s. He wrote a column about the 57 a few years back. In it he stated that the 1958 restyle which was extensive (a lower and longer body) was intended for the 57 model year. At some point they realized they were not going to make the timing and so they had to do a rush job to update the 56 for release as a 57. Interesting and ironic that a car that was not originally planned for the Chevrolet portfolio became one of the all time most popular.

  5. DrinkinGasoline

    I’d prefer the ’58 as it had more pleasing,flowing lines, as well as a more comfortable interior in my opinion. The Ford in ’57, which outsold the Chevy, had more subdued lines. I’ve never understood why the Chevy of this year garnered so much attention in later years, with it’s bulbous roof line, shallow width, and over zealous front and rear bumpers. And yet, there are those who would complain about the over sized 5 mph bumpers in the early 70’s……strange.

  6. Rocco

    What does the option TT for $35.00 stand for on the sales receipt? Plus I don’t see an option charge for the spinner hub caps. A plain jane (no radio) optioned car with spinner hub caps.

    • Charles

      TT =Tax and Title fees!

    • GOPAR

      TT=Two-tone paint

  7. jeff6599

    Will all those who feel that the 1957 Ford had more subdued lines than the same year Chevrolet please comment right now?
    Jeff

    • Rocco

      I’m a Ford guy, but it’s hard to beat the looks of a ’57 Chebby. I even like the sedan over the hardtop.
      I did hear that the ’57 Ford outsold the the ’57 Chebby. Can anyone document one way or the other with stats?

      • DrinkinGasoline

        It’s not a matter of “being able” to document 1957 U.S. Auto Manufacturer sales numbers as it is a well known fact, so there is no need for that clutter. That’s not a jab towards Chevrolet, but merely a fact.
        I’m not saying that this vehicle should be overlooked by no means, because it certainly should not ! Chevrolet earned it’s place in U.S. automotive history, just as Chryslers, Hudsons,Studebakers, etc., and all of the makes of the time. All of them should be appreciated. What I stated is…..My opinion concerning styling and my preferences. I’ve played with all of them, from the Avanti to the Zephyr over the years and what I stated was a matter of opinion.

      • David Wilk Member

        1957 sales according to Wikipedia
        Ford 1,676,449
        Chevy 1,505,910

        By comparison Hudson sold 4180 cars that year

  8. jeff6599

    Oh yes, Ford certainly did.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Wow….for any manufacturer to sell over one million cars in 1957, let alone multiple manufacturers posting those figures, given the U.S. population at the time….Americans had a love affair with their cars ! Those were the days when European’s desired American cars…What happened that Americans now want the “jelly bean shaped” Euro cars now? I’m thinking that we’ve become lazy in acceptance. Complacent. The U.S. used to set the standard.

  9. Woodie Man

    Well………they’re only original once so someone will get a really interesting car. As for the ’57 Ford…., I think it is way fussier than the ’57 Chevy…that said a ’57 Ranchero is on my bucket list!

  10. Paul R

    Its a post car and a six banger. Nuff said.
    No radio, back-up lights or front bumper rubber Dagmar’s .. If bought right it could be made a desirable car. It’s gotta have a V-8!

  11. Vince Habel

    Too nice to put a V8 in it. Leave it the way it is except the few things in the interior. I had one of these with a 283 automatic. I liked my 57 Golden Hawk better.

  12. bowtiecarguy

    @Rocco TT is tax and title I bet, although in 1957 NJ did not have a sales tax

  13. Fran

    Why would a car with family history ever be sold like that? But then again there is an a*& for every seat at that price for a thin metal underside.

  14. kenzo

    The drivers door and front seat look a tad worn for 43k miles

  15. John

    TT in my day meant tutone paint. Good lord, this car is from my day. yikes.

  16. Canso Mike Member

    I wonder why there is no Blue flame decal on the engine or jacking instructions in the trunk.

  17. Chris A.

    Well it sure is a better looking car than the ’47 Hudson Coupe used as the trade in. The 1958 was such a change from the ’57s and then there was a recession that hit. I don’t think Chevy sold anywhere near as many ’58s as they did the prior year.

    Like 1
  18. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    This car is suspicious with those full spinner wheelcovers. Totally out of place. I agree about the missing items for a 43k mile car.

    Too many zeros in the asking price IMHO.

  19. duckflower

    These are my 57s, I like both of them very much :)

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