Original and Complete: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

Some words get hurled around in the classic car world, and these tend to cause people to grit their teeth whenever they hear them. One of these words is “icon.” However, the 1957 Bel Air does deserve that tag, as it has been a coveted model in the classic scene for decades. This ’57 Convertible will need to be restored, but it is an original and unmolested vehicle that would make a great starting point. It has generated plenty of interest since the owner listed it for sale here on eBay. It is located in Toledo, Ohio, and bidding currently sits at $32,100. With the reserve now met, this classic’s new life appears to be right around the corner.

The first piece of good news with this Bel Air is that it does appear to be complete. There have been plenty of components and trim pieces removed, but these all seem to be present and accounted for. It’s also nice to see that the car is original and unmolested. As is the case with vehicles from this era, rust was their mortal enemy from day one. However, there is no evidence that this Bel Air has ever undergone any rust repairs. That isn’t to say that there is no rust now, but at least the person who addresses this isn’t going to have to contend with rectifying previous dodgy repair work. The floors show minor holes, and while these could easily be patched, I think that the potential value of this classic would justify going the whole hog and replacing them. There is also some minor rust in areas like the trunk lid, but these could easily be patched. The panels do have a few dings and dents, but these are minor and easy to rectify. All of the trim is present, and it should virtually all respond well to a clean and polish. It is nice to see that this Convertible is equipped with a power top, although the frame will need to be restored, and the top itself will require replacement.

As is the case with the rest of the vehicle, the Bel Air’s interior is complete, but it has been disassembled. The existing seat covers are a combination of Grey and Ivory, and while it isn’t clear exactly which shade of paint the exterior wore, the owner does indicate that it was a yellow of some form. This would have made this an attractive vehicle that would have turned heads when new. The buyer will have plenty of work ahead of them, but they will be starting from a reasonable base. This photo also allows an opportunity to see the floors. You can see that the rust issues here are pretty minor.

The word “power” receives a fair old run in the owner’s listing, and for a good reason. He talks about Powerglide, power steering, and power brakes. This Bel Air features all of these, along with the 4-barrel version of the 283ci V8. In keeping with the theme of originality, the engine is numbers-matching. With 220hp on tap, this would have been a spritely performer when it was new. The power features also would have made it effortless to drive and enjoy. It isn’t clear whether the engine turns freely, but since the Bel Air will need to be dismantled entirely if justice is to be done to it, that should offer the chance for everything to be treated to a refresh.

This 1957 Bel Air Convertible is a car that amply demonstrates how iconic these vehicles are. As I write this article, there have been an incredible 69 bids submitted on this classic. Talk is cheap, but people are willing to put their money where their mouth is on this one. Can there be a better demonstration of the stature of these cars in the classic world? I can’t think of one myself.

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Comments

  1. Turbo

    No thanks. For what the price has climbed to (and still almost 2 days to go), I would rather put the money towards something I could drive. This will probably be a hot rod/restomod. For this kind of money, and considering it will be totally gone through, you could start with one of the new aftermarket bodies, and suspensions with modern geometry and brakes are available. Yes, I know that a lot more needs to go into it than a body and a frame, but if you are updating/replacing everything, you may be ahead starting all new. I prefer a decent original, but this will never be a decent original – they are only original once.

    Like 9
  2. Chris Rodenberg

    If I remember right numbers did not match until early 60’s in 57 the numbers on the motor would specify that motor was specific to 1957 Chevy, I have sold several motors from that era and the numbers indicate what car it was built for, not a specific 57 Chevy. That is what I have read True OR not True?

    Like 3
  3. Dave

    You can buy a Real Deal Steel body a lot less.

    Like 1
  4. sourpwr Member

    “Nothing has been done to this top dollar all American icon since it left the assembly line in 57!” The only thing true in that sentence is “Top Dollar”. Just pieces parts to me.

    Like 2
  5. DON

    I like how some of these sellers put a photo of a beautiful restored car in the listing with their tired beat old ratbag car photos

    Like 5
  6. Dusty Stalz

    Calling this car unmolested is like saying that Challenger is still in one piece.

    Like 2
  7. Mike

    Looking at a car that has been stripped down, parts everywhere and reading –

    “Never touched” “Nothing has been done to this since it left the assembly line in 1957!”

    Like 1
  8. Terry

    I agree with Turbo. For that kind of money, I would rather start with a Roadster Shop chassis and a Real Deal Steel Convertible body. The shape this car is in, it is almost a donor. I just restored a 66 Chevelle SS and I would never do it again. The so called no rust car from E-bay motors was full of rust and I would have been further ahead to rebody it and use the car I bought a a donor.

    Like 1

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