Original Fuelie: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Here at Barn Finds, we are fortunate enough to see some amazing classics, and for Bow-Tie enthusiasts, this 1957 Bel Air would have to rate as a pretty special and desirable car. It is said to be a largely original survivor and has a documented 62,500 miles on the odometer. The fact that it also sports its original Rochester fuel-injected V8 engine is really icing on the cake. If you would love to own a car that is an absolute 1950s motoring icon, you will find the ’57 located in Englewood, Colorado, and listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is currently sitting at $31,700, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The owner of the Bel Air claims that the vast majority of the Onyx Black paint on the car is original, and while it might not be perfect, it is very impressive for a 62-year-old car. It looks like there might be a few minor paint flaws present, but with a black finish with this much shine to it, sometimes it can be hard to determine what is a flaw, and what is actually a reflection. The trim, chrome, and glass are all original and are in beautiful condition. Rust does not appear to be an issue with the car, and while the clear photos of the underside show a light dusting of surface corrosion, there is no actual rot present.

When it came to interior trim for potential ’57 buyers, it was almost a case of only being limited by your imagination. In fact, with the choice of materials and colors available, the Bel Air offered the buyer a total of 48 combinations. This particular Bel Air is finished in Black cloth and Red vinyl, and the look is perfect when viewed alongside the Onyx Black exterior. There isn’t a lot to criticize inside the car, although there might be some slight wear on the carpet beside the gas pedal. The wheel also appears to exhibit some fading on the rim, but as you can see from the good collection of photos accompanying this article, the interior looks to be quite stunning. It is hard to believe that it is original, but according to the owner, it is.

As if this car isn’t special enough as it is, lifting the hood reveals a numbers-matching 283ci V8, complete with its original Rochester fuel-injection. This engine, producing 250hp, sends its power to the road through a 3-speed manual transmission with optional overdrive. Interestingly, this is one area of the car that deviates from its original specifications. The car rolled off the line fitted with an automatic transmission. However, even though the conversion work has been performed, the original (and freshly rebuilt) transmission is included as part of the sale. Also included are all of the original ancillary transmission components, so the car can be returned to its original specifications quite easily.  Stopping power for the Bel Air is provided by power brakes. For your average mechanic in the 1950s, the fuel injection system could cause plenty of headaches, and it wasn’t unusual for this rather expensive piece of optional equipment to be removed and replaced with a carburetor. The owner claims that the FI system is original and that it has been recently serviced. The only deviation here has been the fitting of a later fuel pump, although the original unit is included with the car. The engine and transmission combination as fitted to the Bel Air resulted in a pretty potent car for its day. It could accelerate from 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds, and rip through the ¼ mile in 16.6 seconds. It might not sound that impressive by today’s lofty standards, but for car hailing from 1957 that could seat six people, it was pretty good.

It isn’t perfect, but this 1957 Bel Air is something pretty special. Even without that marvelous fuel-injected engine, it is still a car that ticks a lot of the right boxes. I’m pretty sure that we will have plenty of readers who would like to get their hands on it, and I don’t blame them in the least. Well, why not? You only live once.

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Finally! A desirable vintage high-performance car that hasn’t lost its driveline and/or been consumed by rust! Will wonders never cease….

    Seriously, I see this as the kind of car that will justly command hefty money, being more than a VIN plate and without a thousand details to correct. I remember the early FI units as being said to be difficult to keep in good tune, but that shouldn’t be such a problem today. And the value of seeing one when the hood is lifted is incalculable.

    Looking forward to seeing more cars of this caliber instead of rotted-out “K-code” Mustangs with empty engine bays and rust piles that bear a faint resemblance to Porsche 356es. And this car may sell for less than certain examples of the Hot Deals mentioned above, anyway.

    Nice writeup too, Adam!

    Like 36
    • Adam Clarke Staff

      Thank you for your feedback and kind words RayT. This one was an absolute pleasure to write about and is one that I wouldn’t mind parking in my driveway.

      Like 9
  2. Arthell64 Member

    This one may be worth buying. Nice

    Like 10
  3. Dusty Rider

    Very nice car, but the Fuel Injected ’57s I have seen had an air intake that wrapped over the radiator support for fresh, cooler air. The hood also had a indented spot in the hood brace for clearance. I’m no expert, but these cars are very interesting and that’s something I noticed and remembered.

    Like 4
    • Joe Trybulec

      The fresh air inlet was a NASCAR option and very rare. Not standard on the fuel injected engines. I have the blueprints for the special air inlet.

      Like 6
      • Dusty Rider

        The two I have seen also had electric wipers if I remember correctly, one of them did for sure.

  4. Doone

    As I recall the 57 283 fuel injected achieved 1 bhp per c i. That would make this one 283 bhp not 250.

    Like 3
    • Deacon

      The 283,283hp engine was only available in the corvette,and it came with a 2 four barrel carburetor set up

      Like 2
      • Doone

        We’re both almost right, lol, following is from wikipedia.
        Another optional engine was offered with two four barrel carburetors, the legendary “Duntov” cam and solid lifters. This engine produced 270 hp. 1957 was the first year that Chevrolet ever offered fuel injection as an option. A 283 cu in (4,640 cc) engine fitted with solid lifters, the “Duntov” cam and fuel injection was rated at 283 hp (211 kW) and cost $500.[7][8] This was the first time in history that a General Motors vehicle achieved 1-hp-per-cu-in in a production

        Like 7
  5. JoeNYWF64

    I wonder which fuel injection was more troublesome & not that understood – this, or the later cross(cease) fire injection. lol

    Like 6
  6. XMA0891

    It has been a long time since a ’57 has come across that I’d actually like to own.
    Love the three-on-the-tree, back-in-the-day conversion!
    Even thought to add overdrive!
    This one is a beauty!
    Great find!

    Like 9
  7. Will Fox

    Oh look everyone!! It’s a rolling cliche!! (eye roll)

    Like 1
    • Mountainwoodie

      Yes but…that’s a function of time………..if its as claimed original AND a fuelie……who care what you see in the rear view mirror of the auto hobby. N’Est Ce Pas?

      Like 1
  8. 86_Vette_Convertible

    This is one car I’d love to have in the garage! Even though it was converted from a powerglide to 3 speed overdrive unit, IMO it doesn’t decrease the value of the car. I have no idea what it will ultimately go for, but I’m betting it will garner a pretty price.
    As has been stated, this is one beautiful car that almost anyone that grew up in the 60’s would give their eye teeth for.

    Like 4
  9. Joe Machado

    A ton of you should be bidding that have said you cannot handle rust or have time to do a car. Here is a simpletons vehicle, no matter the price. Its an easy car to do.
    So, win the bid, no excuses. Mozzy workin on it.
    These bring more attention than modified. All modifides look alike.
    No excuses. No excuses.
    I had 55’s and my Dad a New 57. I did not care for or like these. Cheap cars and was one of the Low Priced 3.
    Nice to see a Virgin car

    Like 3
  10. BobM

    This car is also for sale on the CLASSIC INVESTMENTS web site in Englewood, CO with a “buy it now” of $80,000 so that gives an idea of the eBay reserve. It is a beautiful and rare car, I believe less than a 1,000 were built and it makes sense that this one was probably used as a dealer demonstrator. If memory serves, both the 250hp (9.5:1 compression and hydraulic lifters) and 283hp (10.5:1 compression and solid lifters) fuel injection engines were available as passenger car options.

    Like 3
    • Camaro guy

      Correct Bob they were as well as a solid lifter dual quad 270hp motor and the power pac hydraulic cam dual quad 245hp motor and 245 was available with PG but not the 270

      Like 2
  11. grease

    Not seeing a floor shifter for the 3 speed conversion. Can’t believe anyone would go to that effort to end up with a 3 on the tree setup – possibly pics are pre- conversion as I can’t make out a clutch pedal in the pics either.

    Like 1
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      Check the picture through the drivers door and you’ll see the 2 pedals. IIRC 3 on the tree with overdrive was an option when this was built. Pure guess: may have wanted to keep it period correct but that’s just a guess.

      Like 2
  12. Bing

    BIG money car for sure… wow, wish I found it.

  13. Jack Quantrill

    Rich kid in Downey, CA had one of these. At the local drive in, pal begged to drive it. Got ticket within 5 minutes!

    Like 4
    • Joe Machadoo

      Harveys Broiler. Been there many times, 1962-1965

      Like 2
  14. Little_Cars

    You can tell prices have leveled off for Tri-Fives when a fuel injected specimen as nice as this is stalled at $30k and change. Good luck to the new owner if they can meet the BIN.

    Like 5
  15. ACZ

    This is the stuff that dreams are made of.

    Like 2
  16. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    57 was a good year for body styles. I’ve owned a 57 bel aire and a 57 Ford Fairlane both were 2 door hardtops. I’m not biased toward either one I loved them both. My brother had a 57 Desoto and my cousin had a 57 Plymouth convertible. I’ve always liked all American cars from 57.
    God bless America

    Like 6
    • ACZ

      John, that’s funny. I had a 58 Chevy, a 58 Ford, a 58 Cadillac, a 58 Rambler American, a 58 Buick. and a 58 Plymouth between Junior and Senior years in High School. And learned to drive on my Dad’s 57 Chevy. The 50s were filled with good cars.

      Like 7
      • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

        Amen to that. I also owned some 58 models over the years: 58 Olds Fieste S/W, 58 Chevy Impala 2dr hdtp. 58 Chevy Del Rey 4 dr sedan. And lots of other cars from the 50’s and 60’s. At 72 years I can honestly say it was the best years of my life even if I did struggle financially.
        God bless America

        Like 4
  17. JoeNYWF64

    I wonder if any like the above car were built with a/c, p/w & [can’t tell if this car has] p/s.
    Here the red floor mats complement the black carpet & rest of interior well.
    I would think red carpet would not look that good here.

  18. GrandpaDawg

    Love the 57 Chevy found a convertible with no reverse when I was stationed in South Carolina in early 66 guy wanted $100 for it gave him a deposit next day got my orders for Vietnam pulled out of deal. Still kicking myself till this day it was in good shape black same colors but think all cloth seats White Top

    Like 3
  19. TimM

    Perfect example of high out put in 1957!! This car is gem would love to own this one!!!

  20. Philip Bregar

    The pic of the dash shows Gr on the PRNDL, meaning that the car started with a Turboglide, not a Powerglide. A friend of mine in HS had a ’58 sedan with a 348 and TG. My ’58 Chevy Yeoman came with a 283 Powerglide (cast iron), and I think the trans weighed as much as the engine. I converted it to 3 on the tree from one of my parts cars. But…I covered up the PRNDL.

  21. ACZ

    In the early to mid 60s, Chevrolet carried two kits in their parts books for changing out a Turboglide trans. One kit was to convert to a three on the tree and the other was to convert to a Powerglide. One part number with all the parts needed for particular application.

    Like 2
  22. Troy s

    Which of these ’55-57 Chevy’s were called the black widow? I remember reading an article about these years ago but had forgotten all about it until I saw this black ’57. The car I’m thinking of may have been a thinly disguised race car.

  23. GrandpaDawg

    The 57 210 sedan was nicknamed the Black Widow which was fuel injection

    • ACZ

      Are you sure? Seems I remember seeing one and it was a One-fifty. Side trim is a dead giveaway.

      Like 2
  24. Jack Pruett Member

    I imagine this car with overdrive had either a 3.70 or 4.11 gear. Since it has the 283 HP engine it should have done better than 16.6 in the quarter. People had a lot of respect for the way they ran back in the 50s and 60s.

    • Marty Parker

      I agree it would have run better than 16.6 in the quarter mile, however, this is not the 283 HP engine. It’s a 250 HP engine with hydraulic lifters. also, if it actually came from the factory with automatic transmission it would have 3.36 gears.

      Like 1
  25. Del Gray

    A most wonderful car !

    Better than most stuff we see here.

    Bidding in excess of 40 but I see its listed elsewhere for about 80.So its unlikely to meet reserve.

    What is holding it back is that silly transmission swap. Bad move to do that.

    Like 2
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Your right about the reserve Del. Ended:Nov 01, 2019 , 11:22AM
      Current bid:
      US $40,100.00 [ 19 bids ]
      Reserve not met

      Like 1
  26. Little_Cars

    “Well bought” at $40k. I hope it is lovingly preserved and driven — its intended purpose.

    • Del

      No one bought it. Reserve was not met.

      Like 1

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