Parked Since ’73: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

You are looking at what the seller claims is a 4,883 (actual) mile survivor! The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air has to be one of the most iconic classic cars in history. Even most non-car people know about a ’57 Chevy. This one looks like a true survivor and has apparently been in storage since 1973. It can be found here on eBay with a current bid of over $30,000 and was supposedly owned by the same family from 1957 to 2019. Now being sold by MFD Classic Motors – Classic Car Paddocks in Traverse City, MI, the car is seeing very strong bidding. Take a look at this car and let us know what your impression is.

The interior is really bright and the upholstery, dash, and door panels look awesome. The rear seat looks like it hasn’t been sat on at all and the floor and the underside of the dash look like they are brand new. With regard to the interior, this car needs nothing but maybe a light cleaning.

The engine compartment is probably the biggest drawback to this car. You can see it has clearly sat for a while and needs a freshening up to match the rest of the package. The engine is a 283 2-barrel and the seller says the oil is old but clean. The seller cleaned out the fuel line and added fresh gas. It now fires up and runs well although the radiator has some leaks and the water pump is noisy.

The car was repainted at some point and in this photo, you can see some discoloration to the finish, especially behind the rear wheel openings. The seller thinks that the clear coat is turning color. Hopefully a cut and buff will take care of that, but the new owner had a better plan on a re-spray if you are going to win any shows.

Here you can see the stark contrast between the exterior color and the door frame. I fear a cut and buff will probably not be enough to bring back the luster of the body, but since the car has apparently been repainted once there’s really no problem with doing it again. In fact, if the buyer chooses the same paint color, the prep work won’t be too bad and the car can probably be re-sprayed with only minor disassembly. If this was your car, would you repaint it?


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  1. art

    Old oil but looks clean? Radiator leaks? Water pump failing?
    How cheap can one get?
    Also, maybe spring $20 and find a window crank for the drivers door?
    Buyer are letting sellers get away with a lot these days.
    Car is otherwise nice looking but inspection vital based on this info…yikes.

    Like 22
    • al

      i agree although this is a nice looking car i fear that its going to be an onion once you start unpeeling it . i think this one is better left to a true car rebuilder as its going to need a lot of work to become roadworthy,. anything mechanical thats sits still is not a good outcome. defintely not one i would jump at right away wihout some very close examination

      Like 1
    • lyle zurflu

      Looks like a lot of work! All new rubber, lines flushed and replaced, paint job (all paint jobs require base and clear unless you use 1 stage paint), brake job, rust removal, etc

      Like 1
  2. JOHN Member

    I’d just add a wheel/tire package and rive it! Almost too nice to mess with, and you are right, that interior is BRIGHT!!!

    Like 2
    • JOHN Member

      Are those courtesy door lights original? Not a 57 expert by any means, but don’t remember seeing them before. Also, speaking of lights, the underhood look to be later GM, or is that design that old?

      • Joanne / Fred Alexander

        Door Lights are Not original – – – in all the 57 Chevys I’ve seen , appraised, bought /sold have never seen these – –

      • Fred Alexander

        Door Lights are Not original – – – in all the 57 Chevys I’ve seen , appraised, bought /sold have never seen these – –

  3. Socaljoe

    So the car was 16 years old and already had a repaint when parked and I’m supposed to believe the miles are original? I call BS

    Like 34
    • SusanOliver

      Yes, and what is this about clear coat? If it has been in storage since 1973, were we even using clear coat then? I think not. Besides, who wants a 57 when you can have a 56?

      Like 16
      • ken tillyUK Member

        Hi Sue. How about, just about everybody ?

        Like 11
      • MrMustang

        I’d much rather have a 57 over a 56 but I’m a Mustang guy, what do I know about Chebys?

        Like 3
      • Roger

        58 Chev would be my choice.

        Like 2
      • Rattlehead

        a 55 for me please?

        Like 3
  4. Classic Steel

    I think its a sweet ride needing a run through on engine with new hoses, radiator to shop to boil out and flush and clean / or find chrome breather.
    I am aways a fan of no post tri fives👍👀
    The ask is probably close on being a one owner and a good body to boot is rare in my book.
    My first car in late 78 was a 55 Chevy two door hardtop with a 327 340 horsepower, headers with caps, Holley carb, four speed with inline shifter
    That was jet black with buckets. The 12 bolt pushed the chrome reverses with caps to light up and spin to get traction 1/4 runs late nights in the country 🏁

    Like 5
  5. Doc

    Needs a full refurbishment. Best part is the selling dealer cheaping it out will not meet reserve unless some buyer is that dumb to over pay. Be smarter to find one in the $30k-$50k value done

    Like 5
  6. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    I find the poor state of the engine compartment to be surprising for such a claimed low-mileage car. That and the state of the exterior finish. I can only attribute these issues to either poor storage conditions or the low mileage claim is bogus. Like SusanOliver, I never heard of clear coat paint back in the early ’70s; clear coat didn’t come along until the late ’80s. The finish is a mess; maybe you can clean it up with good cutting compounds or fine sandpaper but you might be looking at a re-paint. The winning bidder will pay a quite a bit for this ’57 Chevy at the auction’s end. He/she had better be prepared to spend even more money to correct the finish, address mechanical issues, replace the tires and clean up under the hood.

    Like 12
    • Chuck

      I’m also a bit skeptical about that mileage claim.

      I bought a brand new 1973 VW 412 sedan with a factory applied clear-coat paint job. I know that Porsche, Audi and Mercedes also had factory clear-coat then, maybe others did too. So, yeah. There was clear-coat in ’73.

      Like 1
  7. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Have to agree on the missing window crank missing, why wouldn’t you replace it? The trunk script looks to be laying in the trunk, bent. How do you bend that taking it off and why was it taken off in the first place? Third item is what is that cable that looks to be cut off on the drivers door? There’s also surface rust where the seals contact on the trunk and doors. If the radiator leaks, why would you dump in stop leak instead of fixing the radiator and water pump if both need replacing and trying to sell the car for top $$?
    It’s a good looking car overall but still will take work and $$ to make it into a show car IMO. I suspect there will be more work and cost than many will think about, even things like original tires? Does that mean it needs to be trailered for now to it’s next home? Whether it’s worth the asking $$ or not depends on the pockets of whoever is thinking about buying it.

    Like 6
    • Bellingham Fred

      The missing window crank has reappeared in a later picture. That cut off cable seems to me to be the wiring for the after market courtesy lights. I looked at all the pix on eBay including the ones at the bottom from the dealership. That wiring is on both doors and it appears to be a short waiting to happen.

      Like 1
  8. Del

    To many small things wrong for this amount of coin.

    Fix it up first.

    Like 7
  9. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Do not drive this car any distance without first servicing/replacing water pump, radiator and all hoses lest you want to scorch the engine. Also make sure the brakes are working properly, This car should be shipped to new location before going through it attending all needed safe operating areas.
    Good luck to the new owner.
    God bless America

    Like 3
    • Dickie F

      And I believe a 50s car needs a lot larger cooling system, when it arrives in 2019.
      A upgrade is required.

      Like 3
  10. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Nice car but needs lots of attention to detail. It’s not a buy and drive car at this point.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  11. Bob McK Member

    I would believe that the mileage is 104,883. That would make this a nice car. If it only has 4,883 miles on it, this car is rough.

    Like 6
  12. skibum2

    So many experts have no idea about the odometer do they…Oh well…and as for clear coat, I was using that when I painted cars in the early 70’s…..After owning over a hundred tri five chevys I have to say this is a nice one.. however I am done restoring cars as it has gotten too expensive for a old school mechanic…good luck to the new owner..

    Like 3
  13. jimmy the orphan

    That engine bay didn’t get to looking like that in less than 5k miles. This is a nice 57′ but why did it ever need to be repainted? Its not worth what’s been bid on it. I have enough tri5’s now. There’s to many sellers trying to hide to much so they can try to get to much. There’s still some of us old boomers around to say ” Hey wait a minute ” Later……………………JIMMY

    Like 2
  14. TheotherScottie

    Over 100?

  15. Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car! It’s awesome to see an original survivor. It may not be a show car, but so what? Cars like these were meant to be driven. Repaint it if you wish. But as long as everything works like it should, drive it! Enjoy it! That’s why I’m not a fan of the $30k price. I like to be able to have someone inspect the car before I buy.

    Like 1
  16. Jay E.

    The speedos are so easy to unhook, the mileage could be anything. I’m with Fordguy. Why would it need a repaint at 4K? Even iof it needed a repaint, why was the inside of the trunk painted, and why has that clearcoat “faded” Seems mis represented to me. I’d far prefer a 57 over a 56, and this “no post” is the best version. Don’t think it will go for much more, although it is awfully nice. Repainting it will be expensive and replacing every 60 year old bushing, weatherstrip and seal is tedious.

    Like 4
    • JOHN Member

      We used to disconnect the speedometer cable when we drove the family car… even my older sister’s knew how!

      Like 1
      • shanahan

        My brother’s friend made old cars feel young. For $20. he’s knock off as many miles as you wanted. 4k, no way.

        Like 1
  17. JET

    That’s exactly what a car should look like after sitting for forty some years.

  18. Bob Mulhall

    This car looks like a well maintained 105,000 mi car …..A total repaint is in order and pull the drivetrain and start over..$20,000 + $20,000 restoration would = a $40,000 Chevy,,just my thoughts…..

    Like 1
  19. moosie moosie


  20. Al

    “The Brake master cyclinder was full of crystalized fluid, which has been cleaned out and new fluid added. The
    brakes are now working.”

    that should read the brakes are working for now !!!!! that cars going to need some serious looking at before it can be driven on the road

  21. Joanne / Fred Alexander

    Mileage claim doubtful unless documented. regardless you’ll pour another $15K – $20K into this car to meet its potential as a low miler one owner.
    It is a nice vehicle but the Tredalvac brake booster most likely needs rebuild – — “Cleaned” the master cylinder = = that’ll have to go – – – dents on top of radiator from a mechanic pounding it eith his fist to pur nuts and bolts on when servicing or repairing??
    Radiator, heater core new tires window crank (good luck finding a good used one – – – or NOS that matches, Speedo cable needs lubricating – – -this I’d do before ever going on the road – – –
    I apprenticed on these plus my 57 Pontiac Laurentian Sport Coupe (2Dr HT) that I had owned for 40 years — in Canada the Pontiacs were a Chevy a\in Pontiac clothes.
    Anyway trust this ole mechanic – -there’ll be lots to do and $$$ to spend over the purchase price – -but if you have deep pockets go for it (if it can be documented )
    Niff said for now.

    Like 2
  22. Norman Wrensch

    Of course the oil is clean, after sitting all those years the crap settled to the bottom of the pan. And looking at the engine compartment it looks like 104K. Which on these old girls that is engine rebuild time. Before the mid 80’s- 90’s you would be dam lucky if you made it to 100k without rebuilding an engine. My first 57 only had 80K when I bought it and it needed rebuilding.

    Like 1
  23. TimM

    Another low mileage car that needs everything!!! I say Bull to that!!! Why repaint a car with such low mileage on it!!! Was it sitting outside for the passed 50 years!!! Why not fix everything and sell a good running driving car!!!

    Like 1

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