Possible Fuelie? 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air is in unique condition. Many examples of these cars have been expertly restored, and it seems like ratty barn find 1957 Chevys have become more scarce as they increased in value. Somehow, this school bus yellow Bel Air made it this far in “used car” condition. Though the seller has made some repairs during his ownership, the condition of this vehicle will likely both attract and repel different types of buyers. Find it here on eBay in Michigan with a But It Now price of $22,500. 

According to the ad, the seller found this car in a barn “some years ago” and has since had the seats completely refinished. Thus, the interior is in fantastic condition minus the dash pad, but doesn’t exactly fit with the ratty drag car look that the exterior has going for it. The seller states “this car should not be restored it needs to be driven exactly as is.” While I appreciate the sentiment, the interior has been reupholstered and the engine has been rebuilt. I think it would be hard to find someone willing to spend $22,500 on a car that is little more than a paint job away from restored, and expect them not to spend the extra money to finish restoring it.

This is where things get interesting; the engine is a rebuilt 283 Chevrolet V8 and it doesn’t look like it was hastily resprayed while in the car. I suspect the seller is being honest about the condition of the engine, and the Turbo 350 transmission is touted as rebuilt as well. So what is the interesting part? Well, this Bel Air is wearing Fuel Injection badges. Badges alone mean nothing, but according to the seller “I do not have the fuel injection unit for the car it is a toss up as to if it is a real fuel injection car two younger guys said it wasn’t but two very old guys said it was – it had a vacuum windshield wiper assembly when I first got it “that is a big clue “ but I am unsure so I am pricing it as such.” If this could be proven to be a real fuel injection Bel Air, it could be a very worthwhile purchase.

Though somewhat tangential, I have to say I love the rear tires on this car! I know they are really gimmicky and the little checkered flags serve no purpose, but I would totally run them if I had a reason to!

What this car comes down to is a solid, partially restored 1957 Bel Air that may or may not be an original fuel injection car. The question becomes, what will the next owner do with it? With some body work and paint, this Bel Air could be looking great! But on the other hand, it already has a sort of cool vibe of yesteryear going on. What would you do with it?

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Comments

  1. TCOPPS Member

    New owner may want to patch that hole in the roof (right rear) right away.
    I do like the color and dare I say…Patina on this one.

    2
  2. canadainmarkseh Member

    I also say get that hole on the roof fixed. I’d do the body work but I’d also repaint it the same colour. I put the same decals back on it too.

    4
    • Steve R

      There is no reason to touch most of the decals since they are on the quarter windows, I’d even leave the inspection decal on the windshield. Not all decals are reproduced, those that are often have subtle differences. If someone used something other than a vintage style decal, the car will instantly be transformed into a poseur. To preserve the look, older faded decals are best left where they are.

      I think there is more rust than the seller states. So a personal inspection would be wise. I’d also throw some vintage speed equipment at it, that stuff is around, a little goes a long way.

      8
  3. Den Member

    Why is she standing like that ! Yikes !! Look at the price !!!!!!!!!!!!! Everything is made of gold !!

    3
  4. Dirk

    I think the seller is right on the money. Stuff a big wad of gum in the roof hole, leave the paint just the way it is and drive the snot out of it. Love the tires. Damn nice car.

    8
  5. Rock On!

    Checkered tires wouldn’t last too long as I would smoke them right down to the cords!

    7
  6. Nick G

    I had a 210 with a 6-cyl. that had vacuum wipers.

    1
  7. John M.

    For a minute, I thought it was the project car dubbed “Project X” that for years belonged to the now defunct automotive magazine “Popular Hot Rodding”

    7
    • Bob s

      Project X was a 2 dr, two ten. I liked the articles they did on the car.
      Bob

      1
      • Steve R

        They went off the rails with project X near the end. They made it into some sort of weird pro touring hybrid.

        Steve R

        5
  8. JohnD

    Vacuum wipers are NOT rare, and don’t mean it was a fuelie . .. Now an electrovac . . that is another thing . . . LOTS of badges were sold, and if it would make my convertible or Nomad a “used to be” fuelie, I might pull some of my extras off the shelf. . . Of course, I’d try to get the left one level . . .

    John

    3
  9. Bob S

    What most people didn’t realize about the wiper motors, is that they are interchangeable. I have a 55 Cameo 1/2 ton that had the vacuum wiper motor, and all that was required, was to switch the two units and find a switched 12 volt power source. The wiper motor was switched using the same cable that controlled the vacuum motor.
    I like the car, and got all excited when I saw the fulie flags. I am still kicking my butt for not buying a complete fulie setup for $200. But that doesn’t compare to my turning down the chance to buy a 57 Nomad. It is tough to forget those kinds of mistakes.
    My favourite colour for the 57 Belair, was bronze with the silver trim. That will be a fun car for someone.
    Bob

    4
    • Robert White

      I passed up a 49 Willys coup for $800.00 back in the 80s. The whole car was completely solid with no rust holes at all.

      I have been kicking myself ever since.

      Bob

  10. Gaspumpchas

    Would the serial number denote whether it was a fuelie?
    Fondly remember project x, I was a 12yr old and loved to follow, wasn’t John Dianna involved with proj x??

    This car has the look—American Hotrodding at its finest!
    Good Luck to the new owner!!!

    5
    • Chuck Turner

      The VIN does not tell whether the car is a fuelie. About a dozen others things would….

      1
  11. grant

    Fix the hole in the roof, (!!!) Fix the tweak in the hood, a few interior pieces and it’s a hell of a nice car.

    2
  12. Troy s

    Why those tri-five Chevy’s are and always will be so popular…the rod. Keep it looking just like this and maybe add on some old style finned valve covers. It will turn more heads than a blonde in a bikini, well maybe.😁

    6
  13. Gene Parmesan

    Needs a hotter (tunnel ram?) smallblock in it with an old 4-speed. A pool-ball shift knob sticking up in front of that bench would just look too perfect. Yeah it’s a chunk of change, but if you’re wanting a real-deal hotrod, this is absolutely worth it.

    I always love seeing a coveted car like this tri-five Chevy, which enthusiasts are so precious about, wearing beat-up yellow paint and sitting on a chrome reverse//grey torq thrust wheel combo. Tough as nails. I’d scoop it up in a second if I had the dough.

    1
  14. Steve H.

    Is it just me, or does this car have more rust than what the seller states? It looks like there’s a lot of cancer right below the right rear window chrome… Man, I would want to inspect that car before throwing a bit out there.

    1
  15. Jett

    Isn’t every 283 from the era a fuelie?

    1
    • Mjl200

      No,very few actually.

      1
    • JohnD

      And everything from the 60s is a big block! And every 454 in a Chevelle is an LS6.

      1
  16. Del

    No bids yet, says it all😁

  17. PAPERBKWRITER

    My friend had a power pac 283 ’57 and it had vacuum wipers. I thought they all did.

    1
    • JunkFixer

      There were 3 different wiper systems for ’57. Base cars had vacuum wipers and upmarket cars had optional electric wipers. Trico’s Electrovac wipers were also available. All FI cars for ’57 had Electrovac wipers.

      There were 2 different FI engines for ’57: a hyd cam 250HP unit and the solid cam 283HP unit. Solid cam FI cars had a cutout on the left side of the hood brace (the hyd cam FI cars did NOT have the cutout). Both had extra holes in the firewall and core support. Both also had 3/8 fuel line (vs 5/16 standard) and special clips that held it in place (this is difficult to fake). Powerpac cars also had 3/8 fuel line, but it and it’s retaining clips were different. FI cars had other special items as well.

      While a serial number won’t tell you if it’s an authentic FI car, it will reveal when it was built. FI cars began rolling off the line on Mar 1, 1957. Still, without original documentation there is no way to prove if it’s an authentic FI car or not.

      4
    • robj

      Had the same car in high school, Class of 70. 283 “Power Pack”. Gold V and script on front and back, 4 barrel and duel exhaust.
      Vacuum Wipers. I’m pretty sure they all were…

      1
  18. ROTAG999

    I found Project X at a car lot in Auburn Wa was not for sale owner says it was the real deal had some promo pictures from the movie Hollywood Knights with Tony Danza pretty kool lot is no longer there.Was maybe 10 year’s ago.

    • Steve R

      Popular Hot Rodding was still doing articles on the car at that point in time. The one you saw would have been a clone.

      Steve R

      • Clay Bryant

        Not necessarily so. When they do write up projects they bank on a lead time and the project can possibly be finished in a couple months. The story can be finished even a year or more before publishing of the article and the story “rat holed” until they need filler for a magazine. They would never do an article on “just in time” as we all know what can go wrong anytime..

        1
    • mag195455 Member

      Project X wasn’t on a used car lot at that time!! It is still ariound, look it up!

    • mag195455 Member

      Project X was not on used car lot 10 years ago! Has been owned by magazines since 1965. Hot Rod magazine has it now. Look it up!

  19. Bob S

    It was an option. I have misplaced my parts book from the era, so I can’t say what year GM started offering the electric motor, but the one I installed in my 55 Cameo, was from a 57 Chev.
    Bob

  20. ROTAG999

    My 56 Chevy 2dr hdtp had electric wipers and so did my Gran Folks 55 Chev 2 door post. I have seen them come both ways seems more 6cyl cars had vacuum wipers that i have seen. As far as Project X sure looked real sitting in show room maybe it was on loan as it was not for sale so maybe good fake but will never know i guess.

  21. Tort Member

    I have a 55 Chevy 150 2dr. Sedan that has electric wipers and over the years had three 55 Bel Air’s and a 56 210 and they all did as well but I’ve see a few with vacuum wipers. They were an option. I remember back in the late fifties a beautiful silver 57 2dr. hardtop with fuel injection running around town.

    1
  22. ruxvette

    “the little checkered flags serve no purpose”
    Those were called “cheater slicks” in the day and, as long as the tires had “tread”, they were legal on the street vs slicks (no “tread”) which were not legal.

    1
    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Member

      Good info, I like that. My research was inconclusive, so thanks for providing that!

    • mag195455 Member

      Rear cheater slicks are not old! They are being sold by Radir Wheels, check out there site. Lots of neat stuff, Radir wheels and dragster tires.

  23. ramblinman

    I had 3 57 chevys one was a truck 283 had a 57 2 dr post 327 fuilerheads on it then a 4 door wish i still had the post dont like the school bus color painted mine chestnut traded for 66 mustang sold now i have 67 rambler american 6 232 3 on the tree i like the stickers on the chevy d paint it plum crazy purple ill race my rambler if you think you can take me on just kidding its cool car hope they sell it

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