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Blank Canvas: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

Choosing what path to follow with a project build can be challenging, especially when the candidate is as desirable as this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible. This is a solid vehicle, and the included mechanical components could make it a powerful street cruiser. Alternatively, the new owner could follow their own path to tailor this classic to their taste. Regardless of your path, it is a car worth a closer look. The Bel Air is listed here on eBay in Walker, Louisiana. Bidding has raced to $19,600, but the figure is below the reserve.

The history of this Bel Air is unclear, although it appears to be a project build that stalled pretty recently. The panels are laser straight, but the most promising news is the time and effort the seller placed into ensuring it is rust-free. The frame is in as-new condition, and the bodyshell sports new pans. Everything is undercoated, meaning future rust problems are less likely. It is unclear what color or colors this Bel Air wore when new, but its current state means the world will be the winning bidder’s oyster when finalizing its paint and trim combination. The Torq Thrust wheels aren’t included, with the Convertible rolling on a set of Rally wheels. I don’t see that as a negative because I’m not convinced the more modern items suit this car’s character. It is unclear whether all of the trim and glass is among the included parts, but sourcing reproduction items is not likely to cause sleepless nights.

There is no information supplied regarding the Bel Air’s original mechanical specifications, but all of the puzzle pieces are present to transform this classic into a powerful but user-friendly vehicle. The immaculate frame now houses a Ford 9″ rear end, while tubular control arms and four-wheel disc brakes should ensure it handles and stops effectively. The seller includes a healthy used LS1 V8 and a four-speed 4L60 automatic transmission. They have sat these in place, but the car requires plumbing and wiring before it fires a shot in anger. This tried-and-true combination should offer no surprises, and many speed shops will stock the components needed to transform this car into a running and driving custom classic.

This Chevy’s interior is another mystery, although the supplied photos confirm the gauges, wheel, and seats are present. The seatcovers are pretty ratty, suggesting a retrim is required. Once again, it is an aspect of this classic that is a blank canvas. The buyer could select a trim kit to produce a period-correct appearance, and these are readily available. Alternatively, they could opt for the luxury of cloth or leather as part of a high-end build. This will be largely determined by their budget, but the finished product will undoubtedly turn heads, regardless of which path they choose.

There’s much to like about this 1957 Bel Air Convertible as a project car, helping explain why ten people have submitted twenty-eight bids. I believe both the bid total and price could climb substantially before the auction ends, such is the desirability of this car. It is at a point where the new owner doesn’t face rust repairs but can tailor the finished product to their taste. Speculating on the final sale price is challenging, but if the new owner completes the build to a high standard, recent sales results indicate it would be a $70,000 classic any day of the week. Are those thoughts enough to tempt you to pursue this Bel Air further?


  1. Joe Haska

    Totally agree with author’s assessment of this project. If a 57 Convertible is your bucket list car and you want to build it your way, this could be the one. I think you would still have almost retail money in it when finished.

    Like 1
  2. Lowell Peterson

    Its at the top of project money now. But a worthy project. There is no ‘profit ‘ in this one so just do what you want and own it.

    Like 1
  3. Michelle Rand Staff

    Now over $21k. This is a great start.

    Like 0
  4. Bryan D McDonald

    Many unanswered questions here. What are the odd holes at the front of the finders about where the stainless finder molding would end? And I don’t see the indentions on the front fenders where the three faux gold vents would go on a Bel-Air. Even the 150’s would have the three indentions. The gap at the top of the drivers side door looks way too wide and there’s a obvious dent in the left quarter panel. Unless you could get this dirt cheap, and that price passed about $6000 ago, I would caution anyone on bidding on this without a personal inspection.

    Like 1
  5. DON

    I’d rather have that 58 wagon in the background than this aftermarket catalog queen

    Like 0

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