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Rolling Tri-Five: 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air

Some of the most successful U.S.-made automobiles were the 1955-57 full-size Chevrolets. With nearly five million units produced, they would go on to be known as the “Tri Fives”. The top-line Bel Air would be a best-seller, including this 1956 Sport Coupe with two-tone paint (India Ivory over Dusk Plum). This car once had a V8 engine and automatic transmission, but both are long gone, and the vehicle needs a total restoration. Located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, this roller is available here on eBay where the no-reserve auction stands at $3,050.

By decoding the VIN, this war-worn Bel Air was equipped with a 265 cubic inch V8 when it left the factory, an engine that was new the year before and Chevy’s first V8 in ages. The transmission has a floor shifter that would not have been stock, so this machine may have been hot-rodded at some point and could have had a drivetrain totally different than GM chose back in the day. We don’t know much about the background of this car, but the interior brings on a “yikes!” moment, suggesting it’s been dormant for ages and may have been home to some former woodland creatures.

We’re told the vehicle is “pretty complete” and most of the hard-to-find parts have survived. Fortunately, the Tri Fives have loads of sources for parts so sourcing something that may not be there shouldn’t be too difficult. Rust is present but doesn’t appear to be rampant, so perhaps the bones are good enough to restore. Or maybe you could lift some parts off this Chevy for another project. The paint combination is interesting, especially the Dusk Plum which is a pretty daring color for mid-1950s Americana.


  1. Samuel Carey

    Awesome vin donating bondo bucket

    Like 0
  2. Barzini Barzini Member

    The 16 year old me in 1978 would have loved this car. The 60 year old me today is overwhelmed by the amount of work needed. I still love the color combination and body style.

    Like 13
  3. Joe Haska

    No comment the first two comments say it all!

    Like 2
  4. OldsMan

    The combination of the 56 Belair‘s chrome arrangement and the tantalizing color combinations available, led to the best two tone looks ever- I think this one was one of the best !

    Like 1
  5. V12MECH

    Looks like a car that spent it’s youth in the salt belt and went to retire out west.

    Like 2
    • Reggie Holgate

      I totally agree…being from FL looks like it could have definitely also been in a flooded area and went for a swim. So sad to see a beauty like this in such sad shape…’56 is my all time favorite.

      Like 0
  6. Francis Dunn

    What car guy don’t like a tri-five Chevy knock it out of the box those three years and that one for the fifty eight was also great

    Like 0
  7. DJS

    Somebody save this one! Most beautiful styling and two-toning of the Tri-5, with a rare, great color! With that floor shifter, it will never be original, so just make it whatever kind of driver you like, with whatever flooring and interior fits your budget. Even a cheap junkyard 305 for regular unleaded should go in as easily as anything. My dad traded a 60 Apache 10 to my brother for his green and white 56 Belair in about 67; it was the only AT or PS car he ever got my poor 5 foot mother of 7. He believed you should be able to “feel the road.”

    Like 0

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