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Rusty 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible


Deciding whether to restore a rusted out barn find or to leave it in the barn is a tough one. Knowing the car’s history and options can have a huge impact on the decision. This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air barn find is very rusty and needs a complete restoration. The seller doesn’t seem to know much about its history or even what engine it has. We are turning to you guys to help us determine the specifics of this one. Start by taking a look at it here on eBay, where it’s being offered without a reserve.


The seller doesn’t state what engine this Bel Air had or whether the current engine is the original. They do state that the automatic has been swapped out for a floor shifted three speed, which might suggest that the engine isn’t original. They do know that it was ordered with Tropical Turquoise paint and Tropical Turquoise and Ivory Vinyl interior. It appears most of the hard to find convertible pieces are there, as are most of the interior parts. The previous owner couldn’t find the title, so this is being sold without a title.


Rust is a major issue here and both the frame and the floors are about gone. While it might be possible to fix both, your best bet would be to buy new ones. Looking at this Bel Air, what engine do you think it originally had? Would you leave it in the barn or tackle this project?


  1. Jeff

    Not being a Chevy guy, I can’t comment on how worthwhile it would be. But man, that was likely once a beautiful ride. Love that color.

    Like 0
  2. twwok

    Only 18 years old when parked. Those first 18 were tough ones or the last 38 were brutal. Think this one is too far gone except for some bits & pieces.

    Like 0
  3. juan

    Im doing a 54 that was in about the condition, would NOT recommend it.

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  4. Horse Radish

    Nothing is too far gone if the enthusiasm or the financial enticement is there.
    The body looks like all there and not too bad,
    If you got to do it ALL , why not start from scratch ?.
    If done well who cares what you started out with ?

    Like 2
  5. Hotrodelectric

    This is going to be a case of ‘order one of everything’ from the Danchuck catalog. The problem with this car is the ’57 ragtops have become so valuable that someone with visions of dollar signs in their eyes will never realize- until waaaaaayyyy too late- that this is an easy 150K resto.

    Seriously- pull the top frame and convertible-specific parts you can, and use that. The rest really is scrap.

    Like 0
  6. Rance

    Why not take what is left scrap the rest of it that can’t be restored and fine a parts car everything can be replace on it it might cost about 3 or 4 thousand dollars but man you should at lease get when all done any where between 25,000 to 50,000 or more.It a Diamond in the rust and if it could talk the story it would tell.

    Like 0
  7. scot

    ~ i would suggest that the winning bidder who backed out may have done so for other reasons as well as transportation cost. realized he bit off more than he could chew, perhaps?? a large group of car folks feel as if the market for tri-five Chevys has been and gone but while the market demographic may be shrinking their appeal is fairly constant and values will rebound to pre-bubble rates.

    Like 0
  8. Christian

    Could only be worth restoring if it was a FI car …

    I wonder if even work needed to make a roadworthy rat car is way too much ! :D

    Like 0
  9. paul

    Would I tackle this project? Not in this life time. Is it doable, sure with enough $’s anything can be done, the best part about these is you can probably buy every nut & bolt or piece of sheetmetal that you could possibly need. …..So, may the best man win.

    Like 0
    • Jim

      Paul, you said the vin is what they are bidding on and all I can reply to that is some people really have a burning passion for 57 Chevy convertibles. That vin is up to 10K.

      Like 0
  10. Nicholas Worthington

    I would do this project for sure. These originally came with a 283 but I would just put a 350 or 383 stroker. With a 4 speed. Forget being all original.

    Like 0
  11. William E. Holt

    With the quality of replacement body parts, and complete bodies for that matter, coming out of places like Dynacorn, it would be a shame to let something like this go to the junk yard to be crushed or ground up for scrap. I’d love to have a project like this. Might take me quite a few years to get through it unless I could find somebody with some “resources” that would like to back me on the project. LOL

    Like 0
    • David Thompson

      William Holt,

      Where are you located? I may be interested in getting involved with you on the 57 Belair convertible. 901-493-4700.

      Like 1
  12. geomechs geomechs Member

    Quite likely a 283/Powerglide combo was the prime mover. If I tackled a project like this I’d likely try to find a reasonable facsimile to put back in. This isn’t a project for the weak of heart; it would take a lot of time and grunt work to get it done, but it would be worth it. I still see ’57 convertibles commanding big dollars. But then, if I had it, it would be up to my kids if it were to be sold because I tend to hang onto my relics.

    Like 0
  13. Kman

    They also came with the six. I had the 4 door hard top with a six and 3 on the tree. Kinda wish I still did but the convert has always been my favourite. They became too much of an “icon of the 50s” and prices are just not worth it. Funny thing is, the Ford convert outsold them in ’57. And what do they bring today? Go figure.

    Like 0
  14. Dolphin Member

    I would not tackle this restoration or suggest that anyone but the most knowledgeable and energetic ’55-56-’57 Chevy person tackle it, because he’ll know what he’s in for.

    The thing that impresses me is the great listing, with lots of photos (you don’t need any underside shots to know how rusty it is), the $19.57 start, and *NO RESERVE*.

    Like 0
  15. jim

    seller has it listed as ” vehicle title: clear” one place and then in text states about title being lost. seller needs to get a title in sellers name then relist!

    Like 0
  16. AMCFAN

    The 1957 Chevrolet is the most iconic recognizable and collectable American car in the world. It is a convertable and those two attributes give the car mass appeal. With the massive amount of parts sources someone WILL restore this car.

    Like 0
  17. mtshootist1

    looks like a good backstop for target practice to me, I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

    Like 0
  18. Larry

    People, the seller says the only good part of the frame may the X member, this cars has more air to it then metal. It’s a shame but it’s a parts car at best, just like the seller states.
    I do agree with Dolphin, impressed with the great listing. I’m also impressed with the sellers honesty.

    Like 0
    • Hotrodelectric

      For sure- I’m impressed with the seller. He pulled no punches in describing the car. It’s not on him that bidding went nuts at 6K. I hope he’s able to milk the market for all it’s worth.

      I hadn’t really thought about it before, but the VIN plate and the body tag are the most valuable pieces to salvage. With a new body-on-frame available from C.A.R.S. for 23K- but no VIN or tag- that would be the sanest, cheapest way to build yourself a ’57 ragtop.

      Like 0
      • paul

        the VIN is all they are buying.

        Like 0
      • Jim

        This car is bid up to 10K with a day to go and I just had a discussion with a friend about what a car like this could be worth. The car itself taking into account what all it needs to me is beyond restoration. The vin. body plate and possibly the stainless is all that is worth anything as far as I’am concerned. My friend said the top frame was very valueable and that alone along with the vin and ID plate is mostly what people are bidding on. I found a complete convertible top frame on the internet in 2 minutes for 1800 dollars so there goes his top frame theory. 10 K for a vin.,data plate, some stainless trim and a beat up top frame doesn’t do it for me and I’am in agreement with you 100% on the correct approach in restoring a 57 Chevy ragtop.

        Like 0
  19. Jim Marshall

    Having restored 4 cars over the last 30 years I would not recommend trying to restore this car. Even thought most parts are available aftermarket including a frame the cost involved would be prohibitable and it would never be worth the amount of cost involved to save it. It’s a parts car at best.

    Like 1
  20. kenny York Sr.

    I’ve already started restoring my 57′ similar to this but not as bad, I pulled it out of a used car lot. it was sitting in the back..and got it for 7500…that was the good news..the bad news i’ve already spent close to 11,000 grand and it still needs another 10,000 to finish…I’m 68 and and may have to go back to work some where part time to finish this project..but it is coming together…but I dont even wish this on a younger man….to do all over..no way…

    Like 1
  21. Gabriel D Rivera

    I have a friend that would like to buy your 57′ convertible. Let me know

    Like 0
  22. Motors

    I would be willing to trade a completely restored 1970 cadillac deville convertible for this 1957 project

    Like 0

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