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Shorty Drop-Top! 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

For some reason, a 1957 Chevy seems like a popular choice when it comes to building a “shorty” – a car that’s had its midsection taken out. That creates a shorter wheelbase that eliminates seating capacity for rear passengers. Here is one such car that also had its engine and transmission upgraded in the process. From Kearneysville, West Virginia, this interesting conversion is available here on eBay where the no-reserve auction has reached $12,600 in the bidding.

In ’57, if you wanted a Chevy convertible, you had to opt for the higher-end Bel Air series as that’s the only place one was offered. And more than 48,000 of them were built, the least often ordered Bel Air except for the Nomad (2-doors) and Townsman (4-doors) wagons. Which makes them scarcer to come by in 2023. For that reason, why not pick a more plentiful 150 or 210 sedan and cut it down to make a Shorty rather than the much more desirable Bel Air drop-top? Perhaps this Bel Air was in rough shape, to begin with, and the customer said “so what.” Or maybe it’s not even a Bel Air as the seller does not provide a VIN to verify its heritage.

We don’t know anything regarding how this vehicle was customized, so you can only assume that it was done properly. It’s been sitting in the garage for at least a year so it needs a good cleaning (the seller has no time; couldn’t he/she at least take it through the nearest car wash?). We’re told it runs and drives, but no mention is made as to how well these things are done. Whatever engine and transmission were there on Day One have been replaced by a later 350 cubic inch V8 and a TH-350 automatic. Also, disc brakes have been installed.

The seller says it has had “lots of work done to it” without telling us what that may have entailed. Perhaps that’s what he/she means by new brake lines, hoses, gas tank, and interior. The latter two items suggest this transformation occurred years ago and the car required a second pass at certain items after sitting for longer than just a year. “The car is neat but not perfect” and the title is listed as “salvage” which is a red flag to me. Maybe this Shorty came about because of an accident that resulted in the vehicle being totaled. But, this is all guesswork, so draw your own conclusions.


  1. HoA Howard A ( since 2014) Member

    Hold on, let me get the popcorn going, this will be good. The builder, who wasn’t “smoking” anything, thought shortening it would be a hit. A ’57 Chevy 2 seat roadster. They effectively “shortened” the buyers, from what is probably the most sought after car in existence, a red ’57 Chevy ragtop. What were they thinking? With an alleged 60 bids, my thoughts don’t go very far today. There seems to be an actual market for this foolishness.

    Like 26
    • Gary

      It was a four door sedan originally. Not worth anything so who cares?

      Like 25
      • Tim S.

        Good point. Nothing is worth anything unless it’s a 2-door big block 4 speed convertible with A/C. Nobody ever loved any 4 door car at all or made any memories in them. Much rather have this disproportionate clown car.

        Such a closed -minded view of the car hobby.

        Like 13
      • HoA Howard A ( since 2014) Member

        Well, hold on, I happen to like Garys comments and you’re sarcasm is reading this wrong. I didn’t know( or care) it was a 4 door originally, and what Gary says really has some merit, 4 doors never had any collectible status, so chop away. Most were junked anyway. I think 4 doors are making a comeback, but these radically altered classics, are for the builder, and maybe next of kin, but generally, no interest.

        Like 8
    • Kenneth Baker

      I agree I’ve only seen one that looked decent.

      Like 1
  2. Howie

    $15,100 now, 62 bids, ends Sunday.

    Like 2
  3. Maggy

    Not my cup of tea.Chopping it makes the beauriful original design of the car look neutered. To each their own though.

    Like 9
  4. Troy

    So for shipping does this count as a micro car on Uship? I think it would be fun to have for the summer

    Like 1
  5. Kenneth Stewart-

    Wasted a beautiful car. Wouldn’t pay a grand for it. And that would be just to strip it for parts. And 350 with turbo 350 Trans? Could you pick a more generic choice? Probably 10 million of those laying around.

    Like 2
  6. Jay E. Member

    The ’57 Chevy 4 door hardtop is one of the most perfectly proportioned cars ever made. Hundreds of thousands were built and they are comfortable, reliable, good looking cars. It is their very popularity that made them so valueless mid-life though and susceptible to creations like this. This one doesn’t even have a top, so it is more of a toy than a useful vehicle. But I have seen some well finished ones. The reality now is that 4 door hardtops ( post cars not so much) are quite in demand and their value is going up, so I doubt you would see someone hacking one up to doing this today. I guess to each his own, but I’m not really a fan of shortys

    Like 14
  7. DavidH

    The picture of the trunk in the eBay photo is a confidence builder. The gap at the top and rear edge of the passenger side door not so much. The bad poor alignment could indicate this shorty never went back together correctly or it has already begun to come apart. The steering wheel selection tells its own story about this build. Buyer beware.

    Like 5
  8. Jake R.

    At first glance, I liked it. (I think it was from the angle of the photo.) When I looked at it from the driver’s side, my opinion changed and I became not so fond of it. I’m glad that the creator was able to resurect a ‘car’ from a death sentence and even inject a little creativity into this build. The rear seems to be a bit too ‘hunched’ beneath its (now) midsection for my tastes. Maybe if the creator had shortened the cars front end and made it to appear a bit more proportionate, some of the ‘big front end dragging a tiny rear’ sting would leave. Different strokes for different folks. I hope that whomever picks it up, loves it as much as it’s creator did and keeps it ‘alive’.. even in ‘waste’, there is history. God bless. ✌️

    Like 2
  9. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Buy it cheap and do the opposite:
    Cut it up again, add in a complete 4 door mid-section and stretch it into a limo. No idea if this is feasible, practical or even do-able.
    But if one could . .

    Like 3
  10. John Holmes

    The reason for the salvage title was this car got stolen from my carlot – the man jumped a concrete curb (looked like Dukes of Hazard on video surveillance) . It messed up the floor pans, frame & rockers from the accident making it a total loss

    Like 3
    • Gary

      Someone did a very nice job on that vehicle. Ignore the FB badmouthing.

      Like 0
  11. Jack Quantrill

    Whoa! This doesn’t look bad!

    Like 0

    I’ll never understand the concept of doing this, but I’m old. I also will never understand black wheels on a vehicle or slamming it to the ground, making it look like it sat in a field somewhere till the suspension totally surrendered it’s ability to suspend. A few of these always show up at the Tri-five Nationals in Bowling Green and interestingly they find each other and bond for the duration of the event. Just my opinion and undoubtedly none of my business. To each their own I’ve heard.

    Like 0
  13. TheOldRanger

    I saw a shorter one than this last year on one of the golf courses here in the Village. I’m sure it wasn’t “original” lol.. but it sure turned a lot of heads on the course that day… good looking golf cart

    Like 1
  14. benjy 58

    Twice the price for half the car that handles like a shopping cart.

    Like 4
  15. Buster

    “We don’t know anything regarding how this vehicle was customized, so you can only assume that it was done properly.”
    Respectfully, I don’t think this is a wise assumption.

    Like 0
  16. Goody

    “We don’t know anything regarding how this vehicle was customized, so you can only assume that it was done properly.”
    That is an unwise assumption to make.

    Like 0
  17. Bert Arthur

    Most of you must be much younger than I. From the comments made you all may not remember when these were just used up and dumped since they were not worth much. They were not always ‘Classics’. None of us knew the history of this vehicle yet Ave many options. It’s not about stupidity, its about folk having fun with their old cars and sometimes a piece of junk being saved.

    Like 1
  18. Bert Arthur

    …..have many options…

    Like 0
  19. Zachery Cooper

    I’d really doesn’t matter how many doors the car has, because the factory built it that way. Cutting The body just to have a 2 door car not only messes up the good looks of the car, but also the structural integrity, and the value. If you had a 4 door car, you can still have it be fast, with a 4 speed, whatever big v8 you want to put in it. Two extra doors don’t change the performance, if you balance the amount of power to the extra weight. There should be a rule that says that if a 4 door body is sound, not rotten through, the body shouldn’t be cut. A 4 door trim five is still an American classic, and an icon that’s valuable, and should be respected, and not hacked into some ugly duckling.

    Like 0
  20. Tim W

    In a not so intense alteration, doesn’t somebody make a conversion to turn a 4dr sedan into a 2dr sedan? New doors and quarters as I recall. These shorties are cute, although , like they say on Shark Tank, ” It’s not for me, and for that reason I’m out”

    Like 0
  21. Howie

    Sold $15,500, 66 bids.

    Like 1
    • Gary

      Hope the car went to a worthy home.

      Like 0
  22. Marty Martin

    Man I’m going to be sick. The description of this car with exception of the interior looking nicer than the one that I could have bought for $800 about 4 years ago. I should have bought it just for parts I almost did. But the description reads exactly the same and it came from the Midwest I’m not going to narrow it down more than that. All he wanted like $8,000 for it and after a year or two nobody was buying it. And when I called on it he went from like $1,800 $800 real quick

    Like 0
  23. Stacy

    I like it. If I could afford it I would love it. Remember each to their own. Another mans trash….

    Like 0

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