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Sitting Since ’63: 1950 Chevrolet DeLuxe Hardtop

This Chevrolet is quite a find, and for a couple of reasons. It is listed as a DeLuxe model and the fender badge claims it as so, but the roofline and backlight are Bel Air all the way. And we’ll get into that aspect of this Chevy, an early ’50s vintage that is so often overshadowed by the tri-fives from ’55 to ’57. This 1950 Chevrolet DeLuxe is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is available here on craigslist for $5,000. Thanks to Ikey H. for this tip!

Styling is always subjective and Chevrolet had their competitive work cut out for them, starting in 1949, with the introduction of Ford’s entirely new “Shoebox” design. The Chevrolet of that early ’50s era had a dowdy look about it until the Bel Air styling trim, an option on the DeLuxe model was introduced in 1950. The two-door hardtop design (no B-pillar), frameless door glass and the stylish, three-piece wrap around backlight changed the entire complexion of this otherwise, ordinary-looking car. Popular? You bet, about 76K out of 1.5 million total Chevys found new owners in 1950.

There is not much of a backstory accompanying this Chevy. It is advertised as a 24K mile original car but there is no documentation offered to back up that claim. It is tired and worn looking, having been parked in 1963 and it is, in fact, wearing a 1963 Indiana license plate. The finish is understandably flat but the roof is a different color and looks to be covered, perhaps in a vinyl covering but then again, it may just be a continuation of the faded finish in a different hue.  The body is good and straight though there is some rust starting to show around the rear wheel openings. The trim appears to be all in place but it seems as if it has been painted – same deal with the formerly chrome-plated bumpers. The only thing missing, that I could find, is the passenger-side rear bumper guard.

Of note, the 1950 Chevrolet Bel Air sales brochure makes mention of a two-tone color combination in a Windsor Blue exterior with a Grecian Gray top, finished off with blue leather interior; could this car exhibit that combination? There are no images of the interior included but from what can be spied through the open passenger window, I’d say maybe.

One of the other notable features of this DeLuxe Bel Air is its Powerglide, automatic transmission, 1950 was its introductory year. And with the Powerglide transmission, came the mandatory 105 gross HP, 235 CI, in-line, six-cylinder engine. There is no description of this Chevy as being a runner, and considering that it is on dollies, I’d say driving it is out of the question. For that matter, pushing it may be a no-go too. Things are looking pretty original under the hood, right down to the six-volt battery.

While this Chevy is in possession of the hardtop design and that great greenhouse, it’s pretty-well lacking in any other notable trait. The non-running engine, when in actual operating form, coupled with the PG automatic, provides stone-like performance. What is a stone-like performance? A 0-60 time of 20.8 seconds. Nevertheless, it’s a nice old car and probably returnable to road-worthy status without a major undertaking, though 57 years is a long time to be just sitting around. The 24K mile claim is alluring but some documentation is needed on that front, as well as some more information around the interior, underside, etc. – the listing is just too lean. An interesting alternative to the usual ’55-’57 cabal, don’t you think?


  1. Skorzeny

    For a 13 year old car, 24K miles seems a tad low, but 124K seems a bit high. Maybe someone can get an idea w/ an inspection. I like it, but it IS a bit dowdy compared to a ‘49 Ford. Still, probably not a lot of these on the road anymore. I would change the driveline, but restore everything else to stock. I’m sure it will find a home.

    Like 6
  2. JRHaelig

    Find a home? How about mine?

    Dowdy? OK…..a little bit.

    Slow? OK……a lot.

    But that reverse slant to the “C” pillar gets me every time.

    I bet it buffs up and starts just fine.

    Like 9
  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    If it’s a ‘49 or a ‘50 it has my attention. I’m partial to all the ‘Jellybeans’ but the first two years will always have a special place with me. Can’t say that I’m all that partial to that cast iron Powerglide. True they worked well but you leave them for a couple of weeks and the ATF would seep out of the torque converter and into the sump. It would then flood the main case and on out through the breather and onto your spotless concrete floor. Hydramatics weren’t any better. But they worked just fine when they worked. But I still wouldn’t turn this one down. I have large drop trays…

    Like 15
    • Bob C.

      Geomechs, maybe you already know this, but the 1950 to 52 Powerglides didn’t shift from low to high on their own either. Unless you did it manually, which wasn’t recommended, hence the stone like performance.

      Like 2
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        You know, I’ve worked on lots of cast iron Powerglides over the years but none this old. I heard some oldtimers talking about the first PGs and being a real power drain on the engine. I just thought it was because of the old babbitt-pounder. Well, maybe that was an issue as well. Always something new to learn. Thanks for sharing…

        Like 1
  4. ruxvette

    Ah, man, my first car. It was 1961 and it was mist green with a black top. A split manifold and two deuces helped. A 265 V8 transplant was perfect. If this one was closer I build it again. Seems like a decent price for what has become a rare car.

    Like 4
  5. Phlathead Phil

    Ah yes, a “Sweet-Pea” project. It is THESE kind of cars I look for.

    Complete car, upper end of the line…UNMOLESTED and no parts canibalization!

    Parts pervs keep ‘ya hands off the moichandise!

    Price is CORRECT.

    Like 12
  6. local_sheriff

    Always loved the early 50s GM bombs, they make so sweet-looking cruisers! No need to hot-rod this one, someone should be enjoying this cruzin’ LOW!

    If driveline is shot then a lightly hopped-up newer 250 I-6 coupled to a TH would probably make a massive improvement in driving pleasure without ruining its identity and should be reversible mods. Great, sweet find! 👍

    Like 5
  7. William Fox

    For what it’s worth, that brochure illustration is what this Bel Air is done in; just faded from time. In 1950, both the Chevy Bel-Air & Pontiac Catalina hardtops came in 2-4 specific color combinations ONLY, probably for “exclusiveness” of the models back then. Same held true up through `52, but by `53 when the styling changed it was opened up to any colors the mfr. offered. I’d be very surprised if the interior on this `50 isn’t the blue leather mentioned in the brochure. It may be tattered, but I bet it’s there.

    Like 7
  8. mainlymuscle

    I hate in when people say “if only it was closer……”
    At this price ,it DOES make a difference ! If this car was near me,so I could lay eyes on it,I’d buy it,buff it,drop in a 1990 ish Camaro front clip c/w 350 TBI,and take it to the street.It is priced to sell,without question,but there is no upside so one must be careful not to go to far.

    Like 1
    • ruxvette

      Not sure what you are saying but, for me, it would be a 4500 mile round trip. Just too far.

      Like 1
  9. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Yeah, back in the 50’s I saw a lot of these. A friend down/up the road a mile or so mom had one. Back then the teen lingo for the pg was slush box. Known for being very slow, but having a very nice look these cars were often bought by young people who then dropped a Olds V8 with manual trans or B&M built hydromatic. Nobody cared about the brakes as most cars had drums. A trip to Tiajuana got tuck n roll interior if you lived anywhere near the border. Eight volt batteries were often used in these mods. Spinner hub caps were in vogue at that time with some reversing their rims and painting them whatever color they liked. It was a popular idea to switch the shift lever on column shifted models to the left side making first on top thinking it made for a faster shift from first to second in a drag race. Oh well I’ve rambled on enough about the old days.
    God bless America

    Like 5
  10. Bobby Member

    I like it. There are lots of neat original accessories on this baby. Windshield washer, accessory bumper guards, fender shields, Powerglide tranny, oil filter, back-up lights. That hood bird might be an accessory item. Not sure about that.

    Like 3
  11. Maestro1 Member

    I like it but I have no room. They were sexy cars in their time, and yes, with the Powerglide very slow but the Automatic was a gift in City traffic. Somebody buy this and save it.

    Like 2
  12. Dan H

    As many of you know, this was the 1st year for the Chevy without a “B” pillar. It shared some parts with the convertible. I’ve been told because cars without the “B” pillar had a look similar to a convertible, they were called a “convertible hardtop” and later the term was shortened to “hardtop.” Don’t know if that’s true.

    What I do know is in 1950, 51 and 52 a Bel Air was only available as a “hardtop”. Starting in 1953 it became a trim package you could buy as a 2 door post or hardtop or 4 door post. I own a 51 Bel Air and I think they really got the styling right that year, but I may be biased. :~)

    Like 2
  13. Russ Ashley

    Did anyone else catch that it still has an Allstate battery under the hood. I’ll bet you haven’t seen one of those in a long time.

    Like 4
  14. CraigR

    Evidently gone at that price. Listing is dead.

  15. Nomader55

    Yea, it’s gone. Going to my shop. Seller got it running, kind of. Says org. owner put seat covers on it they he bought it and they are still in place. Also the battery is original. I’ll keep you informed on progress, plan to keep as original as possible.

    Like 14
    • Whynot Member

      There we go, I couldn’t find it listed .

  16. charlie Member

    Girlfriend and I shifted her ’51 into L for quicker acceleration all the time, as, I bet, did the owner of the similar wagon with a trailer hitch, upshifted it at 50, it would lurch forward, and get to 60 a lot quicker than 20 seconds. And, that was a tough transmission, but the car rusted away before the transmission died.

    Like 2
  17. Mike Tockey

    I found this car several years ago when the owners of the house passed away. There was an estate sale where I bought several items. I saw this car in the garage and took pictures. I asked if they were selling it and was told they had an offer of $7000. I told them I would pay more and please keep in touch. I never saw it out in the light or even completely as there was junk piled all around it. I called several other times but could never get them to sell it. I just saw the listing today. It bums me out because I live just a few blocks away and thought the car was long gone only to have it surface on Craigslist of all places for significantly less that I agreed to pay.

    Like 3

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