Sleeping Beauty: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe

For decades, Tri-Five Chevrolets were probably the most popular collector cars to restore and modify.  Baby boomers fell in love with the styling and the power you could get out of the then-new Small Block Chevrolet engines under their hoods.  Offered in many different models and trim levels, collectors especially coveted convertibles, Nomad wagons, and sport coupes like this 1957 Bel Air being offered here on eBay in Rocky Mount, Virginia.  This sharp coupe’s condition is the result of forty years of slumber under a carport.  While the owner claims that the original upholstery is still in the car and in good condition, a full restoration is needed before this black hardtop prowls the roads again.  While the current bid is $6,300 with the reserve not yet met, what is a fair price for this sleeping beauty?

When Chevrolet introduced the 1955 Chevrolet, it set the world on its ear.  The styling was fantastic and the new V-8 engine brought speed to a brand best known for their slow but reliable “Stovebolt six.”  When Ed Cole, Chevrolet chief engineer in 1955 and later GM president, was asked what his goal was for these cars, it was simple.  Cole stated that he wanted young people to desire a Chevrolet.  His goal was met from the sales floor on.  1955, 1956, and 1957 Chevrolets have been amazingly popular since they were built and as those young people moved through life.  Most of them still lust for a Tri-Five Chevrolet.

As that generation grows older, the classic car market is slowly moving away from these groundbreaking cars.  Once commanding prices that sometimes approached ridiculous levels, these cars are becoming more affordable.  The good news is that there is still tremendous aftermarket parts support in place for owners.  That news should be comforting to whoever purchases this carport bound 1957 Chevy.  They are going to need a fair amount of parts to get this car back on the road.

Normally a car this original would be preserved and made drivable.  The costs of a full restoration would far exceed the sum of the parts, labor, and purchase price.  According to the seller, this car needs a lot of work.  We are told that it requires floor pans and doors.  The pictures reveal that there is also rust holes all along the bottom edges of the body panels.  There is likely more work to be done when the corrosion is mercilessly cut out in the door sill area.  Fortunately, the seller has all of the missing chrome pieces.

The car is also said to still have its original interior.  Though sun-faded, it certainly has the original look.  You have to wonder if it would be salvageable.  It looks to be intact and free of rips and tears.  Still, if the floor pans are rusted to the point that replacement is needed, how much humidity has been soaking into the seat padding?  Mildew would be a concern, and the sun fading would also weaken the material.  Something to think about.

Despite being blurry, the picture above reveals that all of the dash parts and pieces are still there.  The eBay ad description reveals that the car was equipped with a manual transmission.  It is kind of neat to see a car with “three on the tree,” but that may limit the car’s potential selling price in today’s market.  There are sadly no pictures of the engine or any hint as to what it is other than a V-8.  There don’t appear to have ever been fuel injection badges on the fenders, so chances are it was powered by one of the lesser 283 or 265 cubic inch offerings.  If it were a fuelie, then passers-by who saw the car would have worn the door on the house out by knocking on it.

It is amazing that this car sat for forty years under a carport.  The owner must have been pestered to death over it.  Even with a cover on it, car lovers can spot the shape of a 57 Chevy from a mile off.  With the aftermarket parts available, this car can be restored with not too many issues.  A black sport coupe with red and black interior shouldn’t be a hard sell.  However, bidding is still fairly low with three days left. What do you think this 1957 Chevrolet will sell for?


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  1. Chas358 Chasman358

    Was the 265 available in ’57s?

    Like 1
    • Brian

      Early production had some.

      Like 1
    • Classic Steel

      I was not aware of leftover engines but anything is always possible.

      They went to the 283 SB V8 on the last of this tri-5 models.

      One could get blue flame six
      cylinders with the same cubes as old v8 cubes of the 55

      235.5 six
      Blue Flame I6 265 cubes

      This is also the no post edition which os a favorite of mine as well as the color.

      Like 3
      • Marty Parker

        The 265 V8 was available in two barrel form only in 57. Also, the only 6 cyl. for passenger car use was a 235. There was a 261 truck engine but no 265 6 cyl.

  2. Fred W

    The bronze 4 door ’57 Bel Aire HT I owned at age 15 (back in the 70’s) had a 265 V-8. Not sure if it was original to the car.

    Like 3
  3. doug edwards

    I’d have a hard time dumping money in this car with the prices fading.

    Like 2
    • canadainmarkseh Member

      I guess it’s a matter of do I want a 57 hard top that I can fix and enjoy or do I want an investment car. This is not an investment car, but it is a potential project car and if it were mine I’d invest in the project because I can do the work. I’d even fix the seats because I also know how to sew. Mostly I like Mopar’s more and I’m doing doing up one of them instead of something like this.

  4. Jay E.

    The Sport Coupe, (no post!) hardtop is the best looking 57. Even the 4 door looks like it has a mild chop. its at 7K now and I suspect it wont go much higher. It it was had no rust it would be a different story.

    Like 2
  5. Kenn HIldebrand

    What baffles me is why someone lets a car like this deteriorate so much when they’ve been selling at high prices for so many years.

    Like 7
  6. Del

    Maybe it was this far gone 30 years ago

    Like 3
  7. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I wanted a 57 2dr HT back in my high school days, never had one though. In the day, a car like this (in obviously better condition) was something to kill for.

    Like 3
  8. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I had a white with red interior back in 67 after being separated from the army. It was a 283 v8 with powerglide. You sit a little high in the seat on these, even my 4’11” first wife could see over the steering wheel. I paid $200 for the car and immediately had to replace the exhaust system.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  9. John


  10. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Desirable car for sure but a decent restoration will be costly. There’s rust everywhere, the interior may need more than meets the eye and whatever is under the hood is a complete mystery other than it has a V8 and it’s not locked. Is the engine original to the car? Is it complete? If it hasn’t been started in 40 years it’s probably going to need more than a battery and fresh gas.

    If you want a ’57 project, there are plenty of better ones for an easier and less costly restoration out there.

  11. Capriest

    Should’ve sold this 30 years ago when people still cared about these. Probably could’ve traded straight up for a running/driving 4 door or 210 instead of staring at this thing.

  12. Comet

    At first I thought it was a just another rusty 57 needing mountains of cash to resurrect. Then… I read that the seller has the “V” emblem for the trunk. Now that changes EVERYTHING!!

    Like 1
  13. Del

    $65,699.00 ?


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