Spare Parts Included: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

There are few cars that transcend the classic car hobby. Ask a non-car person what they think of when they think “classic car” and a lot of them will say “’57 Chevy.” Who can blame them? 1957 was the last year of the tri-five Chevrolets and when you add the Bel Air package along with a convertible top, you have the definition of perfection. This particular car can be found here on eBay with a current bid of $18,000. Located in East Hampton, Connecticut, the car doesn’t have a title, but hopefully, that won’t be too big of a deal where you live.

There are a ton of parts included with the car. This will make the restoration a lot easier than beginning with the shell of a car. Although there are a bunch of issues with the body itself, having a bunch of trim pieces is nearly invaluable. There are a few photos documenting all the spare parts. Hopefully, they are in good shape and don’t need much restoration.

It’s clear the front seat has had new upholstery (or a new seat altogether). The rear seat shows the original aqua color and you can also see some daylight through several spots on the floorboards. That is probably the biggest challenge with this car, the rust. There are several spots of rot on the outside and inside of the body. The seller also states that the frame needs addressing.

The engine is the original 283 cubic inch with a two-speed Powerglide transmission. The engine is said to turn free but doesn’t run. Hopefully, it won’t’ take much work to get it going. You can see what appears to be a bit of a mess of wiring over the top of the engine. If a shade-tree electrician has done any cutting or modifications to the wiring harness, it may be time for a complete re-wire.

The rust will be the hardest part of this project. It appears to be a project that someone started and gave up on for whatever reason. With the doors, trunk lid and hood being from a donor car, you can bet this car was in much rougher shape when it was started. What do you think, is this car worth taking on? Is the current bid too much already?

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  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    Typical rust bucket drop top. It’s going to take a ton of fab work to get this back in shape. One thing I can say about these 57’s is if you take the chrome off the side you have about the most plain Jane car around. Gm new what they were doing simple dies with no extra folds in the sheet metal, then afterward we’ll splash the side with chrome. All that aside can you imagine how much rust is really present in this car. Rust is like an iceberg there’s always more hiding under the surface out of few. $18k for this is way to high and that will really cut into the build budget. I would guess that the seller had a black hard top donor car that was probably in better shape I have to wonder if the wrong car was used as the donor.

    • The Walrus

      You can buy an entirely new GM licensed body shell for these for around $20k and just weld the VIN in. Way cheaper… you end up with a $100k car. This is a steal at this price. And is an OK buy at twice this. You would break even at about $50K for this car with the right restoration…

      • canadainmarkseh Member

        So what your saying here Walrus is your willing to pay $18.5k for the vin tag and a bunch of rusty worn out parts. Do you realize that with your repop body you’d be at $40.5k and the restoration won’t even have started yet. NO suspension, steering, brakes, engine, transmission, rear axle overhaul, frame, fuel system, interior, or tires and rims. And when your done there sit before you a fake a clone. Now I know enough about the way things work in this hobby that because your body is not original your vin tag legally has to be the one provided with the new body shell or your committing fraud. Maybe you can get a cell next to the guy who built wild cherry. So when you sell it with the repop vin tag and it’s no longer numbers matching do you really think that your going to get your $100k. And in the end after you’ve busted your balls for two years and your up to $65k invested do you really think that your time is only worth $15k if your lucky enough to get it. So if you think this is a good deal it’s all yours. JMHO.

      • canadainmarkseh Member

        Oh I forgot the $10k you will spend on chrome…! And another $10k for paint….!

      • The Walrus

        Yes. That’s exactly what I am saying. I’m not saying it’s a ‘deal’… but it’s a way to get one exactly as you want it. It’s worth $100K plus if restored properly. With a new body you can easily get a good quality restoration completed for $50K-$60K including all the re-pop parts you’d need. So you’d be right around it’s market value when it’s all done. That is EXACTLY what I said.

        And as far as the fraud thing goes… check your DMV. On Fantom Works the guy did exactly what I’m saying and had DMV sign off… he did that on a nationally televised show. I seriously doubt that would have been broadcast if what he did were illegal…

      • Will Fox

        Virtually every item needed to restore a `57 is currently being reproduced, making this restoration a cinch. Yes, you can buy a re-pop’d bodyshell from the cowl back, but if this one isn’t too far gone with tin worm of the frame/floors, I’d go for it.

      • Mark Tartter

        If I had 20k I’d be bidding on no doubt but I would fix what’s there because they make so much for the 57.

  2. Dirk

    Gee, I know two-toned cars were quite popular in the ’50s but I’ve never seen one done in exactly this way. Was that original?

  3. Michael Dwyer

    snow tires on an old convert. that’s what we did with them back then an every day car seems like I remember my dad stating the reason converts cost more was they had bigger heaters

  4. Mountainwoodie

    Once you strip and dip this baby you’ll have a lot of swiss cheese. But two bidders are duking ot out and have brought it to eighteen grand. Maybe they should get together and spend the money on counseling. Or they know something the conventional wisdom and my gut doesn’t

  5. alan r leonard

    I know of some swamp land for sale down here in Florida for cheap……

  6. Del

    Someone has made a valiant attempt here but its a waste of time.

    Better to buy one finished or original.

    This shell is not worth 5000 bucks let alone supposed bids.

  7. Gaspumpchas

    Up to 18,300 with 7 days to go, its gonna blow everyones mind to see what this beauty sells for. to the untrained eye this doesn’t look too bad from a distance, but this one is rotten everywhere. I sold the most rotten 55 convertible on feebay for 5700; the new owner was tickled to get this as such a reasonable price! He put it on the fast track and in 4 months it took best of show. Go Figure. Good luck to the new owner- 20 bids right now.


  8. Chuck Turner

    Pictured is the 998 point car I restored. It was a CA car.
    My opinion, if one got a car for free, it wouldn’t be worth restoring in today’s market.

  9. Matt steele

    Alan R Leonard where is that swamp land I’ve been looking for some,jed clampett the 3rd

  10. nrg8

    Guess he has a few phantom accounts to push up the price. I’m not seeing 18k though. Even repop body route. The frame is in hard shape. Like tweeked in the front, some holes bad body mounts. There has to be some turn key/minimal work cars that would be less money down the road than thia heap. 100k? Guys even if once upon a time you took your special companion to inspiration point or the drive in movie. It’s a freaking car. It’s almost scary on what seems like a justifiable price, then the sad thing is couple of generations from now, the car will in the same rotten shape and no one will dump cash into a novelty. I’d pass if this was the model. Another 30k get a fully drivable original looking retro mod.

  11. Marty Wilke Marty Member

    Funny all the comments emphatically stating that this car is not worth five grand. They’re all wrong. In junior high economics class we learned that the value for any given object is determined by demand. What other people will pay, or more importantly – what several other people will pay.

    The ’57 Bel Air convertible is one of the most iconic classic cars ever made. Floors, trunk floor and body all look like Swiss cheese? It doesn’t matter! Anyone who thinks these cars don’t bring this kind of price, and on a regular basis no less – isn’t paying attention. Like it or not, this is what they sell for!

  12. Little Cars

    Do the new repopped bodies come with floorboards, dash and windshield specific for the 57 convertible format? So the restorer has to reuse their hood, trunk lid and front fenders not to mention transferring all the trim, glass, etc.

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