Storage Unit Find: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Can you imagine finding this at one of those storage unit auctions? I’m not sure if that’s how the seller got a hold of it, but they claim that this ’57 Chevy has been in storage for at least 10 years. The car is located in Livonia, Michigan and is listed here on eBay where bidding is currently at $3k with no reserve!

Now before you go and get too excited, there are a few little problems. If you look closely, you may be able to see the light coming through the floorboards. There’s obviously some rust that is going to need repaired, but as long as the body isn’t too bad, it shouldn’t deter you too much.

The two extra doors might end up deterring you though. We all hoped it was a two-door when we saw that first photos, but it’s not. The seller didn’t even push the car out of the storage unit, so there are no good photos from the side. The car is dirty too so this is one I’d want to see in person before committing.

Even more bad news. The engine is out and it’s a Thriftmaster inline-six. It is included in the sale along with the transmission though. The lack of a V8 is unfortunate, but perhaps you could just look at it as an excuse to put whatever you want in it? Vortec 350? Blown 454? The possibilities are only limited by your budget.

With two less doors and two more cylinders this could have been a dream find. That doesn’t mean it’s worth some consideration though. It will go for a lot less money and it still has that iconic Bel Air trim. So, what do you think will be the fate of this once very cool family sedan?

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Comments

  1. On and On On and On Member

    That car originally came with a V8. You can tell by the V emblem on the hood under the Chevrolet name. Six’s had no emblem.

    • Jim Reinhardt

      good catch i missed that at first but you’re right V8 cars had the V emblem on the hood and trunk, lower it put some 17″ Crager SS’s on it a 327 sbc, be a fun cruiser

    • Gerry Hamer

      6 cylinder Chevy had a silver ‘v’ , the V-8 had a gold ‘v’

      • Fred Alexander

        There were no “V” emblems on 6 cylinder cars on any of the Tri Fives – – –
        1955 , 1956, 1957 Chevys.
        The “V” emblems and / or badges indicated the car was equipped with a V8 engine.

        Like 1
      • Norm Wrensch

        No the six did not have a V only the V8s silver was 2 barrel and gold was the power pack 4 barrel. I had a 57 210 with 235 and a 3 speed when I was in high school there was no V on that, but there was one similar to the center piece in the grill.

        Like 2
  2. Brian Gould

    The VIN also shows the car as originally a V8 as well. But the positioning of the radiator support in the six cylinder position makes it look like the most recent resident of that engine bay was a six.
    The car was assembled in Atlanta and the body came from the Fisher plant in Atlanta as well.
    The rust monster has sure taken some bites out of this one. Just what we can see that needs replacing looks pretty expensive to me.

  3. Joeinthousandoaks

    Too many doors

  4. Brian Gould

    For who? I have a 2 door hardtop, a 2 door bubble top and a 4 door bubble top. Guess which one everyone wants to cruise Woodward in? Hint: the door to person ratio is 1:1 when I have 3 passengers.

    Like 1
    • Rad

      Actually that ratio is 1.3333:1 (or 4:3) when you have 3 passengers :/

      Like 1
      • Brian Gould

        Hahahaha. It WOULD be if I wasn’t driving. But I am.
        And I’m the only one using my door.

  5. jeff6599

    There were no bubble tops by Chevrolet in 1957

    • Brian Gould

      Officially, there were never ANY Chevrolet “bubbletops” in 1955, 1956 or 1957. It is a slang term used by fans of the breed.

      But what there was were sedans and hardtops, both 2 door and 4 door. Except for 1955 and the first half of 1956 when there were no 4 door hardtops.
      Sedans are easly identified by two obvious points: 1) They have a Post. 2) The top is much higher than the hardtop and sort of “bubble-like”
      Which explains the slang term “bubbletop”. This is true whether the car has 2 doors or 4 doors. Post = sedan = “bubbletop”.
      The tops on the sedans are so uniformly similar that both the front and back glass is the same for either 2 door sedans or 4 door sedans.
      Which brings us to the subject of this posting: a 1957 four door sedan. Does it have a post? Yes. (See pic #13 and 16). Is it about an inch taller than the 1957 hardtop? Yes.
      So this is plainly a 1957 4 door Chevrolet BelAir sedan. AKA, a “bubbletop”.
      The mere existence of this vehicle contradicts your assertion.

      • T Mel

        “bubbletops” refer to ’59-’62 Chevys, not shoebox Chevys. The terms “hardtop” and “post” we’re not used by GM or Chevy to describe any ’57. The correct body types are; 2-door Sedan, 4-door Sedan, Sport Sedan, and Sport Coupe. Of these four, all roofs are the same height off the beltline of each bodytype and the same thickness. Only the Sport Sedan has a different rear glass from the other three.

        Like 2
      • Jamie Shannon

        No such thing as a shoebox Chevy. Ford yes, Chevy, no.

  6. madbrit

    If anyone buys it and wants a stock V8 from a 1957 Chevy, let me know.

  7. Marvin Granger

    I have had a bunch of 4 doors over the years. I found they are only 4 doors from the out side.

    Like 1
    • Mlaw

      Huh?

  8. Brian Gould

    Hahahaha. Well said. Also, they sure are handy if there’s a fire.

    Like 1
  9. stillrunners lawrence Member

    Wait…they made bubble top 1957’s ?????

    • al8apex

      no

      just someone’s wild imagination and bizzare logic

      Like 1
  10. Brian Gould

    I agree they never called it a “post” but the presence or absence of one helps define the difference between a sedan and a hardtop. Or a coupe, if you prefer.

    Re: the difference in roof heights between the hardtops and the sedans:

    the HTs, Convertibles, and the Nomads all use the same windshields for ’55, ’56 and ’57s.

    The sedans, non-Nomad wagons, and deliveries all use the same windshield for all years.

    A quick trip to the garage with a tape measure confirms the following:
    The height of the HT windshield ON THE SLOPE is 16.8″ and the height of the sedan windshield is 17.5″, for a 0.7″ difference. The slope is 41 degrees from vertical. That means that vertically the hardtop windshield is 11.02″ tall and the sedan windshield is 11.48″ tall, for a difference of 0.46″.

    The overall height of the HT is 60.75″ versus the overall height of the sedan at 62″ for a difference of 1.25″. In my garage, that makes the sedan a “bubbletop” as opposed to its sister, the hardtop.

    • Alan Brase

      Well, I learned a lot today. Bubble top is a name for a post type body.
      WRT this car. Original was a V8? That might make the slush box more tolerable. I kinda like cars in sorta stock form. but 283 power pack 225 hp would be nice.
      The 6 would be okay for me with a stick.

    • Chris

      Wow this is making my head hurt lol.

      Like 1
      • Myron H.

        You should look thru a Danchuk ccatalog sometime trying to order restoration parts.
        There are so many variables and permutations I have no idea how they kept it all straight, bearing in mind there were no computers at the time. At least not like today. Even deciphering the cowl tag can be like a trip thru wonderland.

  11. MRE2ME

    Has anyone ever converted a four door Sedan into a 4 door Hardtop? Is it even possible? Saw a picture of a beautiful 4 door Hardtop on Pinterest done Suicide Style. Got me to thinking.

    • phillip g lenahan

      yes you can buy the complete sheet metal conversion for a two door hardtop or a two door convertible
      from dynacorn you cut top of roof at the front post then the rockers and the floor at the fire wall seam unbolt the front doors and throw it all in the trash.

  12. curtis p mays

    Bubble tops came out in 1959 in the belaires! 55-57 were tri-five shoe-box Chevy’s

  13. Brian R

    From what I understand, this CANNOT be a Bel Air since a Bel Air was a hard top (2 or 4 door – no post). This car has posts, or full framed windows so it is a sedan. Being a post and having the chrome V indicates it is a 210 with a V8.

    • Ron Bunting

      Well, when i was 17 i bought a near new 56 Belair . a four door stock standard 265 powered three on the tree belair.. Belair was a trim level not a body option .

      Like 2
    • Warren Johnson Member

      Belair trim came in both sedans and hardtops. 2 door or 4 door.

      Like 2
    • Brian Gould

      And yet the VIN :VC57A172393 clearly identifies it as a V8 BelAir.

      Like 2
    • T Mel

      A sedan can’t be a Belair? Where do ppl get this crap info?

      Like 1
    • r s

      Sorry but my dad bought a new ’57 Bel Air 4 door Sedan with the powerpack 283 and dual exhausts. He always said ‘nothing could lay a match to it’ but I think he just didn’t run across any Chrysler 300’s.

      Here’s the old girl in 1963, complete with windshield visor and dagmar bumper guards, coral pink with a white roof.

      Like 1
  14. mike D

    four doors can also be nice! Imagine a shiny black & white 57! a ” modern” 307 or a crate 350, would be a nice sounding, nice looking car ( I know I am leaving a lot out, after a while it sounds like a broken record )

  15. Jim Reinhardt

    there seams to be some confusion about the term bubble top 59 & 60 Chevys and related
    GM makes were not called bubble top cars for Chevy’s it was a 1961 Impala and a 1962 Belair hardtop at least that’s the way it back then when i was in High School maybe it was different in other parts of the country can”t say not that it really matters i guess, just say”n wish i still had my 61 Imp

    • Jay

      That is correct. The standard roof in ‘61 for an Impala was the bubble top, referring to the back window shape. In ‘62 you could have an Impala with a bubble top with thin C-pillars or a regular hardtop that had very wide sail panels for C-pillars.

  16. madbrit

    The “bubble top” referred to the 2 door cars that started in 1959, with the huge back windows which sorta looked like a bubble. Bel Airs were available in the tri-five years in all body options.

    Like 1
  17. charlie Member

    Bel Aires came in all body styles in ’57, the most obvious identifying feature being the stainless insert on the back fenders, but also chrome all around the windows on the sedans, 2 door and 4 door, as well as fancier upholstery.

    • r s

      I believe the 210 had white inside the strips on the rear fenders, and the Bel Air had actual chrome strips inside the outer main fender strips. I am not sure if the additional strips were separate or part of an insert.

      • Norman K Wrensch

        My 1957 210 had no white it was a solid light green, even between the chrome strips on the rear fender

    • Jay

      The insert was aluminum.

  18. Rustytech Member

    For 1962 Chevy made 2 two door hard tops, Impala had the more formal roof ( looked like a convertible roof ) the Belair had the “bubble top” with the big back window and thin c-pillars. 59 to 61 had it available in the Belair or Impala. No bubble tops from 55 to 58.

  19. Ray

    That hole in the floor is where a plate screws in. The plate is removable so you can access the bolts on the top of the bell housing. That is an easy fix.

  20. roundhouse

    Chevy made 2 door and four door sedan Bel Airs in 1957. I had one, numbers matching with a 235 Blue Flame 6. It was not the same as the Corvette Blue Flame, but they called it the same anyway.

  21. Brian Gould

    And yet the VIN :VC57A172393 clearly identifies it as a V8 BelAir.

  22. Robert White

    I helped a car buddy take apart his 1956 two door Belair down to the frame. We found Garter snake skins under the dash after we pulled the radio & heater. Very excellent cars to work on and disassemble. All the bolts moved without breaking.

    Bob

  23. jeff6599

    Absolutely not! Sixes had no V. Small 2bbl V8s had a silver V. Power Pack V8s had a gold V.

    Like 1
    • r s

      Exactly – why would they put a V on a car without a V8 engine?…

  24. craig m bryda

    Gold ” V ” = 283 power Pac. Silver V = reg 283,, 2 bbq. Carb single exhaust etc. No V = 6 cyl.

  25. skibum2

    All these experts on this thread… my oh my… and no one mentions the grill…How many remember the “El Morroco” 57 chevy….

    • r s

      Here is one, they had convertibles too.

  26. harold

    Chrome V = 283 V8, Gold V = Power Pack 283 V8

  27. T Mel

    Okay, please go look at any reputable Chevy source, all Belairs got the gold trim and all V8s got the V emblems. Power pack doesn’t matter. Bel air with v8? Gold trim (meaning gold grill and gold fender slits) and gold V emblems. Bel air with I6? Gold trim and gold Chevrolet emblem (no V emblems). 210 or 150 with v8? Silver trim with silver V emblems. 210 or 150 with I6? Silver trim and silver Chevrolet emblem (no V emblems). Geez

    Like 2
  28. On and On On and On Member

    Thank you T Mel. My first 2 cars were 57 Chevys, one Bel-Air, one 210. You are spot on.

  29. jeff6599

    Don’t be silly, Jamie. These cars have been called shoeboxes for years, right or wrong.

    Like 1
  30. Norm Wrensch

    No the six did not have a V only the V8s silver was 2 barrel and gold was the power pack 4 barrel. I had a 57 210 with 235 and a 3 speed when I was in high school there was no V on that, but there was one similar to the center piece in the grill.

  31. skibum2

    Tri 5 chevys were never called shoe box…fords only..lived it and can still recall this…

    Like 2
    • Fred A.

      You are Wrong on that note – – – – Ford Owners – – – a few adopted the term which was developed because of the relative rectangular shape of the TRI FIVE years in Chevy World.
      Also I’m sure there are some other Ford guys on this thread but I don’t see much support for you on this issue.
      Anyway go on believing what you think is correct – – – it ain’t life threatening
      Oh yea = = = I’ve got many Ford buddies and have never heard of any of them referring to Fords being labelled Shoe Box Fords.
      Nuff Said

      Like 1
  32. jeff6599

    Times change, SKI! A new generation comes along and wham, a new box. Even now 73 through 87 GM trucks are called ‘boxes.

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