Topless Icon: 1957 Chevy Bel Air

1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible

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The Chevy Bel Air is an instantly recognizable classic, but they were also cheap projects at one point in time. That’s why survivors like this 1957 Bel Air convertible here on craigslist are cherished, and command big prices – almost $30,000 in this case. Still, for a largely original car with corrosion contained to the trunk floor, it could be justified.


Despite the holes in the convertible top, the interior is in nice shape. The carpets don’t appear stained and it’s likely the seat material was replaced, but it looks pretty cheap. Most Bel Air interiors (if not all) have two-toned seating surfaces, so that black vinyl will need to go. The dash pad may have some damage as well, and a new top is definitely needed to protect any work that is done inside.


Not much is said about the engine other than it’s a running 283. Obviously, more detective work is needed but at least you’ll know you can drive it around the block while the restoration is ongoing. A lot of these classy Bel Airs have lost their original power plant over the years, so while the 283 is a nice option to have, the seller hasn’t confirmed if it’s numbers matching.


You can see some obvious signs of body damage in the rear quarters, meaning bodywork will be in order – but there are likely replacement panels if it’s too far gone. The seller says the floors are solid (with the exception of the trunk), so hopefully there’s not too much else needed in the metalwork department. ’57 Bel Airs are desirable cars no matter what, so I’d expect to see this one restored in the not too distant future. Is the seller’s price fair or a bit too ambitious for the work required?

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  1. randy

    ’57’s were all the rage when I was young, in the 60’s, but I never really liked them much. I do like the 57-58 Chevy trucks though, and ’57 caddy’s.

    I do wish I had one, they always seemed to bring good money, and hold their value. It will be interesting to see if there is still a great following for these icons.

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  2. Brian

    “holes in the convertible top” lol

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  3. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    I’m not an expert on the tri-5 Chevys, but I would think that a nice #3 car could be had for less than 30K. Could a low #2 car be bought for 30K? Am I naïve for thinking that this car shouldn’t be priced higher than 10K?

    And, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m starting to think there are more ’57 Chevys now than there were in 1957.

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    • Rich

      Rex, I completely agree. I think you could find a much nicer example for 30k.

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  4. GearHead Engineering


    I’ve seen two door posts in this condition sell for $10k. Given the lower numbers and high desirability, $30k doesn’t surprise me.

    Not sure what’s up with the side trim. Looks like some kind of custom checkered insert. Looks interesting in the photos but I don’t think that’s stock.

    Also interesting is that the ad is on LA Craigslist but the car is apparently located in NY?

    – John

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  5. Steve

    Iconic, but every car show in America is overflowing with cookie-cutter overchromed Tri-5’s. Seems the only challenge to building these is how much you can spend at Claasic Industries.

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  6. Frankie V

    Seems a little high, if you were going to just drive it maybe, but to bring this car back would cost more than buying one done already.

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  7. Dan h

    Man, I’d be afraid to see what’s under that carpet. More a 10-15k car(if that)from what I can see in the photos.

    Why do folks advertise their cancer-ridden, hurricane-Sandy-battered rust buckets to us Californian’s? We like solid,rust free cars here.

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  8. Skloon

    Once you get inside those quarters there will be a caseload of rust and a lot of fiddly reinforcing pieces this car needs a lot of work 30k is way optimistic

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  9. DENIS

    I’m out….he’s nutz…POS

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  10. 64 bonneville

    Although the car is said to run, it is at most a 12-15K vehicle. Besides, a trunk floor, you will need quarter panels and rockers, possibly inner rockers also. Looking at pictures of underside, I feel that most of the body mounts would also need to be dealt with. Frame is a toss up until it is blaster, and inspected for rot. I’ve done about a half dozen of these and that are some of the areas that need to be addressed. On the other hand you could go thru the brakes, put a rood on it, and just drive it for 30 years, so you can sell it for the $30K you bought it for. although iconic, price doesn’t even come close to justifying the asking price.

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  11. Duffy

    Kind of high, price wise. Would make a great vehicle. People say they don’t like the 57 Chevy’s, they say to many around, trying to take over the market. But these Chevy’s or any other tri five’s are the one’s that bring the money in now and in the future. This vehicle in it’s condition and what is said in the pictures is valued at $12500.00. If the seller gets no offers and he wants to sell it, I would purchase it.

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  12. bowtiecarguy

    Craigslist ad looks suspicious
    Side and bottom information in a foreign language
    Diesel (?!) engine
    Pure (!?) title
    Not actually in NY, in Garfield NJ (has NJ plates)
    R coast car advertised on the L coast
    Buyer beware!

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  13. Chebby

    Runs and drives….even though it seems to be missing the gear shift.

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  14. skibum2

    Hahahahaha…. I will never pay these prices.. My 56 convert. was $75.00 and I drove it home with no problems.. 1972 tho… enjoy

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  15. Mark S

    There is no way that this is original carpet just looks to good and it’s fit around the tunnel is loose. Let’s recap holes in the top equals bath tub floor boards, this car will be full of rot. The quarter panal is evidence of the big iceberg that lurks below the surface. 5K car tops.

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  16. gunningbar

    I dont much care about about # matching engines.. tranns… its just a frickin car.
    I prefer comp cars… they lost their orig powertrains in the firat year or 2… sure… an old aston etc is preferable wiTH APPROP engine… but the #matching old lady vette crowd fretting over radiator caps and batteries…. jesus… get a frickin life! Yeah… I said it!

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  17. randy

    Take a deep breath and relax! There’s a lot more to it than numbers matching, once an engine is pulled, there is no telling what may have been boogered up in the process.

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  18. MartyMember

    Thirty might be optimistic, but not nearly so much as some previous commenters seem to think. Have they checked to see what the finished versions of these bring these days? Gearhead has it right; decent basket-case two door sedans aren’t so easy to find for less than seven or eight grand. If it’s relatively complete, three grand might get one that you can spend another two grand and a summer welding full floors and rocker panels in to it.

    But you don’t have to deal with rust at all. You can buy a new one. All new body, every part of it, brand new. Wanna guess what a bare-metal shell (with no additional parts) starts at?

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  19. ben

    look close 58 chevy hubs a 64 impla steering wheel what else is mixmatched to much hidden for me maybe 10 but with a close up inspection whats up with the fire wall looks like a fire whats up with the colum no shifter and two holes

    Like 0

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