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Corvette-Powered 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

The seller of this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air is only the car’s second owner. He has undertaken some work and mechanical upgrades but has now decided to part with it. You will find it listed for sale here on eBay. Located in Lake Elsinore, California, it is listed with a clear title. Initial bidding on this classic opened at $1,957, but bidding has soared to $19,600 and the reserve hasn’t been met.

This is a really attractive car. I have a strong affiliation and passion for Fords, but I really like the look of this Chevy. The paint is Sierra Gold, and even with a few flaws it still looks really nice. The seller states that this is the original paint, but the imperfection over on the driver’s side quarter panel gives me some worry. This is a Southern Californian car, and this is reflected in the lack of rust on this 61-year-old car. There is a shot of the underside of the car that shows a light dusting of surface rust, but that’s about as bad as it gets. The floors look solid and there’s no obvious rust in the panels. In addition, all of the external chrome and trim appears to be present, and it gleams rather nicely.

The interior is also reputed to be original, and if that’s the case it’s in remarkable condition. The seat upholstery looks close to perfection in the rear, while there may be a slight issue with the fabric on the driver’s seat, but it’s hard to be sure. Everything else looks to be original and in great condition. The rubber appears to be missing off the brake pedal, and if it is I would address this quickly. From bitter experience, I have learned that wet shoes and a bare brake pedal can lead to heartbreak.

Originally there was a 283ci V8 backed by a Powerglide transmission residing here. These have made way for a 327ci backed by a Turbo 350 transmission. The owner retains the original drive-train, and this is included in the sale. Since the upgrade of engine and transmission, the owner has put very few miles on the car, with these consisting only of testing of the installation. The car also sports a new gas tank, sender unit, battery, and all hoses and belts have been replaced.

Scouring the internet for similar Bel Airs showed the cheapest decent example in fully original condition was priced at around the $25,000 mark. The beauty of this Bel Air is that you can either choose to return it to its original specifications or to enjoy it the way it is. I guess that a third option would be to drive it as it is for a while and restore the original engine. You could then swap it back in as prices continue to climb, and make a bit of money out of it. Personally, I’d leave it like it is, and just drive it and enjoy myself. And that’s coming from a Ford man!

Comments

  1. Matt steele

    Isn’t that a 210 post sedan dressed like bel air

    Like 4
    • Carl

      VIN identifies the car as a V8 equipped BelAir assembled in L.A.

      Like 2
    • Myron Hornschwage

      The VIN says it is a V8 Belair assembled in L.A.

      Like 5
    • Steve

      The Bel Air trim was available as a hard top or “post” sedan. There were actually less sedans like this one made than hardtops. This car is a virtual twin to a car I owned back in the 80’s. Same color combo, same 283/ PG drive train that I purchased for $300. It was a complete, unmolested running car, slipping powerglide and all! Unfortunately it was RUSTY, needing complete floors and inner and outer rockers. I was still in high school and didn’t have the funds or ability to undertake such and extensive restoration. I got as far as pulling the body off the frame, having the HEAVY cast iron PG rebuilt, “rebuilding” the 283 with new bearings, a hone and oversized rings. A period 4 barrel intake and rochester four barrel was also installed in place of the 2 barrel carb. I sandblasted the frame, painted it and rebuilt the front suspension. While searching for a donor body, my dad and I came across a running driving 2 dr. hardtop bel air for $1,500. I sold the sedan in order to fix the hard top, but it was also sold soon after in order to complete my 71 El Camino SS. I wish I had kept at least one of the 57’s instead, but the EC was an easier fix for a kid needing a ride NOW (!)

      Like 6
    • Ronald

      No, It is a Bel Air.

      Like 3
  2. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    I just gotta say: enough 57 Chevys already! Dear God hasn’t enough been written about this car?

    Like 4
    • Steve R

      What would you like to see?

      How about a bunch of mid-70’s four door sedans or 80’s Suburbans? There are plenty of 90’s Buick Regal’s and Le Sabre’s stashed away waiting for their owners estates to be settled. You need a mix of cars, not everyone is going to be enthralled by every car.

      Here is a novel idea, if you don’t like a particular car or aren’t interested in seeing another black Trans Am or 57 Chevy, don’t click on it. That’s what me and I assume most others do. That way you won’t stress yourself out over something that shouldn’t matter.

      Steve R

      Like 43
      • Gaspumpchas

        I agree with steve–keep em coming! Variety is what makes this site great!! I like looking at em all!! Kudos and thanks to the great folks who bring us barnfinds. Don’t forget- they are bringing this great site to us for our enjoyment. I myself learn from it every day!!!

        Cheers

        Like 15
    • Tort Member

      Almost as many tri-fives as Firebirds!

      Like 0
    • PatrickM

      Not yet.

      Like 0
  3. KawiVulc

    My favorite car, bar none, this as another Ford guy… the 1957 Chevrolet. My favorite since they were just used cars a few years old. My favorite since before I really understood that there was such a thing as model years and that they, Chevrolet, weren’t making them any more. My first plastic model kit. My favorite in any form, 2-door, 4-door, wagon, Nomad. I’d drive it like this… maybe upgrade the brakes first…

    Like 4
  4. Wayne from Oz

    “Bel Air” script on the rear quarter anodised inserts should be gold not chrome.

    Like 1
    • Ronald

      They all turn silver after years in the sun.

      Like 6
  5. Hide Behind

    I wish for a dime to dollar for every 50- 70. Chev and street rod that has a Corvette engine.

    Nuff said!

    Like 5
    • Clint

      There are more cars with “Corvette Engines” than Corvette’s ever built!

      Like 1
  6. jw454

    Looks like a Bel-air to me. Correct door panel trim, stainless all around the side windows and, long stainless spears on top the quarter panels. All that can be added but, I think this one is a real Bel-air two door sedan. This is one of my favorite colors on the ’57 model.

    Like 8
  7. Ian McLennan

    Not sure about the claim of original paint. There is quite a color difference between the front fender and driver’s door.

    Like 2
  8. Solosolo UK Ken Tilly Member

    Why would a person do an engine swap/upgrade etc. do a few miles to check it out and then, after all that work, put it up for sale? Sounds like all is not as it should be to my way of thinking.

    Like 0
    • PatrickM

      BTW, with all that new hp, I would think there would be a new braking system…power brakes

      Like 0
  9. bobhess Bob Hess Member

    We restored a ’57 4 door Bel Air for a customer in the late ’80s. As I remember the Bel Air package could be put on any of the body styles. Can’t beat the look of the 2 door and 4 door hardtops. Worked on the west coast during college summer breaks, renting a room across from the small town’s fire department. Came home from work (logging) one day to see a lowered, powder blue with matching interior, ’57 2 door hard top Bel Air sitting in their driveway. To this day I don’t remember being so impressed by a car.

    Like 3
  10. Jay E.

    Was recently at Hot August Nights. There were more tri fives there than ANY other model, including Camaros and Chevelles combined, which were the next popular. It was wonderful seeing how different pretty much exactly the same car can be customized or restored over the years. It was also remarkable how “right” Chevy got the Bel Air, even the bone stock ones look custom. You want different, try to find Mopars. It is only natural that there would be more tri-fives than others shown here, it is a reflection of the car collectors interests. Keep them coming I say. However, there will be a reckoning at some point as virtually all of them are owned by baby boomers. Sad in a way.

    Like 3
  11. Gun Smith

    what ever happen to 55,56,57 Pontiacs?

    Like 2
  12. Maestro1

    I liked the 56s better than this design.

    Like 1
    • Ken

      Absolutely. I’ll never understand the ’57 Chevy worship. They don’t do a thing for me.

      I’d kill for a ’56 Nomad, though.

      Like 2
  13. Jack Quintrill

    Friend in 1958, had a ‘57 hardtop in this color scheme. It had the auto trans with “grade retardant” feature. Only one I saw with this. Two weeks after he got it, he got a DUI, and his dad put the car up on blocks for a year!

    Like 1
  14. John

    In 1963 I was 15, and all the guys hung out at O’Donnell’s park in Lowell, Mass. Once a week a fellow from Chelmsford, the next town over would come to play tennis at the courts and he drove the identical automobile EXCEPT his wore the Fuel Injection badges and was a standard shift on the column…We asked if we could see the motor? He showed it to us and that was 55 years ago and I have never forgotten that beautiful color combination FULIE

    Like 1
  15. charlie Member

    One of the reasons these tri 5’s are so popular then, and now, is that they drive well. Even now, no contest with a new Audi or BMW of course, but for the time, they were exceptionally solid, reliable, comfortable, and with the V8 fast, and even the base the PowerGlide 6 would do 70 all day on the Interstates. Mine, bought new by my father in ’56, lasted until ’68 with no major work on the engine or transmission other than valve springs, close to 200,000 miles, yes, ball joints, tie rod ends, brake lines and cylinders, were weak points, and the upholstery in the 210’s was worn out at 40,000 miles, but it sat 6, and always started, and got us there and back. In college in ’66 I had the ’56, friend had a Mercedes 190 sedan, friend had a ’64 Corvair, another had a ’63 Mercury Comet but my old Chevy was the car we took on long trips. There is a reason they are so popular. The Fords and Plymouths of the time rusted out faster, the Plymouth 6 was anemic, the V8 was troublesome.

    Like 5
  16. Sheriff john

    Sierra Gold was a 57 color and was on the 58’s too. The 57 210 had short rear fender rails. The 210 also had a silver grill, Bel Air was gold. My 1957 was a two tone green V-8 2 barrel. Three speed. I lived in San Gabriel Ca at the time and took the car to the dyno shop at Service Chevrolet in Pasadena.
    A guy by the name of Don Nicholson worked the dyno shop and tuned my 265 CI for all its worth. Even put brass tubing ferrels in the distributor weights to make it advance quicker. I raced a few times and won one or two. Final runs saw me looking at tails lights. Long time ago. 1957 is a true classic.

    Like 1
  17. charlie Member

    And if one were to beef up the engine, one could install disc brakes, at least in the front, the brakes were marginal at speeds over 65 mph and would fade into nothingness in a panic stop.

    Like 1
    • Sheriff John

      They were very fast in a straight line, for the times. Cornering and stopping were not their long suit. Disc brakes were only on airplanes as I remember. We are much safer today and the technology has been driven, a lot, by the people who read these pages…

      Like 0

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