Two-Owner Project: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

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The Tri Five Chevies of 1955-57 have been some of the most collected and restored cars ever built. And there were plenty of them made to create a decent pool as production was nearly five million units. This ’57 Bel Air 2-door hardtop was acquired from its original family after 40 years but advancing age makes this a project the seller no longer wishes to undertake. From a carport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this Chevrolet is available here on eBay where the bidding stands at $11,000.

One of the most popular models and body styles for 1957 was the Bel Air 2-door Hardtop Sport Coupe. At 168,293 copies, that means that one out of every 10 Chevies to leave the assembly line that year was like the seller’s car. As the story goes, this one was bought new in Savannah, Georgia, and resided in the state for the next four decades until the seller managed to score the car and move it to South Florida. Including his ownership period, this car has been sitting idle for more than 25 years, first parked when the gas tank began leaking.

It’s the seller’s understanding that the Chevy was rebuilt in the 1970s, but what exactly does that mean? It could be an engine swap that took place as the seller believes the motor to be a 327 cubic inch V8, which didn’t arrive until the 1960s. The VIN identifies this car as a V8, so originally a 265 or 283 lived under the hood. The Bel Air also left the factory with a manual transmission but was changed to a PowerGlide automatic (probably when the engine work was done).  The seller says the motor will turn, so that’s a positive sign, while thinks the problem is a lack of spark which could lead to the distributor and points (remember those days?)

The seller did some work on the car before deciding to stop. Newly installed parts include the grille and headlight bezels, hood rockets, battery, master brake cylinder, new tires, and spinner wheel covers. But it’s also going to need an exhaust system and further attention to the stopping power. The interior looks to have been upgraded to a ‘60s motif, with the upholstery fore and aft resembling that of a Super Sport and headrests in the seatbacks. Rust is an issue in a few places, and the undercarriage is solid except for one of the body mounts. There was a spot in the trunk where the spare tire goes, but that has been fixed. The seller says he’s done a bunch of sanding, and more is needed.

The cowl tag indicates this two-tone car to have been India Ivory over Canyon Coral when new, but there is a lot of red inside the trunk, so I’m not sure what that means. When restoring this Bel Air, I’d go back to the factory colors. This may or may not be an issue depending on where you live, but the Chevrolet will be sold only with a Bill of Sale. I’m told that Georgia didn’t require titles on cars this age.

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  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    The ad is gone. As far as the interior goes, though I’ve not done it I’ve read that a mid 60’s Chevelle interior fit without a problem. Not sure but I think the engine is a 327.
    Just some comments.

    Like 0
  2. stillrunners

    Yep looks like a 1964 Impala back seat which was a popular interior swap in the day. That cars a lots away from that i family ownership.

    Like 0

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