Unrestored! 1957 Bel Air With 51,036 Miles

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This car has all the signs of being real–and almost too good to be true! It’s a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air with just over 51,000 original miles on it. It’s located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada and is listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is under $39,000 but the reserve hasn’t been met yet.

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As you can see, the original paint has been rubbed through in spots–perhaps all the waxing over the years has worn it away? According to the seller, who purchased the car from a family friend that has owned it for 40 years, the only alteration from new on the outside of the car is the addition of a second radio antenna!

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You can see some more areas where the paint has rubbed through in this shot, although obviously the paint that’s left is still pretty shiny. As the saying goes, “they’re only original once,” and I’d sure prefer a car like this over one that’s been restored, no matter how carefully.

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The interior really looks too nice to be original–I’d like to hear your thoughts on that! If it is, it must be one of the nicest originals around. The only wear I could find at all was on the carpet right at the gas pedal.

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Even the upholstery looks superb, and I’m surprised there are no visible signs of wear anywhere. I think the lighter color on the backrest is a trick of the photo and light, as it doesn’t look faded in other views.

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Naturally, there’s a 283 V8 under the hood, and at least here there’s a little bit of wear showing. It’s a shame they didn’t replace the battery with a more classic appearing one. The seller says the only thing under the hood that isn’t original is the spark plug wires. All I know is that I’d love to own this car–how about you?

 

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Comments

  1. Puhnto

    Original owners might have had seat covers on it. A lot of people did in the 50s.

    • SportFury

      A friend of mine bought an absolutely beautiful ’55 Bel Air 2 dr HT in 2 tone red & white with 40,000 original miles in 1973 for $300.00 from the original owner, a little old lady. It had plastic seat covers on it from day one and the seats looked like they had come off the showroom floor. It was a 6, auto, PS, clock with Wonderbar radio and chrome flip up rain gutters above the doors. 6 months months later he got in a wreck and totaled it. What a waste of a beautiful car. This car kind of reminds me of it.

  2. Trickie Dickie Member

    I wouldn’t do a thing to this gem. I had a new one exactly like this in 1957, drove it for four years, never a nickel for repairs.

  3. Jon

    What really stinks is the cold hard fact that these auctions have killed it for those that don’t have the money for tri 5’s. I owned a post 57 in high school and actually bought it before I had a drivers license at the ripe old age of 16. Cost in 1969… $95 sold it for $600 4 years later after swapping out the 6 cylinder for a V8, two color changes and Naugahyde interior.. all done by yours truly..

    • Chris

      I agree, Jon. My wife absolutely loves 1957 Chevy, and I don’t think we’ll ever be able to afford one worth owning. There are a lot of cars that I love that I will never own due to financial restraints, but it somehow seems a shame that the average Joe can’t afford to own a car that was once made for the average Joe.

  4. RicK

    And the radiator cap isn’t original

    • Kerry Glenn

      But the spring-wire radiator hose clamps are!

  5. Mark S Member

    I too agree that there is no longer any room for Joe six pack to have a shot at owning a car like this. The closest I’ll ever come is the 1951 dodge Mayfair 2 door hard top that needed to be fully restored. ( at the 80% ) point and has taken 6 years to get there. If it weren’t for my trade skills and tools it would have never happened. This belair is a jewel, is what we should be seeing when we use the word patina as it shows wear on the paint but not wear threw. This would be a great car to own however it would not surprise me to see it go to $60k or more, and maybe that will help keep it just as it is.

  6. Another Bob

    This car would be toast in 6 months of strong Sun. Must have led a sheltered life. Kelowna is pretty dry. Quite amazing. Of course this will be relatively expensive, It is an Icon and probably one of the best in the world if truly original. For those bummed that the cost of acquisition is too high, time to look at a Corvair. You don’t have to buy a Dodge Omni 024 (as seen here two pages down)

  7. Jay E.

    I guess what has struck me is how fast the prices went out of sight. 20 years ago this would be a $7500.00 car. I suspect this one is going to go over 40K. Makes the 4 door 55 look like a bargain at $15,100.

    • Mike Kay

      I bought a ’57 Bel Air 2 dr hadtop in 1971 for $550.00. had 32000 orig miles, 283 PowerPak, trurboglide, PS,and electric wipers. Sold it in 1975 for $950.00. Just couldn’t get more for it at the time.

      • Kerry Glenn

        WOW – a “TurboGlide!”

      • Joe Muzy

        Canadian or U.S. dollars? Add about another 700 on top of U.S. shipping cost to get across the border. It is a nice survivor but a little higher price than I would pay.

  8. Johnni B

    Wish it was mine.

  9. RicK

    Its all the Kelowna sunshine that likely baked the paint off of it in the first place,, summer there seems to last almost forever and days are especially long because its so far north

    • Bill

      Seriously man.. it ain’t so far north the days are THAT long. It’s like an hour from the border. Think Spokane weather. Nice and dry, but being in a valley you get clouds and most homes have at least a carport. It’s a great place for classic cars! (former resident)

  10. Fred W.

    Has all the hallmarks of an original paint, unrestored car so the value can go nowhere but up. Throughout most of the 70’s this was a $1000 car and all the other models (except Nomad) were $100-$500 unless they were mint. Wish I had owned a crystal ball at the time and a huge climate controlled warehouse.

  11. snerd

    Nicely done on the enhanced patina, a light respray(correct red) in chosen areas, and to many high points rubbed/polished(?) through in odd places…just saying. look closely!

  12. Jeffro

    Nice ride. Wouldn’t do a thing except drive it. I agree about the prices. Seems it’s no longer a hobby but instead an investment. Damn you Barrett-Jackson!

  13. Doug

    The car is obviously registered in Alberta, Canada, so talk of Kelowna weather has no bearing on the situation since Kelowna is a goodly distance from anywhere in Alberta.

  14. JimmyinTEXAS

    Auction says it is located in Kelowna, so it is probably closer to Kelomna than it is to Alberta..

  15. Old geezer

    I have had many tri 5 chevys and see many original examples at auction with lower mileage than this. Past $40k is top dollar for this car as it is not a power pack, no power steering or power brakes. If the mileage was in the 20s, loaded with options, then maybe worth the money. 50k gets you a 2 door hardtop fully restored trailer queen at most auctions.

  16. Old geezer

    I’m also a bit weary of the claim that the interior is all original. There is not substitute for in person inspection but the seats look somewhat re-dyed or touched up. The interior looks a little too red, it’s matador red which has a touch of orange in it. Some areas like the outside panel of the driver seems too new while the spring underneath seems to protude which leads to eventual wear or crease in vynil. Also, the gold trim in seats look slightly over sprayed in some pics.

    A 50k mile car will have wear in it and this one seems touched up. Many 50s cars had plastic covers from factory so it is possible to preserve the seats.

    Collectors pay premium for “time capsule” cars And 50k is not unreasonable for a 57 hardtop true time capsule.

  17. Luke Fitzgerald

    I couldn’t care less – these are not cars to be enjoyed anymore – they’re blue chip commodities to be traded between “enthusiasts” with lotsa beer vouchers – good, takes the heat and money away from tanks I like

  18. Luke Fitzgerald

    And some f$&@wit will get it and paint it – evapaorating any originality – wait and see

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      My wife’s ’57 Poncho was sporting a similar paint job. Just a trifle faded with some areas becoming thin on top of the fenders and hood. The owner back then (20 years ago) decided to give it a respray. It was a horrible job and now (in our possession) it’s flaking away around the chrome trim and other bits and pieces. I’m going to have to strip it completely down and paint it again, just to have it look good. They’re only original once.

  19. gregg

    Wow! talk about the perfect example of “I want thee”

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