Unrestored Muscular 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Described as unrestored, and a true barn find, this ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air is a nice specimen, but is by no means original. Sporting a more modern 500 horsepower 396, and a Muncie 4 on the floor, this Bel Air is likely a riot to get behind the wheel of. After long term storage, this Bel Air needs a little attention to return to street duty, but it is a runner and a driver. Offered at $19,500, you can find this Bel Air here on craigslist out of Benton City, Washington.

With little details about the entire car, enough was given to indicate that this is a quick Bel Air. Running enough to move on and off of a trailer, this Bel Air likely needs fresh fluids, and a safety check over all of the systems. Baring a built 396 V8 engine that produces 500 horsepower, all of that power is controlled through a 4 speed Muncie manual gear box. We don’t think anyone could deny that this Bel Air wouldn’t be a fun ride.

Taking a look inside of this Bel Air shows an okay interior. The dash is heavily discolored, and the seats and door panels a little rough around the edges, but they could be worked with. There is some minor surface rust in the door sill area, and the upper part of the fender has some minor surface rust as well. Described as unrestored, we are unsure if the exterior paint is original or not. If you look closely you can see that the paint is thin, wearing down to a base color. The exterior appearance is lovely on this Bel Air, and looking it over reveals no obvious rot or rust. We appreciate the original appearance of this Bel Air, with the only real clue being the wheels and the exhaust.

Somewhat of a “sleeper” with its stock appearance, and a 500 horsepower heart, this Bel Air is surely a fun one to drive. Making a great cruiser, or really whatever you want it to be, this Chevy is a looker. What would you do with this Bel Air?


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  1. Rock On Member

    Yeah baby! Drive it like you stole it.

  2. JW454

    The side trim and dash script not withstanding, this old street warrior is in reality a 210 model. Fortunately, the CL ad correctly identifies it as one.
    I had two like this in the early seventies. Fun old rattle traps they were. I ran them as hard as they would go and that caused many (un)necessary repairs. If you had some local scrap yards near by like I did, you could keep them on the road fairly cheap. I like it.

    • al8apex

      I thought I was going to have to point that out, well done sir

      • M/K

        me too! LMAO

  3. Chuck

    Nice, but I could not live with the interior upholstery & considering what it will take to get it roadworthy, probably overpriced.

  4. Cassidy

    oh…. only 2 doors…..

  5. Paul R.

    500 horsepower out of an iron headed 396 is a pipe dream.. Not even close!
    I get a laugh out of how some people “guesstimate” incredible horsepower numbers. Show me a dyno sheet.
    Really a nice car, but 500 HP is a joke!

    • Jay

      You ain’t never gonna get that kinda power out of a 396 slug. But the car looks nice. I’d love to have it.

  6. Chevelle Tim

    i love it how people write bad comments about other peoples car , when in fact they know nothing about the cars in question .

    Like 1
    • jcs

      While Paul R’s comment may be a little stronger than mine would have been, he’s right. While a lot of serious HP modifications are invisible (i.e. internal such as bore, stroke, cam, lifters, heads, etc.), to get a 396 to 500 HP you would have to use some exterior enhancements which simply aren’t there. In fact, except for the chrome valve covers and after market air cleaner (0 added HP), it looks like a stock 396 including the distributor and carb. In fact, to me, the carb looks like a 2 barrel. You don’t have to have personal knowledge of a car for your eyes to tell you something isn’t right.

      • JoeR

        I’m not really sure what engine you are looking at, but I’m looking at the small photo in this post.

        I see headers, HEI ignition, what looks like an edelbrock victor jr intake, 4bbl carb…

        I just question how many of you guys are really ‘car’ guys as opposed to armchair quarterbacks.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Apparently you and 7 others just don’t have the facts.

      Constructive criticism is always the preferred manner but ultimately BS is BS amd should be called out.

  7. Kent Pearson

    It’s also missing the little gold louvres on the front fenders.

    • al8apex

      that is because it ISN’T a “Bel Air” … it IS a 210

  8. JW

    Not a Chevy guy but I love this car, it’s old school all the way and that fits me fine. It sure wouldn’t take as much to get it in nice shape as our Mustang did. I would make an offer take it or leave it.

  9. KeithK

    Re-trim that big block with period correct painted pieces ,snorkel or even oil bath air cleaner . Install the the widest steelies possible with Coker red lines accented by some dog dishes. Find out what snot is left and drive !

  10. erikj

    I like this 57. I have a 56 210/2 door. Mine has a Muncie 4-spd a 327 and the rear
    is a 4:10 posi. It came with two of everything.stright rust free body. I paid 5500 this past summer.
    Hope that was not two much. My plan is to get the motor back in and put it back together.

  11. al8apex

    What would *I* do with this? I would start by not calling it a “Bel Air” 12 times in any write-up about it.

    This IS a nice 210 post that has had some “Bel Air” pieces added to it. People used to do that … sort of like how EVERY 1969 – 1973 Camaro has Z28 emblems and stripes added to them … that doesn’t make them a Z28, it just makes them look stupid to those that know better … much like this car

    There is nothing wrong with a 210 2 door post, many people prefer them over the over done Bel Airs.

    The VIN code on a 55-57 Chevy tells you what series it is … A = 150, B = 210 and C = Bel Air

    Nice slightly customized 210

    • M/K

      thank you and everyone even the editor should have been tipped off by the posts anyway, bel’s are hard tops

  12. Nick Member

    I would like to Dyno the car. For every horse power he is off subtract 500 off the price. If it is 500hp or more give him an extra 5k.

  13. joeinthousandoaks

    Looks pricey for a 2 door post that needs a full restoration. The dash looks to have been stripped of paint before being put away and left to rust or discolor. The carb was pointed out earlier as a possible 2 barrel. It does look odd, but would anyone in their right mind put a 2 barrel on that big motor and still call it 500hp? It was also already pointed out that 500 hp from a 396 is a tall tale. I agree. I’d like to see a picture with the air cleaner off. I checked the Ebay ad and it doesn’t look much better there.

  14. Don

    500hp maby with a 200 HP shot of Nos

  15. Bruce

    I have a 396 in my 210. It is nicely built with full roller everything. I am just this close to pushing 400hp out of it. To get 500hp would damn near cost you half of what he is asking for the car.


  16. roundhouse

    This is not a real Belair, it’s a 210. The Belair had stainless molding on the top edge of the doors, and wider molding on the bottom edge. Common to take a 210 and put some Belair side panels on to up the price.

  17. Gary Porter

    I don’t know why people put some Bel Air trim on a 210 or 150. It’s kind of like a guy with a combover. You still know he’s bald. This still has a 210 interior and belt line trim. If it was me, I’d ditch the Bel Air stuff and put a ’57 Delray interior, two tone, get the stance right, some wide whites, LS, Tremec . . .. . . . . Still a great car with lots of potential

  18. Rustytech Member

    I think with the intake on this it has to be a 4bbl, but a very small one. That alone would make 500 hp very unlikely, you need 1) lots of fuel 2) lots and lots of air, neither of which your going to get from that baby carb. Don’t see any nox bottle either. By the way I have been a mechanic for over 40 years and have built dozens of 1/4 mile drag cars, so yes I am a car guy. On other thing I noticed here is that single cyl master cyl and no power brakes, any body that would even consider putting 500 hp to this is a Moron.

    • Wayne S.K.

      That’s the FIRST thing I noticed Rusty…

  19. roundhouse

    Not all Bel Airs were hardtops, they made them as sedans. I had one, that’s why I know how difficult it can be to find proper door trim.

  20. erikj

    My 56 is a 210,but among all the extra parts are two complete sets of belair trim and atleast 4 spedo,glove box area that say belair. but I think it is a 210. I did get some picks of the car back in 1970 with its orig. paint and trim. Now I want to find them and see what it had for belair stuff back then.

  21. Chevelle Tim

    *bald guy with a comb over* ….ahahahahahahaa !

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