V8 Farm Find: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

This ’57 Chevy Bel Air sport coupe had been idle since 1969 where it was recently found in a barn on a farm. The property was sold, and the car was in danger of meeting its demise, so the seller jumped in to save it. Other than a hosing down, nothing has been done to the car for ages. It looks to need a ton of work, at least cosmetically, and we assume the mechanical condition is equally troublesome. Located in Greenfield, Indiana, this automobile is available here on eBay where bidders have gotten the ante to $10,100.

The 1955-57 Chevrolets would become known as the “Tri Fives” and were extremely popular, adding up to nearly five million cars produced in three years. Of that number, 1.55 million were assembled in 1957 alone and the Bel Air sport coupe was the third biggest seller at 168,000 units. This one left the factory painted “pink” as the seller calls it (probably Canyon Coral), but someone quickly grew tired of the color and it was repainted blue by the end of the decade. There are plenty of traces of the old color, most predominantly in the trunk.

There is an abundance of surface rust, and the washed version of the car is likely to appeal to those favoring patina. We’re not certain about the significance of corrosion, but it’s likely to be present in the front fenders and floorboards, and both bumpers need to be re-chromed. There appears to have been clear seat covers in the car back in the day, but everything is worn out now. The seller would like to see the car brought back to its glory days, but he has some health issues and that prevents this from being a viable project for him.

The car’s VIN qualifies this car as being a Bel Air with a V8 engine. We’re told there’s a non-running 283 cubic inch eight-cylinder under the hood along with a Powerglide automatic, but no photos are provided to confirm that. It’s said to be a well-optioned machine with power steering and brakes, as well as tinted glass, and still wears license plates last renewed in 1969. The odometer reading is 81,000 miles which sounds like a probably original number. The continued demand for these cars keeps the resale value high and $50,000 for a top example is not unheard of. Could you see this car having that level of quality presentation once again?

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Comments

  1. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Great story – think they cut and paste that sad story. Car doesn’t really look to bad but so odd he had the hood open and didn’t tale a lower picture. It’ll have rust but what you can see looks good.

    Like 3
  2. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    My favorite Tri-Five. Guy in my High School class had a blue super straight rust free ’57 post with a 283 four-speed. It was stolen out of the campus parking lot during a homecoming football game and finally located weeks later in a very rural area known for theft remains. It had been stripped, burned and beaten with baseball bats or tire irons. Nicest guy in the world went on to become a Baptist Minister.

    I couldn’t help but notice what appeared to be lots of mouse droppings present in the trunk photo on this one so imagine there’s more than meets the eye.

    Like 6
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    This poor old car is rough all over more than anywhere else.

    Like 3
  4. OddBallCars

    It’s so interesting to me what sellers choose to take pictures of. In the ebay listings, we get a shot of the bottom the rusty hood, some long tubular part, two identical shots of the drivers’ side, two identical shots of the rear passenger quarter on a trailer, and yet NOTHING of the engine, the underside, the suspension. It’s like people don’t even want to sell the cars they list.

    Like 4
    • Dan H

      Or, its like some sellers don’t want to show too much. They may hope that an out of town buyer will buy this “beautiful barn find” (seller’s words not mine) and get it shipped to them without ever seeing it in person (surprise!).

      Like 9
    • JW454

      The long tubeular part is the rear mounted antenna mounted on the inside of the left trunk panel.

      Like 1
  5. Ralph

    So here is an honest question. Would like some answers. I am as old as this car. Just don’t feel the love for them, but not sure why. ( except for the Nomads) Does anyone else feel the same way? Is it because every car show has 7 of them displayed?
    Do the younger folks like these cars? (I realize the psychological attachment to stuff from our youth is a thing, but?) Any younger folks have a thought on this?
    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Like 9
    • MICHAEL SPLITTGERBER

      Love the 5,6, 57 Nomads……….That said, 57 Ford 500’s get my blood up……..This offering is a woof woof to me……..

      Like 1
    • Jay E. Member

      The way to answer your question is to suggest that you buy a good one and drive it regularily. The charm of a 57 is most apparent once you are in a drivers seat, and the longer you own it, the more you will appreciate the amazing styling cues. Once you are out and about, the number of people that will readily approach you, a complete stranger, and talk about their memories and experiences will astound you.

      Like 2
    • Jim

      I’m 69 and I admit I’m tired of these muscle cars. I think the market is going to tank on these cars as more yuppies pass away. Most young people have no interest in these cars. On the other hand exotics like Ferrari, Lamborghini etc will still be in demand. JMHO

  6. Dan Baker

    I agree with Ralph. I was a senior in high school in ’65. These cars were still plentiful and many were cheap. I traded a shotgun for a ’57 210 with a 283, 3 speed. Added roll bars, a 4 barrel, a homemade safety hub on the right front and a 4:11 rear end. Took it to our local 3/8 mile dirt track and was ready to join the ranks of my hero NASCAR drivers. I use the term racing loosely, more like a demo derby. I bought a ’57 sedan delivery for $100 and used it for parts. So, nice cars, especially 2dr hardtops, but not special to me. Just my opinion.

    Like 4
  7. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I’ve always liked these cars. I was ten when they were new, they just looked so thin and streamlined compared with earlier cars. I first bought one in 1967. It was white with red interior, 283 automatic in 2 door hardtop bel aire trim. Almost everyone at the factory I worked at had one. One coworker had one heavily modified in deep green 283 bored and stroked to 301 with 4 speed manual. Another guy had a 4 door hardtop in red two tone. Life was so simple in those days. Rent was $45.00 a month, ground beef was .39cents a pound, but average pay was about $4.00 per hour. Companies had insurance policies for their employees that was included in your wages. It didn’t cost me a penny when my first daughter was born in 1968.
    God bless America

    Like 7
  8. Terrylee 86

    Nobody is mentioning the elephant in the room. The passenger door side photo looks like this car is falling apart. The floors are gone and the door pillars a shot. To restore this car is a total waste of time. Yes you can get all those body panels, but why would you. You can pick these up in a lot better shape for not that much money compared to restoration costs 60K on this one and the car is for Indiana. They use a lot salt in Indiana.

    Like 6
  9. Wayne from Oz

    That same trailer is in a lot of these barnfinds. Obviously a flipper and getting plenty of free advertising here. Should be blocked. According to the wording he got it for next to nothing, because it had to be removed.

  10. Mountainwoodie

    The student sticker says Ball State. Somebody call David Letterman. Tell him they found his old car.

    And boy is it rough. Indiana winters. No wonder the inside is so fried. And the outside. Sne the underside. The floors! And yet its been bid to 15 K! Holy Junkyard, Batman!

    Maybe because its a Bel Air? Someone needs the fin side inserts? Go figure.

    Like 2
  11. Jay E. Member

    Now up to 15K for this crusty rusty one! Someone isn’t in their right mind, not much more will get you a running and driving one. The long tube thing in the trunk is a bicycle pump.
    Seller is doing the happy dance.

    Like 1
  12. Henry

    I’m 14 years old, and I like it a lot, expect for the insane prices and something about the proportions of the rear fins and rear deck lid always looks odd to me. As was mentioned before, if you go to any car show, you’re bound to see a lot of these.

    Like 1
    • Mountainwoodie

      Good for you kiddo………….theres lot of cool old iron out there. Enjoy! Just like we do!

  13. Dennis Hardiman

    I’m still looking for the long thin thing in the trunk.

    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

      It appears to be a power steering assist unit that mounts underneath the car and attaches one end to the frame cross member the end (the ram) to the center link assembly.
      God bless America

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