Parked Eight Years Ago? 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

In 1953, the Chevrolet Bel Air became its own model rather than a top trim level of the two-door hardtop Deluxe model Chevrolets. This 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air four-door sedan was driven into the spot where it’s been sitting for the last eight years but it hasn’t been started since then. The seller has it listed here on eBay in the City of Invention: Akron, Ohio. The current bid price is $1,050 and there is no reserve.

I’m somewhat addicted to a few of the fake TV reality shows where – according to the same script that they all seem to use – a ragtag group of goofballs cuss and/or bleep their way through the restoration of a car in rough shape and they do it in one week, you know, because of the fake deadline! (BLEEP!) Every time I see a car like this Bel Air in this condition I picture what it would take to restore it back to looking like new again. It can’t be that hard, can it be, really? (crickets)

Chevrolet offered a 150 model which was the base trim level, followed by the 210 and it’s fancier trim. The Bel Air was the top trim level in 1953 and this is, or was, a nice car in its day. The seller says that it’s pretty solid other than the front fenders but those bumpers look pretty thin to me in spots. The chrome work alone won’t be inexpensive and that doesn’t count what the underside looks like after sitting outside in the weather for at least eight years – eight winters, eight summers, eight years of critters and who knows what.

That’s a nice interior, or it was when it was new. It looks like it could be cleaned up pretty well. I’d take the seats out and order new carpet for a couple’a hundred bucks and get to work on the floors while the carpets are on the way. This one has a 3-speed manual with a column shifter which is interesting for the top trim level, especially on a four-door sedan. I assumed that this car would have the 2-speed Powerglide automatic.

My parents had a 1953 Chevy, one of the two base models, in a dark maroon color. I don’t remember it at all but I’ve seen it in some old slides. They were fairly stodgy compared to what would come next in the Tri-Five series of Chevrolets. The seller doesn’t give us an engine photo but this one would have had the only engine available, a 235 cubic-inch inline-six. It comes with another engine which also hasn’t run in eight years. Have any of you owned a first-generation Chevrolet Bel Air?

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Comments

  1. bone

    Must be a typo – it looks like its been there 38 years. Probably not worth a restoration , but theres a lot of good parts here.

    Like 6
    • JON RAPPUHN

      8 dog years, maybe.

  2. Will Irby

    We had a ’53 Bel Air just like the one in the “looking like new again” picture–4-door, light blue with white top, 235 six with Powerglide. That car was known as Blue Betsy. Betsy later gained a stable-mate–a ’55 4-door, light green with white top, 265 with Powerglide, known as Green Dragon.

    Like 3
  3. Will Fox

    This `53 has one option you RARELY see on `53 Chevies. At least I never see them; front & rear bumper guards! In the late 30s to the early 50s, a common malady occurred when you would accidentally get your bumper locked onto the bumper of another car when you parked. You had to jump on the trunk or hood up & down to get the two unhooked. It usually involved 4-5 people all trying their best while one of the drivers worked their car loose. That got remedied by the mid fifties when so many of those older cars were off the road.

    Like 5
    • Paul R.

      Ah, you bring back memories. I backed into a ’64 Pontiac with my ’62 Cevy ll and got hooked up .Everyone in the office came out to try and bounce us apart. No go, the Pontiacs had a front bumper with a hook in the center. I had to jack up the Chev and push down on the Pontiac until they finally snapped apart !

      Like 1
    • Billy K.

      Hi Will, yeah I think you ‘re referring to what Chevrolet called “fender guards”. They were a so-called dealer installed accessory. As you know of course, the “bumper guards” were just standard production items. I’m sure you remember the other two commonly seen accessory items as well: the “grille guard” and “trunk guard”……..pretty cool IMHO.

      Like 1
  4. Bob C.

    1953 was the first year for the 235 in manual and automatic. 108 hp manual and 115 automatic. Manual had solid lifters.

    Like 3
  5. Ken Carney

    My Mom had a ’54 210 4-door sedan with the same drive train
    in it. Hers was a shiny black with flipper hubcaps on it. And
    unlike most used cars you’d find in the ’60s, everything worked
    including the radio! We got a lot of use out of it considering
    what Mom paid for it. The only reason we got rid of it was when my stepdad traded it in for a gently used ’55 Cadillac
    convertible. That old chevy was a great old car that very seldom left us stranded. If I had the cash to get another one
    today, I’d do it in a New York minute! The only thing I’d do
    differently would be to buy one with a power glide tranny so
    that Sis and my neice could enjoy driving an old Chevy just like we did.

    Like 1
  6. Maestro1 Member

    Memories………I had a ’53 in ’53.

    Like 1
  7. Lee Matthews

    I have a 1953 210 coupe; nice car very reliable. Notice the sedan also has the optional bird hood ornament

  8. WILLIAM BURNETT

    my first car was a 53 two dr hardtop – robin egg blue and white – my present ride is a 53 ht custom – i have always loved what was chevy’s last art deco styling – with rounded fenders and split hood with a back swept top and the first one piece windshield – with stainless steel headliner bows – who could ask for more and have a good solid piece of road iron under your butt

    Like 1
  9. Phlathead Phil 🚗🇺🇸

    It’s a shame this “Boulevard Cruiser” got put out in the weather.

    The interior looks ok.

    And the price is CORRECT!

    Like 1
  10. Robert

    we had a ’51 Chevy business coupe. my dad bought it used from a local insurance salesman in 1953 so my mom would have a car to drive me back and forth to elementary school. in those days, if you lived less than a mile from school, you were not eligible to ride the bus. the Chevy had no radio, a 2-speed Powerglide transmission, a manual choke, and side rear windows that slid open about 2 inches.

    Like 1
  11. Johny

    Finally some one asked a reasonable price. Parts are easy to get and they are real easy to work on. Nice looking interior and it looks like some one took good care of it.

  12. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this car sold for $1,750.

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