Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
Chevrolet designers were really hitting their stride in the mid 1950's with their tri-fives, and you would arguably say the Magnum Opus was the last model of the tri-five era, the 57 Chevrolet. So how exactly does one take this masterpiece of bowtie design, and take it one step further? Something to really end up with the pie'ce de rsistance, and stand out from the crowd a bit, but all the while not ruining the original concept, read on...
Elvis Presley was lighting up the charts, drive in movies were all the rage for more reasons than one, and the poodle skirt had hit high schools across the country. With this, last year and considered the best year of the Tri-Five era, and the highest end model being the Bel Air. This one will not disappoint with all the right options, plenty of chrome trimmings and a continental rear bumper on the boot to boot!
Folks, this one is all that and a bag of chips as they say. With straight black steel slabs with no rust, miles deep black paint, and mirror like chrome that looks like it was dripped on yesterday and it's still wet. Just an awesome fit and finish, then there is plenty of chromed visored lighting upfront, dagmars, and a large chrome bumper on the bottom. A gold egg crate grille, upper chrome "lip" to follow the hood line, and a beautiful near perfect cloisonn Chevrolet multicolored badge. On the hood we see a gold wide bodied V with the Chevrolet script in your grandmothers handwriting. Also, on top, dual jet chromed inserts fly forward from the chrome window surround and are near perfect in condition. Dual chromed mirrors hang from the doors and are bordered by a long trim strip that starts just above the front quarters at the headlights that moves rearward and swoops downward and splits to reveal a horizontal ribbed panel to add some contrast to the rear quarter, just beautiful. On the back is the continental spare tire bumper wrapped in a black metal and chrome covering sitting nicely in the bump out on the middle of the rear bumper. Small tasteful fins make up the top of the rear quarter, and are topped with chrome, and melt on top the rear taillights as crescent moons with an oval rear backup light on the bottom. The gas filler cap is hidden within the trim for the rear taillight on the driver's side for you non 57 aficionados who are in need of a fill up. 15-inch rally wheels are all around and are wrapped in wide whites which look like a bleached tuxedo shirt. Also, of note is the wrap around glass for the front and rear windshields.
A swing of the cool doors and we note black background broadcloth with white stitched flagstone outline pattern within it. Perfect cranks and a silver panel houses toggles for the power windows now on this car. Moving to the front bench, which is split, we see more black broadcloth with the flagstone stitched pattern inserts with white smooth bolster surrounds complete with correct piping and some chromed buttons thrown on for giggles and visual enjoyment. On the rear bench there is plenty of romper room and it sports the same retro 1950's pattern. Dakota digital gauges now replace the originals and sit nicely within the original dash bump up in front to an Ididit tilt steering column. Vintage air now hangs below the dash, and just above pristine carpet also in black which floods the floors. Streaking through the middle of the dash is a shiny mesh aluminum trim which breaks up all the black metal. A tight gray headliner is noted up top and sports a working dome light.
Sitting within the totally restored engine bay is a shiny new looking GMPP 383ci stroker engine which puts out 385hp. This engine has beautifully attended GM Fastburn aluminum heads, a 4-barrel Holley carb, and a 700R4 4-speed automatic transmission on back. This power plant is just gorgeous with its headers, shined and chromed strap on accessories, master cylinder, and supple black hoses. Well done restoration with a top notch look and power.
Absolutely straight black no rust steel and frame, floor pans, side rockers, and even the wheel wells are clean. Showroom under here kids. We note front independent coil spring and rear leaf spring suspension, along with power disc front brakes and power drums on the rear. A shiny Flowmaster exhaust snakes its way rearward from the headers and ends in chromed tips which peek out from under the rear bumper.
Another coin flip car for the first to take to the test track and my never failing decoder, copy editor, and good friend won so he ran it through the paces first and reported no problems, great handling, and all buttoned up on the mechanical end and sounding just fab. She accelerated wonderfully, and came to a halt on a dime, and a shining one at that.
This is all that and the cat's meow! This car is restored to the nines, and is re
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