Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air
The 1955-1957 year range represented a lot of effort by GM. They spent a million dollars in 1956 alone because they wanted to make the Bel Air look like the more expensive Cadillacs. The result was extravagant body lines, Cadillac-inspired bumper guards, and tail fins. Although largely a carry-over model, sales soared in 1956, especially for Bel Air models. This is thanks to the popular V8 introduced in the prior year. 1956 Chevrolets had hidden gas caps -they were behind the driver's side taillight! The Chevrolet advertising slogan for 1956 aptly stated, "The Hot One is even Hotter!"
For consignment, a beautifully restored and modified 1956 Bel Air with a green, (almost an electric green), and white painted exterior, a worked over 350ci V8, front disc brakes, and all wrapped within a dual fan style dash. This beauty is ready to go or show, just turn the key!
The 1957 version is always the talk of the town, but this writer feels that the 1956 version offers up a simplified cleaner design all around. The shiny mirror like grille with its big bumper below an egg crate silver grille and single headlights framed by fenders with the beginnings of a trim spear above, it just does not get any better. Nice use of chrome on the wheel well in front that fades into a rocker trim ending at the rear wheel well. Above there is the ever-widening spear that takes over the rear quarter panel. This is resplendent in white, which covers the roof, trunk lid and tail of this snappy design car and covering the rest is a beautiful electric green. Some evidence of bodywork and rust bubbling through is apparent on the lower panels, however, this does not distract from the overall beauty. Rocket-like taillights frame the trunk and still hide the gas fill cap to boot! A shout out to the clean windows and 15-inch Cragar chrome wheels which frame this throwback to the era of Bill Haley and the Comets car.
Swinging the doors open we shake hands with green and white vinyl tuck and roll paneled door coverings that have kept their pristine original cranks, handles and chrome trimmings. Stretching from door to door in front is a bench seat with a split back which is covered in marbled green vinyl tuck and roll with smooth white upper sections. The rear bench follows suit in design with the front, and floats on low pile black carpeting. The dual fan style dash, (another feature which will sadly go away in '57), fronts the seats and is very clean and sporting original gauges and knobs. A couple of aftermarket gauges, (a trio of water, volts and oil), gauges hang below the dash and a Sun tachometer is strapped to the column. An aftermarket JVC AM/FM/CD radio is neatly tucked into the dash and lots of shiny chrome mixes with green metal paint for this attractive dash. A black ball topped Hurst shifter grows from the center hump and reaches for the driver just perfectly.
A top-notch restoration under the hood, with all parts gleaming on this rebuilt 350ci V8 engine. Stuffed inside this black block is a Comp Cams Xtreme Energy 268 camshaft, a double roller timing chain, Lunati cam-saver lifters, a high volume oil pump, and is finished off with 461 camelback heads. It is topped with a Weiand aluminum intake and a Holley 600cfm 4-barrel carb and backed up by a Borg Warner T10 4-speed manual transmission. Way back is a 3.36 rear axle. An aluminum radiator is on to keep things cool and thanks to the well selected parts, this mill makes a consignor stated 300hp.
All nicely restored, with slight surface rust erupting on a few of the usual suspects, but structurally sound and all clean underneath with black for the suspension and framing and body matching green for the floor pans. A like new dual exhaust system with Cherrybomb mufflers makes its way to the back of the car where it ends in shiny chrome tips . Disc brakes are in front along with an independent coil spring suspension along with an added sway bar and in the rear, we note drum brakes along with leaf springs for the suspension.
A quick starter, and overall good runner. It has great acceleration from the warmed over 350 cuber, nice handling and the disc brakes make for bias free panic stopping. On a side note, my partner in crime and all around good guy was dozing during our ride so I made the panic stop a surprise, thankfully he didn't have to change his shorts, but I digress...All controls worked successfully for our test with the exception of the radio not belting out Dinah Shore and the wipers not wiping.
A very nice restoration and upgrade to the original. Great color scheme, nicely preserved chrome, and beautiful original looking dash. One of the 2 examples of the 1956 model year Chevrolet we have here at Classic Auto Mall.
C-2400 Series Bel Air
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