Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
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 re'sistance, and stand out from the crowd a bit, but all the while not ruining the original concept.
For consignment, a piece of the pie'ce de resistance in the form of the banner year for the tri fives... a 1957 Bel Air. This survivor bathed in factory Harbor Blue that appears to have been clear coated over, has a new white canvas convertible top, and a complete mechanical update and upgrade to the tune of $15,000 plus. Fully documented from the date of purchase to the present, including mileage logs.
From its correct gold insert egg crate grille that floats between a small upper bumper and lower large bumper complete jet age styled protrusions on either side, to the beltline swoop spear that makes a downward turn on the rear quarter panel, this mostly original exterior is truly the definition of the term "buttoned up." Dual rocket style hood embellishments are fronting curved gentle tubes that are on either side of the hood. These run back toward the windshield where they die into the hood. Very nice, (just like the bumpers and trim), chrome headlight bezels frame the single headlights, nice chromed side view mirrors, door handles, and window trim are all good. A spotlight is mounted to the driver's side. Continuing rearward, we see an offshoot of the downward sloping spear, that also runs to the rear of the car, and borders a horizontally ribbed aluminum panel with a gold Bel Air badge in your grandmother's handwriting, and cloisonn Chevrolet bowtie badge. Fins are all the rage with this car and the tail lighting takes advantage of this trend. We need to talk about the straight steel panels all around, with fair minded gaps, and covered in Harbor Blue paint. A new white canvas convertible top is the glitter if you will, and it sports a clear plastic rear window. 14-inch wheels with chromed slotted dish coverings and faux knockoff hubs are wrapped with wide whites on all 4 corners.
A swing of the doors and we see light blue and dark blue vinyl with some chromed trimmings as a delineation between the two tones. Cranks and levers are very good as is the armrest. Looking inside a clean split bench with dark blue inserts and light blue bolsters all in original vinyl. White buttons are in the seat backs. Some cracks in the vinyl reveal the interior padding, mostly on the driver's side. The rear bench follows the form of the front seats. The dash is also original unrestored with a dark blue padded dash top, light blue painted metal for the black faced round instruments signal lights and warning lights cluster. An original light blue steering wheel and column grow out of the instrument cluster and are also light blue. Just under the cluster a chromed mesh horizontal band runs across the dash to the passenger's side. Within this mesh band are several knobs and pulls and the radio along with more gold Bel Air badging and a clock in front of the passenger. Below the mesh is a dark blue panel which has the temp sliders, ashtray and glovebox. Also, in front of the passenger, hanging below the dash is a Kleenex dispenser, which was an actual option on these Bel Airs...MAKEUP!! Blue carpeting floods the floors and has a few smudges. The back seat has some smudges and beautiful padded molded armrests complete with ashtrays. Also noted is the tonneau covering in light blue for when you are enjoying your motoring with the top down.
Absolutely original, this red/orange painted block and valve covering 283ci V8 which has a single factory 4-barrel carburetor on top. This entire engine has a nice aged patina and some peeling paint, but is definitely worked to run like a Swiss watch. On back is the Powerglide 2-speed automatic transmission and a 3.36 gear rear axle.
Nice patina and some surface rust but all solid and structurally sound for these underpinnings. Part of the 15K spent on upgrades and rebuilds was put into brake work for the drum brakes, front end suspension and steering work, lower ball joints, bushings, updated electrics, shocks and front-end alignment. Also seen is a stainless-steel exhaust upgrade.
A true survivor original that has led a charmed low mileage, (40,307 documented original), life, it is running and handling and braking just nicely. A few signs of age but all is working fabulously.
If you are in the market for the best year of the Tri Fives, that is as close to full on original right down to the paint, all documented from purchase date as one can get, then look n
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