1963 Chevrolet Bel Air

Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX

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Fort Worth, TX



Year 1963
Mileage 51332
Engine 8
Doors 2
Transmission Manual
Make Chevrolet
Model Bel Air

Bel Air 1963

Title Status --
Exterior Color Black Cherry
Interior Color Black


Sleepers are a special breed of car. They're for guys who don't care about getting all the attention but would rather put their efforts towards hardware upgrades, which, of course, have to remain invisible. This surprisingly nasty 1963 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-door sedan is the archetypal sleeper: a nondescript body packing serious heat under the hood. If you don't know what you're looking at, it's very easy for this car to slip under the radar.

I'll wager that many folks will have looked at this car in a photo array on our website or some other advertising medium and moved right past, as if it were nothing special. That's a shame that they don't bother to look closer, but it's also a testament to how effectively this one camouflages its true intentions. At least they painted it Black Cherry, not some low-key beige, and it has a mature, grown-up look that helps with the predator's vibe this car gives off. The paint doesn't appear to be very old and has a good shine out in the sun, but nothing too flashy or overtly custom, because you don't want to give away the secret. The curb appeal is still undeniable though, and although it's not a show car, this Bel Air hardtop is strong driver-quality rig that practically begs you to go show it off. The long Bel Air body has a dramatic crease running from the front fender opening to the rear bumper, and it's practically laser-straight, indicating that the restoration was quite thorough and/or this was a very clean original car to begin with. It sparkles with plenty of bright trim (it's a Bel Air, after all), and while it's not totally in tune with the sleeper code of ethics, they did add a set of crossed flags and a '409' emblem on each front fenders, you know, just as a warning.

The black-and-burgundy interior features a combination of original and modern components, working together to form one of the coolest cabins we've featured in months on our website. Two-tone seats are always en vouge, but these black vinyl seats with their burgundy accents in the seatbacks are simply elegant. They're all day comfortable and show very little wear, matched by the accompanying door panels at the flanks, the plush black carpets below, and the taut headliner above. The big, original dash is still place and free from any cracks or fading, punctuated with billet accents and a beautiful, leather-wrapped Grant steering wheel at the head of the cockpit. Just beyond it is the original gauge bezel, but since it only covers the basics, a trio of white-faced aftermarket units were added below and a SunPro tachometer was strapped to the steering column to mind the revs. Like many early muscle cars from the era, options are scarce, although you do get a center console that splits the front buckets, an AM/FM/CD/AUX head unit mounted in the center of the dash, and a full set of floor mats protecting the carpets. A tall, Hurst floor shifter with a cue-ball knob adds a sporty vibe up front, practically begging you to cycle through the gears, and like all Bel Airs of the period there's expansive room in the back seat area. Out back, the trunk is absolutely massive, featuring a full-size spare tire and a full set of replacement mats that cover the neatly painted floors.

The weapon of choice under this hood is a 348 cubic inch V8, which as many of our reader may know share essentially the same valve covers and basic shape of a 409. With that being said, the restorers decided to badge this motor as its 409 big brother to match the fender badges outside, which is actually quite common for the 348 V8. The whole thing is fed by dual Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetors atop an Edelbrock aluminum intake, and the 1958 date code motor was obviously built to be driven because it feels very punchy and powerful when warmed up and ready to go. It does look fairly OEM, but by the time everyone gets a look under the hood, the time for stealth is over anyway. A few chrome pieces look bright, a big aluminum radiator keeps things cool while long-tube headers help it breathe, and it's quite orderly under the hood, as it should be in a car designed for a single purpose. It's backed by a 4-speed manual transmission that shifts very smoothly, and one quick look at the beefy suspension with new and restored components throughout lets everyone know this Bel Air can really handle itself out on the road. The dual exhaust system cackles thanks to throaty mufflers and it sits on a custom A-arm front suspension that works with a big sway bar in the rear, all of which notably improve handling and adds disc brakes. Shiny chrome wheels add just enough flash and they carry beefy 235/70/15 blackwall radials, which complete the look perfectly.

Fast but completely sane on the outside, this is a well-executed sleeper and also a beautifully finished car that's totally sorted, so it's fun on a budget, too. Call now!


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