The 1957 Bel Air is considered by many to be the iconic car of the ’50s. Chevy produced about 50,000 Bel Air convertibles in 1957 and today it is one of the most collectible cars ever made. Chevy also built two lesser versions of its full sized car in 1957, the 150 and the 210. Although the Bel Airs are generally the most desirable, the other models also have there devotees.
The V8 engines for 1957 were upped to 283 cubic inches from the previous year’s 265. A two barrel carburetor was standard on the V8s, and a single or dual four barrel version was optional. Much rarer and very collectible 1957 Chevrolets were equipped with fuel injection.
A fond memory of my early years was visiting our local Chevy dealer with my dad the night the ’57s were introduced. I was amazed by the huge rear fins. The grille was a massive expanse of chrome, and the fact that the gas filler cap was hidden behind the left rear fin was really cool.
My 1957 Bel Air convertible is a pride of the collection. It was purchased in 2011 in Kentucky after having gone through restoration.
The Bel Air is matador red with a red/silver interior and white power top. It is equipped with the correct 283 cubic inch 220 horsepower V8 with a four barrel carburetor, dual exhaust (power pack) and a two speed Powerglide automatic transmission.
The red Bel Air represents the second 57 convertible I have owned. The first was a flawless ebony black model that I had purchased from a very nice couple in Michigan some time ago. The car was restored to a level that made driving it worrisome. A scratch to the underbody would have been a disaster.
After much thought I decided to sell it and purchase a replacement that would be very well restored, but to a level that would allow me to enjoy it without feeling paranoid about someone touching it. The current car fits that description. It’s a beautiful restoration that allows driving and showing without the paranoia. It’s been a hit wherever it’s gone. Other folk’s enjoyment of the car adds real pleasure to ownership.