In the classic car hobby you can find tons of awesome tri-fives that have been transformed into everything from rat rods to pro street weekend warriors. But, as cool as those cars are, their extensive modifications and rabid adherence to their owners ‘unique’ visions has almost become a selling handicap. After all when it comes to cars like Chevy’s Bel Air, which carry a timeless style that will forever be associated with one of the greatest designs in automotive history and one of the greatest eras in American history, it’s best just to restore things back the way the factory intended. That’s why cars like this stunning 2-owner 1956 2-door will ALWAYS be in demand. And given its era-correct V8, correct color combination and complete dealer-to-restoration documentation, it’s hard to see why anyone would buy anything less. If you’re a fan of 50s Chevrolet design, but would rather have a chrome-laden period piece than a modified wannabe, this razor-sharp Bel Air is just the trophy king you’ve been searching for!
According to the stack of documentation included with its sale, Avrell H. Graves of Corryton, Tennessee acquired this $2,376.55 Chevy by trading his 1948 sedan, $395.80 in cash and $1,600 in payments to Walker Motors in Clinton, Tennessee. A proud Bel Air owner, Avrell would keep the car in original unrestored condition for the rest of his life and eventually pass it to his son Zane. Zane, knowing a family treasure when he saw it, decided to execute a full frame-off restoration that would eventually see the car leave his garage in better-than-factory condition. And today, this vintage Chevy cruiser is a fully sorted head turner that’s just as impressive on a summer show field as it is at a local drive-in! The car’s deep Sherwood Green and Pinecrest Green reflections are the direct result of hours of high quality bodywork. Its super straight panels and excellent fit present the best possible combination of ‘fabulous fifties’ design and 21st century build techniques. And overall, its killer style and crisp restoration is a solid reminder of happier days and simpler times.
As a classic car owner you really can’t go wrong with any 50s Chevy, but I think GM’s designers perfected the division’s styling statement in 1956. Take a look at this gorgeous Bel Air and you’ll see detailing that walks a fine aesthetic line between the plain look of its 1955 ancestors and the exaggerated and overwrought appearance of its ‘57-’59 offspring. At the front of the car, a trademark body-width chrome bumper hangs a full set of overriders in front of a pristine chrome grille, clear parking lights, chrome trimmed T3 headlights and a showroom fresh Chevrolet crest. At the sides of that crest classic tri-five Chevy stainless, which visually connects the car’s front fenders with its rear fins, is accented by Bel Air-exclusive emblems. At the edges of that stainless, dent-free rocker moldings and coveted fender skirts combine with Bel Air-exclusive fender toppers and traditional chrome door handles to lend a finished look to the car’s profile. At the top of that profile, a chrome jetbird hood ornament leads the eye to spotless stainless trim which combines with new chrome mirrors and bright stainless wipers to frame like-new glass. And at the back of the car, a second body-width bumper hangs two more overriders between clear, chrome trimmed tail lights, Bel Air-exclusive trunk ornamentation and a stainless, Bel Air branded exhaust tip. That’s it…. Just classic lines, clean trim and no need for 10 pounds of chrome and extravagant visual gimmicks.
Since this killer tri-five is more parade queen than stoplight warrior, it should come as no surprise that the era-correct small block V8 living behind its grille is a gimmick-free exercise in factory accuracy and antique showmanship. Hoist the car’s glossy green bonnet and you’ll find a 265 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 which props a 1956 model (56) 3-speed backed V8 (G) assembled in Tonawanda, New York (T) build stamp above a correct 3720991 casting code. Glance between those numbers and you’ll find a reliable Rochester 2-barrel carburetor that mixes air from an “AC” branded air cleaner with gas from fresh stainless fuel lines and an old school fuel bowl. At the sides of that carburetor, stamped and silver detailed Chevrolet valve covers hang over fully restored cast iron exhaust manifolds that are piped into a factory correct exhaust system. Behind that carburetor, a traditional points distributor shoots fire through fresh AC Delco Packard TV R Suppression wires that are neatly loomed at the sides of the block. And in front of that carburetor, a gloss black radiator circulates coolant through fresh GM branded hoses and authentic metal squeeze clamps. In addition to its killer powerplant, this Bel Air offers a correctly detailed engine bay that’s complete with dual horns, a rebuilt wiper motor, a correct generator and even a reproduction Delco battery. And aesthetically, the car’s satin black fenders perfectly complement both its deep red engine block and Pinecrest Green firewall.
The car’s stout small block is backed by a column shifted Muncie 3-speed transmission that sends power to a factory Bel Air rear end which enjoys long cruises down the highway. That solid drivetrain is housed in a completely rebuilt suspension which, along with the car’s traditional manual steering and firm manual drum brakes, provides a great combination of ride and handling characteristics. And that rebuilt suspension rolls on a classic set of 15 inch painted steel wheels which spin 6.70-15 BF Goodrich Silvertown wide white walls around pristine center caps and optional wire wheel covers. To battle the rigors of Mother Nature, this Bel Air’s solid floors have been sealed in a mild layer of undercoating. Completely fresh hardware is present and accounted for all the way from the car’s stainless fuel tank to its satin black oil canister. And an authentic ‘snap, crackle, pop’ engine note is provided by a single-pipe, factory replacement exhaust system which breathes through a large turbo muffler. All this stellar hardware and expert craftsmanship adds up to one road-ready classic that’ll provide years of carefree cruising and stacks of well-earned trophies!
Featuring a correct array of Light Green accents, the restoration-fresh interior of this Bel Air is one of its most impressive traits. At the center of the car rebuilt bench seats, which feel firm to the touch, are covered in pristine plaid cloth and clean green vinyl that is highlighted by bright silver piping. On the doors stylish green panels, which almost look custom, hang chrome door handles, chrome window cranks and chrome vent window handles next to sculpted armrests. At the floor, fresh green Daytona carpet is protected by rubber, Bel Air branded mats. On the roof, a clean and tight headliner stretches from the curved front window to a straight green package tray. And at the front of the car, a pristine dash hangs a traditional Bel Air speaker, a correct AM radio and spectacular chrome gauges above controls for the car’s deluxe heater and an optional stainless tissue box. The driver stays connected to the road via a glossy green steering wheel which spins around a full chrome horn ring. And the passengers carry their essentials via a fully restored trunk which props a correct jack and full-size spare tire between a correct fender decal and a new rubber mat.
One of the coolest aspects of this vintage Chevy cruiser is the amount of documentation and historical paperwork that’s included with its sale. Here’s a comprehensive list of what the car’s proud new owner will receive:
* An original bill of sale from Walker Chevrolet in Clinton, Tennessee
* An original dealer invoice from Walker Chevrolet in Clinton, Tennessee
* An original dealer inspection from Walker Chevrolet in Clinton, Tennessee
* An original title card
* An original 1956 Chevrolet owner’s manual
* An original 1956 Chevrolet car guide
* An Original 1956 Chevrolet color chart
* An original box, complete with installation instructions, for the car’s back up lamps
* Original State Farm insurance paperwork
* Original 1956 Chevrolet warranty paperwork
* Original 1956 Chevrolet engine break in instructions
* Original 1956 Magic Mirror paint paperwork.
* Original 1956 chrome care facts
* A stack of restoration receipts
* A few restoration photos
* A complete title history
* A picture of the car’s original owner that’s accompanied by a letter from his son.
Are you sick of the modern, homogenized tri-fives that dominate today’s street rod culture? This fully documented Bel Air is exactly what you need to restore your interest in traditional 50s class! It wraps an authentic 265 cubic inch small block V8 in a striking and correct color combination and a fresh frame-off restoration that simply cannot be duplicated at our asking price. If you’ve been dreaming of the perfect blend of classic 50s design and old school hot rod style, wake up! It’s time to claim your car.