Chevrolet’s handsome Bel Air is one of the most recognized and beloved classics of all time. Its clean lines, ornate trim and excellent proportions make for a handsome car that enjoys a fan base as big as the Grand Canyon; and not surprisingly, a wide array of these trademark cruisers proliferate car shows around the country. That level of popularity promotes builds which range from correct concours quality restorations all the way to wild creations that exceed the performance of today’s fastest sports cars. But the hobby’s sweet spot, and subsequently right where you’ll find this striking Bel Air convertible, is an excellent compromise between a static trailer queen and temperamental street warrior. Covered in smooth Onyx Black paint, dressed in an attractive two-tone interior, and equipped with an era-correct dual-quad/3-speed drivetrain, this super slick tri-five is a top notch showpiece that’s as comfortable on the asphalt as it is on the show green. If you’re looking for a solid, well-done classic that’ll turn heads and drop jaws, you’ve found your next investment!
Logging mere break-in miles since a first class frame-off restoration, this picturesque ’57 Chevy utilizes the highest quality replacement parts on the market to create a no excuses car with stellar good looks. During its extensive rebuild, every piece of the car’s body was honed and fine-tuned until it was as close to perfect as it could get. Once that canvas was fully prepped, a fantastic coat of correct GM code 793 Onyx Black paint was professionally sealed in a thick clearcoat shell, the car’s panels were carefully re-assembled into arrow-straight surfaces, and everything was buffed to a glare inducing shine. The result is one striking Bel Air which features first-rate finish work, presents exceptionally well and has enough visual punch to make ‘kids’ from 8 to 65 point, stare and smile.
The ’57 Bel Air is certainly the most ornate of the shoebox Chevys with sensational styling that’s highlighted by flashy trim, a lot of chrome and some of the best tail fins to ever sail their way out of Detroit. At the front of the car a heavy body-width bumper hangs a proper Bel Air grille behind a pristine Chevrolet crest and clear white parking lights. Above that crest, Bel Air-exclusive hood ornamentation sits between bright T3 headlights and good looking ’57 Chevy-exclusive ‘spear bullets and spoons’. At the sides of those bullets classic tri-five Chevy stainless, which visually connects the car’s front fenders with its rear fins, is branded by gold, Bel Air-exclusive emblems. At the edge of that stainless, dent-free rocker moldings and classic dual decklid antennas combine with Bel Air-exclusive fender louvers and traditional chrome door handles to lend a finished look to the car’s profile. At the top of that profile, well-maintained stainless trim combines with a small chrome driver’s mirror and bright stainless wipers to frame factory tint glass and a fresh black top. And at the back of the car, peaked stainless trim, which begins at the top of fins and continues down to chrome trimmed tail lights, flows into a second body-width bumper that’s centered below Bel Air-exclusive trunk ornamentation.
Of course, as nice as this tri-five looks, it’s what’s under the car’s hood that separates the cruisers from the bruisers. Hoist the glossy black bonnet and you’ll find a 283 cubic inch Super Turbo Fire V8 which props a dual 4-barrel, lift cam 283 (EB) assembled in Flint, Michigan (F) on May (5) 8th (08) 1957 build stamp above a correct 1957-specific 3731548 casting number. Consistently chosen over Rochester’s much-hyped Ramjet fuel injection as GM’s ultimate hot rod option, this stout small block is widely regarded as the starting point of Chevrolet’s amazing performance legacy. Those reliable Carter carburetors, which inhale through traditional AC oil bath air cleaners, bolt to a revised and tweaked intake manifold that’s seated in familiar Chevy Orange paint. At the sides of that intake, 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 intake, a traditional points distributor shoots fire through fresh Radio GM TVRS plug wires that are neatly loomed at the sides of the block. And in front of that intake, 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 stainless fuel lines, proper decals, a tagged Delco-Remy generator and even a reproduction Delco Energizer battery. And aesthetically, the car’s satin black fenders blend perfectly with its Onyx Black panels to make the bright orange small block really glow.
The themes of ‘super’ and ‘detailed’ continue at the bottom of this awesome ’57 Chevy where the car’s straight frame and solid floorpans are finished in a combination of traditional red oxide and subdued satin black. Behind the stout small block engine a sturdy 3-speed manual transmission, which wears an application-correct 3845122 Saginaw casting number and an April (D) 2nd (2) of 1957 (57) casting date, twists power through a fully rebuilt factory posi-traction rear end. Holding that solid drivetrain off the ground is a completely restored double A-arm front and leaf spring rear suspension that’s been equipped with correct manual steering. Quick stops and excellent pedal feel come courtesy of rugged four wheel drum brakes. A first-rate soundtrack is provided by a factory replacement exhaust system which sends spent gases through free-flowing, mandrel bent pipes and baritone turbo mufflers. All this head turning style rides on a correct set of 14 inch steel wheels which spin classy 7.50-14 BF Goodrich Silvertown white walls around pristine Chevrolet hubcaps. And everything from the car’s correctly marked driveshaft to its stainless steel fuel tank is clean, functional and ready to go!
In the mid-to-late 50s, few cockpits could top the Bel Air’s level of craftsmanship and showmanship. Open this convertible’s solid shutting doors and you’ll find a striking GM code 683 red and silver interior which stays true to the car’s original scheme. The firm bench seats are covered in a mix of red and silver vinyl that perfectly contrasts the car’s monochromatic exterior. The curved dash is layered in bright red urethane, and features spectacular stainless trim that spans the width of its vertical panels. The stylish gauge pod, detailed in chrome, centers a large bowtie branded speedometer between a smaller fuel gauge and temperature gauge. At the center of the interior, you’ll find a correct Wonder Bar AM/FM radio and controls for a rebuilt climate control system. At the edges of the interior, spotless trim frames clear windows while stainless from the dash spills over into flawless two-tone door panels. And at the bottom of the interior, silver kick panels look great next to color-keyed floor mats that protect like-new carpet. The driver spins a correct red steering wheel, complete with a chrome horn ring and a classic Chevrolet Bel Air centerpiece, around a chrome shifter for the car’s 3-speed manual transmission. And passenger’s store essentials in a freshly finished trunk that features a correct mat, a correct jack, correct decals and a full-size spare tire.
From the local show to the local strip, this fully-sorted Bel Air will stun even the harshest critics. It’s a highly desirable tri-five Chevy that’s been tweaked with all of the right stuff to be a serious road machine and a stunning trophy winner. Whether you’re taking it down the boulevard or displaying it at a major event, you’ll instantly draw a crowd and everyone will be talking about “that clean ’57 Chevy”. Looking for the ultimate Bel Air to enjoy day in and day out? Your search is officially over!