Finding a world class, correctly restored tri-five convertible is becoming increasingly difficult for two reasons. First, the Bel Air has been at the top of almost every collector’s wish list for decades now. And secondly, they’re snatched up faster than a T-bone in a dog pound, with deposits being slapped down almost the minute one hits the market. The last three we’ve featured, this "Lakespur Blue classic":http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/sold/1957-Chevrolet-Bel-Air/132499#!/ this rare "Fuelie car":http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/top_sales_2011/1957-Chevrolet-Bel-Air/132420#!/ and this equally impressive "collection car":http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/sold/1957-Chevrolet-Bel-Air/132745#!/ brought $104K, $135K and $115K respectively, and all sold within a month of hitting our website. That means if you want to fulfill your dream of owning the holy grail of classic 50s style, you’d better be on point when our newest arrival goes live! Dressed in a correct black, red and silver color combination; equipped with its original Super Turbo Fire V8, Saginaw 3-speed drivetrain; and sporting only test miles since a complete frame-off restoration, this blue chip tri-five is the best we’ve ever had. If you’re looking for a super nice cruiser that you can drive and show with equal enthusiasm, this Bel Air is a great choice!
When you walk up to this stunning ragtop, the first thing you’ll notice is its remarkably straight body. That’s because someone invested a considerable amount of time in a complete frame-off restoration, and the fruit of their labor hangs from every perspective. No matter how hard the fine folks on GM’s assembly line may have tried, they simply didn’t have the time or technology to produce anything this clean. And as the beneficiary of a high quality nut and bolt rebuild, every angle of this 57’s finned body is solid and true. After countless hours of welding, aligning and sanding, the car’s expert restorers sprayed a correct coat of timeless GM code 793 Onyx Black under a thick clearcoat shell and buffed up a brilliant shine. And today, even in the harsh fluorescent lights of our bright showroom, the car’s panel fitment is even, its finish is glossy and its body displays no major imperfections.
There’s just something about late 50s GM convertibles that speaks to the very soul of any true car guy. And this Bel Air, with its solid body and acres of fresh brightwork, evokes the kind of euphoric nostalgia you might find in a classic Norman Rockwell painting. At the front of the car a heavy, body-width bumper houses a proper gold Bel Air grille behind a pristine Chevrolet crest and clear, white parking lights. Above that crest, Bel Air exclusive gold 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 Bel Air exclusive gold emblems and displays no dulling or imperfections of any kind. Below that stainless, dent-free rocker moldings and factory wheel skirts, which overemphasize the car’s overall length, perfectly reflect our stained concrete floor. At the top of those rockers, excellent looking stainless trim combines with a new driver’s mirror and traditional chrome door handles as a stylish complement to like-new glass and a correct white top. And at the back of the car, peaked stainless trim, which begins at the top of the fins and continues down to chrome trimmed tail lights, perfectly complements a second body-width chrome bumper and Bel Air exclusive gold trunk ornamentation.
In 1957, Chevrolet’s 283 cubic inch Super Turbo Fire V8 was the most common choice for factory GM performance. It made an advertised 220 horsepower, created a stout 300 lb./ft. of torque; and even in today’s world of 300 horsepower grocery getters, it’s still quick and impressive. Follow this Bel Air’s slick Onyx Black basecoat into its highly detailed engine bay and you’ll find a 1957-exclusive 3731548 small block that’s been layered in a thick coat of familiar Chevy Orange paint. At the top of that legendary mill, a fully restored satin black air cleaner funnels wind into a Power Pack exclusive 4-barrel carburetor that comes complete with a correct glass fuel bowl. At the base of that carburetor, a correct cast iron intake feeds air and fuel to authentic Power Pack heads that are capped by great looking stamped Chevrolet valve covers. And at the back of that intake, a traditional points distributor shoots fire through fresh Radio GM TVRS cables that are organized into painted metal wire looms. Once those fires have been lit, an original black radiator circulates coolant through fresh reproduction hoses and authentic squeeze clamps. Once that air and fuel is torched, bare metal exhaust manifolds whisk spent gases into a Power Pack true dual exhaust system. And once combustion is created, new V-belts spin a tagged Delco-Remy generator opposite a rebuilt Harrison air conditioning system. Everything in this Bel Air’s engine bay is as complete as its pristine exterior panels, and not a single detail was missed during the car’s calculated restoration.
Take a gander under this top notch tri-five and you’ll get an idea of just how recently its restoration was completed. Judging by the looks of things, I don’t think the car has seen more than 100 miles of post paint shop road time; and those miles certainly haven’t been logged on a wet surface. Its X-frame is stunningly straight and smooth. Its floor pans are solid and covered in the same GM satin black as its rebuilt suspension. And backing up the small block engine is an era-correct 3-speed manual transmission which wears a correct 3845122 Saginaw casting number. That column shifted transmission sends power to what appears to be a factory rear end. The car’s clean front suspension hangs factory power steering inside of correct coil springs and manual drum brakes. Its proven rear suspension hangs new shocks inside of correct leaf springs and two more manual drum brakes. Its mandrel bent true dual exhaust system features polished factory replacement mufflers. And keeping the power to the pavement is a familiar set of 14 inch painted steel wheels which spin 7.50-14 BF Goodrich Silvertown radials around mirror-like stainless wheel covers. Fortunately, this Chevy isn’t a victim of the rampant over-restoration that befalls so many ‘ropes and red carpet’ cars. And while its undercarriage is respectably clean, it’s certainly not anything you’ll be afraid to drive when there’s more than a 20% chance of rain.
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 bright red and metallic silver interior which stays true to its original scheme. The firm bench seats are covered in a mix of red and silver vinyl that perfectly contrasts the car’s monochromatic exterior paintwork. The curved dash is painted bright red and features spectacular stainless trim across the width of the car. The stylish gauge pod, detailed in chrome, centers a large speedometer between a fuel gauge and a temperature gauge. At the center of the car, you’ll find a correct Wonder Bar AM radio and controls for the rebuilt air conditioning system. At the edges of the car, stainless trim frames the inside of the windows while stainless from the dash flows into silver accents on the flawless two-tone door panels. At the bottom of the car, silver kick panels look great next to color-keyed floor mats which protect new red carpet. And the centerpiece of the interior is a restored red steering column which 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.
So if your enjoyment of a great old car involves getting behind the wheel and heading down the road, this is the perfect Bel Air to accompany you. Its restoration is solid and greatly enhances the road-worthiness of the car; and if you suddenly decide concours competition is where you’d like to go, 90% of the work is done. In the meantime, you can enjoy a rare, high quality classic that will be a hit anywhere it goes and bring a smile to the face of everyone who sees it!