With 1957 Bel Air convertibles being six-figure collectables and arguably the hottest segment in the collector car hobby, it takes a lot of guts and even more money to pull the gloves off, buck tradition and build a highly modified pro-tourer. But when you stand back and look at a car like this 994 out of 1000 point show winner, you realize ignoring tradition and thinking outside of the box definitely pays off. With a seamless Porsche Red body, a custom leather interior that’s complete with both air conditioning and a modern sound system, and a hot LS1 Corvette motor that makes reliable cruising a breeze at ANY speed, this awesome rag top is the kind of well-done custom that you can pick up trophies with and enjoy absolutely anywhere on the open road. There will always be super nice Bel Air resto-mods, but few tri-fives have this car’s awesome combination of modern performance and classic style. If you’re one of the many enthusiasts who’s constantly torn between the cool virtues of a Friday night boulevard cruiser and the adrenaline rush of a Saturday afternoon curve carver, why not enjoy a little of both?
Professionally built without any regard for expense, this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible it is chock full of marvelous craftsmanship. As a no-compromises showpiece, which combines everything great about classic Chevy design with modern technology that’s more akin to a new Corvette, its complete frame-off restoration began with a 100% rust-free body. Once that body’s panels exhibited a rock solid factory appearance, and displayed precise fit and finish which rivaled the best modern cars on the market, their seams were filled with lead and their surfaces were bathed in a killer combination of Porsche Red paint and thick, glossy clear. The result is one rockin’ tri-five hot rod which looks absolutely stunning and is sure to elicit double takes wherever it goes.
The ‘57 is certainly the most well-known of the tri-five Chevys with brilliant trim and crisp, retro styling that strikes a perfect balance between grandiose 50s bling and exaggerated 60s proportions. At the front of the car a heavy, body-width bumper houses a proper gold Bel Air grille behind a pristine Chevrolet crest and two clear parking lights. Above that Chevrolet crest, Bel Air exclusive gold hood ornamentation sits between good looking ’57 Chevy exclusive ‘spear bullets and spoons’ and new hooded headlights. At the sides of the car classic tri-five side panels, which connect the front fenders with the rear fins, are branded by Bel Air exclusive gold emblems and display no dulling or imperfections of any kind. At the top of those fenders, excellent looking stainless trim combines with correct chrome mirrors, new Raingear wipers and a canvas Saddle top to perfectly frame a like-new greenhouse. At the back of the car, peaked stainless trim begins at the top of the fins and continues down to ’57 Chevy exclusive chrome tail lights and a second body-width chrome bumper. And between those tail lights, another Bel Air exclusive gold “Chevrolet” script complements a matching gold “V” and four pristine Borla stainless exhaust tips.
Take a peek under this car’s smooth, rolled hood and you’ll find a stout 5.7 liter LS1 Corvette V8 which produces solid power and effortless torque. Straight from GM, this fully-sorted package combines a sturdy aluminum block with lightweight aluminum heads, coil-near-plug ignition and aluminum flat top pistons to create razor sharp throttle response and lightning quick acceleration. At the front of the engine a modern serpentine system, which is complete with a full set of chrome pulleys and chrome brackets, spins a chrome alternator and a chrome AC compressor at the sides of a chrome air cleaner that’s equipped with a fresh re-usable filter element. Once air enters that filter, it flows through a factory LS1 throttle body into a factory LS1 intake which is bolted down over completely stock internals. High octane fossils are provided by a GM electronic fuel injection system. Sparks are sequenced through factory GM plug wires. Spent gases are whisked away by a slick pair of ceramic coated shorty headers. And cooling comes courtesy of a heavy duty Griffin radiator that’s complete with a chrome cover, black and chrome corrugated hoses, a polished overflow tank, a chrome Griffin branded cap and two large puller fans. Not a detail has been missed under this Bel Air’s satin black hood. Niceties such as a chrome brake booster and master cylinder, detailed hood hardware, braided hoses and trick braided dipsticks add just the right amount of flash and detail to make people stop and take notice. And the car’s glossy engine compartment combines with the LS1’s clean silver casting to provide a natural contrast which oozes performance appeal.
Underneath this sharp drop-top a stunningly straight and smooth chassis is finished in flawless satin black paint and, when viewed next to the car’s plethora of clean suspension parts, looks so nice you’ll swear it’s floated down less than 10 miles of country black top. Above that top notch chassis, solid red floor pans wear a chip-free coat of what appears to be traditional oxide primer. And behind the engine, a new 4L60E 4-speed spins torque through a new driveshaft and a fully rebuilt rear end. Holding that road ready powertrain in place is a fresh, fully-sorted suspension which includes tubular control arms up front, correct leaf springs out back and a fresh set of Monroe Sensa Trac shocks at all four corners. Modern car turning characteristics are provided by Concept One power steering. Short, confident stops come courtesy of power four wheel disc brakes. And at the center of the floor, a 2.5 inch mandrel bent exhaust system sends spent gases through deep sounding Flowmaster Hushpower II mufflers to spotless Borla exhaust tips. All the car’s fuel lines, brake lines and stainless fasteners appear fresh and free of weathering. Cool finishing touches, which include a thick front sway bar and a polished stainless fuel tank, combine trophy winning prowess with modern drivability. And putting the power to the pavement is a sweet set of 17 inch Foose Nitrous wheels which wear sticky 245/45 front and 255/45 rear General Exclaim Ultra High Performance radials.
Hit the button for the car’s remote keyless entry and you’ll find a gorgeous Saddle leather interior that has been stitched from front to back without any regard for busting the budget on time or cost. The rebuilt front and rear bench seats are all-day comfortable and feature supple, chrome trimmed hides that fit well and feel great. Beneath those seats, upscale tan carpet props color-keyed, bowtie branded floor mats next to attractive stainless pedal covers and a custom, bowtie branded console which flows leather into the bottom of the car’s bright red dash. On the doors, custom sculpted panels look great between custom armrests, billet handles, bright red toppers and familiar chrome accessory switches. And front and center, a curvaceous dash is detailed with traditional tri-five stainless, controls for the car’s Vintage Air climate system and a glove box mounted Custom Autosound head unit which bumps beats through both custom rear quarter speakers and tan Pioneer kick panel speakers. In front of the driver a bold, polished aluminum steering wheel spins a Saddle rim around a red and chrome tilt steering column, a full set of billet stalks and a full set of Classic Instruments whited faced gauges. And behind the cockpit, a custom leather convertible cowl snaps down over a remote activated trunk which features attractive leather accent panels, a hidden Custom Autosound 10 disc CD changer, and enough room for all your car show essentials.
Included with the sale of this spotless Bel Air is a component manual for its Custom Autosound 10 disc CD changer.
With merely shakedown miles since it was completed, this Bel Air is exactly the kind of car that ends up taking home big awards at big shows. Its restoration work is absolutely first rate and its professionally built drivetrain is fully-sorted and ready for years of carefree cruising. Take this Chevy for a drive, or trailer it to shows, and watch the crowds form! If you’ve been looking for the ultimate tri-five Chevy, we have the car for you!