As the middle child of the Tri-Five Chevys, we get fewer 1956 Bel
Airs than '55s and '57s. Why this is, I can't say, but it does mean
that when an ultra-nice '56 Bel Air convertible like this shows up
everyone takes notice. With a frame-off restoration, awesome
colors, and that famous small block V8, it looks and drives like
America's favorite collector car.
This car has had a cost-no-object frame-off restoration, which will give you a very good idea of how nice it truly is. It wears new paint, of course, and it accurately duplicates the original Crocus Yellow over Onyx Black paint scheme it wore on the showroom floor in 1956. The sheetmetal is straight enough to wear black paint easily, with fit and finish that are worth of this car's high-profile look and A-rated collectable status. The doors open and close the way only a solid, original car's door can, and since this car has practically been restored down to the molecular level there's a spectacular shine to the finish. All the trim is fully restored, as are the bumpers, which probably cost as much as a college education to restore. Accessory fender skirts and a continental kit make it look long and low, and if you're going to have a high-profile Chevy convertible, you may as well get one loaded with goodies.
The two-tone interior was restored to factory specs while they had it apart for paint, and the results are impressive. The funky materials they used back then were a joyous tribute to the optimistic '50s and they're accurately replicated inside this convertible, making it a great place to spend some time. Correct door panels echo the exterior styling with the swooping armrest inserts and the bright trim band that runs across the dash glitters like jewelry against the black instrument panel. Out of respect for the original design, the factory AM radio still lives in the dash and it's fully operational. The gauges were likewise restored and show bright printing on a black background, and there are exactly zero deviations from stock. There's also a brand new black convertible top with new top cylinders and pump, and our photo shoot was probably the first time it had ever been down because it has zero wrinkles. Finally, the trunk is finished as original, with a reproduction rubber mat and correct jack assembly (the spare tire lives in the continental kit, as it should).
To make this Bel Air the ultimate '50s cruiser, there's a correct 265 cubic inch V8 under the hood, fully rebuilt and detailed for show. Thanks to the Power Pack option, it has a 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust for a bit more horsepower, and with power steering and power brakes, it's as easy to drive as a modern car. Correct hardware, fasteners, and clamps make for a show-ready presentation and they've even included all the original-style tags and decals. The 2-speed PowerGlide automatic transmission shifts properly and feeds the original rear end with highway-friendly gears inside. A brand new dual exhaust system with glasspack-style mufflers has the right rumble without being obnoxious, and you can see what a clean car this is just by glancing at the chassis photos. Four steel wheels with wire hubcaps and proper wide whites give it a classic look and an OEM feel.
Beautifully finished, with all the original parts that were already in excellent shape expertly preserved, this is a high-end Bel Air that's ready to travel or show anywhere. Call today!
This is the 30th and final car in a 30-day countdown to Barrett-Jackson’s annual Las Vegas collector car auction
This is the 18th in a 30-day countdown to Barrett-Jackson’s annual Las Vegas collector car auction
H&H Classic Parts points out key parts of design changes from 1955-57
Pick of the Day is a 4-door Biscayne sedan in immaculate condition
A shiny Chevy grille, a little electrical tape, and we were stylin’, at least for a weekend
The Pick of the Day is a Chevy that packs the big-block performance V8 that was the subject of a famous Beach Boys song
This is the 12th vehicle in the 30-day Countdown to Barrett-Jackson’s 47th annual Scottsdale auction.
AutoAncestry leads new owner to the shops that restored his show-quality car
In 1958, I turned 16 and got my first car, a ’50 Chevy convertible my two older sisters had abandoned.