If Chevrolet got all crazy and rolled out a brand-new 1957 Bel Air
today, perhaps this is what it would look like. Big horsepower, a
6-speed manual gearbox, 4-wheel disc brakes, and all the modern
conveniences give you the impression that someone was very serious
about building a modern interpretation of a timeless classic.
The basic black look is pure '57 Bel Air magic, and this is the car that has lived in your imagination since you were eight years old. Workmanship is, of course, nicely done, with the build being completed about six years ago. Fit and finish are quite good, with tight gaps and alignment on the trim straight enough to use as a ruler. The paint is in good condition overall, showing a few signs of use and age, but with black that's probably inevitable and a professional buff would really make it shine. There's probably $10,000 worth of chrome and stainless on the car, all of it beautifully restored, and with only the later Rally wheels to give away the illusion, this resto-mod doesn't do much to tip off onlookers that something special is going on here. Nothing has been modified, shaved, or removed, and all of it looks almost like new (or better!), making this a wonderful car that catches people totally off guard when they see it up close.
If you want to truly be impressed, however, just take a look inside. It's beautifully restored with a correct red vinyl and black cloth interior that combines 1957 style with modern amenities. The funky cloth inserts with silver piping are some of the most dramatic details of any '50s automobile and it looks great here. Most of it is new, from the headliner to the black carpets, and it shows only the slightest bit of wear in the usual locations. The original steering wheel, column, and gauges help keep the illusion alive, and at a glance, there's no way to know the potent muscle car that lives underneath this '57's benign bodywork. Upgrades of course include ice cold A/C, a powerful AM/FM stereo, and the 6-speed shifter living just ahead of the bench seat. The OEM appearance continues in back, where the trunk is neatly finished in a low-key way, just like the rest of the car.
A ZZ4 350 cubic inch crate V8 was dropped between the fenders and fitted with a Thumper camshaft for that old-school sound. There's also a 4-barrel carburetor up top, aluminum heads, and a Mallory ignition system to light it up. Note how the custom aluminum radiator has been moved outside the original radiator cradle to add room and all the lines and hoses have been routed for easy service. It's not totally detailed but it was clearly built to be driven, and running down the road, this car is hard to beat. Long-tube headers and a custom exhaust system sound suitably aggressive without getting tiresome on the highway. Four-wheel disc brakes give it modern whoa to match the go, and with a 6-speed manual overdrive transmission, it is a comfortable, relaxed cruiser even with 3.90 gears in the 10-bolt rear end. It shows just a bit of rake on the ride height, but only enough to accentuate the 15-inch Rally wheels and 235/75/15 performance radials.
You could call this car a sleeper and nobody would argue. Big power, modern comfort, and a traditional look all mean this is a '57 that does everything well. Call today!
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.
In the early 1970s, when I was 5 years old, my grandmother bought a ’71 Chevrolet Chevelle.
With Spring upon us I can’t help but daydream of road trips – those perfect moments when you don’t have a care in the world, the windows are down, and your favorite song is on the radio.
What fascinates me about the Chevrolet Bel Ai is not only how it became an iconic classic car but an American icon over the last 60-or-so years since it debuted as an everyday family car.
A couple of years ago I was attending the Turkey Rod Run in Daytona Beach.