The reason pro-built cars are expensive isn't because they pay more
for paint or know how to build faster engines. No, the pros know
that details matter, and this 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible is
an ideal example. Exceptionally well-built, it's amazing on first
glance, but you'll discover its true nature only after spending a
few hours looking at all the little stuff.
For you guys admiring the paint and wondering how you can get it on your own ride, I'm sorry, but it's a proprietary mix that was concocted just for this Bel Air. There's a little Lexus silver, a little extra metallic, and a whole lot of time and effort, so you can't really get the full effect from just these photos. But see it in the sun and you'll understand why it cost what it did. Of course, you can't just throw great paint on average bodywork, so they worked overtime to get the panels straight, aligned everything better than the guys at the factory, then buffed it out to a mirror shine. A few trim pieces were shaved, including the hood ornament and door handles, but the traditional Bel Air side pieces are still in place and looking great. But that also means the trim had to be up to the same standards, so a boatload of cash went into fresh chrome on the bumpers, a new billet grille, fully polished stainless body trim, and razor-sharp Bel Air script. And by the way, yes, those are ultra-rare 1-piece California bumpers.
Completely color-matched with custom two-tone upholstery, the interior a modern look and blends it seamlessly with the 1955 surroundings. The bucket seats are from a Lexus as well, and were wrapped in gray leather and get this, real stingray skin to give it an upscale look that's all-day comfortable and truly unique. There's also a center console that integrates the touch-screen navigation/entertainment system, A/C controls, ignition switch, and a cup holder, and it's so neatly integrated that you'll wonder why the GM engineers didn't think of that back in 1955. The original dashboard has been restored using a billet insert that spans the whole width of the dash, with custom housings underneath for the A/C vents. In back, twin buckets straddle a custom console of their own, which also includes another video screen for the entertainment system. A tilt column with a leather-wrapped wheel, custom aluminum pedals, power windows, locks, and seats are all part of the package. The trunk is upholstered in the finest tradition and includes its own video screen just for the wow factor. It has also been fitted with a new black convertible top that fits flush under a fitted gray boot.
The engine bay is like artwork, with a GM crate motor displacing 350 cubic inches and fitted with Ram Jet fuel injection. The installation is ultra-sanitary, using a factory serpentine belt drive system, hidden wiring, a nicely finished firewall, and plenty of shiny aluminum and chrome pieces. It's backed by a 700R4 4-speed automatic, and with 3.50 gears in the 9-inch Ford rear end, this car runs as great as it looks. Stainless headers feed a custom Flowmaster exahust system that sounds suitably aggressive it's got power steering to make around-town handling that much easier. Four-wheel Wilwood discs, fully finished floors, and a color-matched frame mean that you'll have to invest in some extra mirrors to show it off. 17-inch Torque Thrusts look great and wear 225/50/17 front and 275/50/17 rear Nitto radials that are exactly the right size for this vintage iron.
This gorgeous Bel Air clearly demonstrates that beauty is truly in the details. Call today!
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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.
What do you do if you have a beautiful, low-mileage ’55 Chevy with a crapped-out engine that wasn’t supplying enough power anyway?