Even though the tri-five Chevys are outrageously popular, we get
fewer '56s than '55s and '57s, and that's a shame, because this
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air proves that they're great-looking cars.
Simplicity always works best, so combining a great-running small
block with a timeless look makes for a car that's easy to love.
That two-tone Crocus Yellow and Tuxedo Black combination looks quite good on the clean 210 sheetmetal, and if there's one word to define this car that would be it: clean. Note that it retains all its original factory trim and that's why we like the '56s so much: look at the way the two-tone slices through the bodywork. With a high-contrast color combination, there's just nothing that looks better. The paint itself has a nice shine and while it does show signs of use and age, there's nothing to worry about when you roll into the cruise night behind the wheel. Gaps are good and the workmanship on the modifications was professionally done, so it's hard to say where the stock stuff ends and the custom parts begin. The brightwork that remains on the car is in good order, including the bumpers, grille, and simply straight piece of stainless running along the flanks. The Bowtie emblems in the parking lights are a neat touch and twin pipes out back suggest it's not completely stock, but overall it looks like 1956 all over again.
The simple, understated interior puts a priority on function over flash, and that's perfectly OK with us. The original seat was covered in comfortable black fabric with yellow and black vinyl, so it looks the way the factory might have done it but it's a lot more comfortable. Original-style patterns help keep the '50s vibe inside and the nicely trimmed door panels work even better in that regard. A stock steering wheel offers some high-class detailing and we love the old-school three-on-the-tree shifting. The original instrument panel still monitors speed and fuel level and the original radio is still in the dash, although it's not working and an upgrade would really make this a nice place to be. There's a lot of room in the back seat and the spacious trunk is correctly finished with a black rubber mat and a matching fifth wheel in need of a tire.
For reliability and performance, the 350 cubic inch V8's combination is tough to beat. Recently rebuilt, it's been disguised as an original 265 and still runs the original 2-barrel carburetor. A factory-style air cleaner and Chevrolet script valve covers make it look right, but it's clear that this car was built for driving, so they focused primarily on making sure everything is up to the task. There's a correct generator making the electricity, a single-reservoir master cylinder, and a big radiator up front, so it's ready to drive. The chassis isn't detailed for show, but with a newer dual exhaust system and a recent gas tank, it's an excellent cruiser that's comfortable and reasonably quick, so you won't get tired of driving it. The suspension sits just right on those plain-Jane painted wheels and dog-dish hubcaps with right-sized bias-ply blackwalls for a very period look.
Not a show car and unashamed, this is the '56 Chevy that's ready for road trips and casual shows. Fast, fun, and tasteful, we should all be so lucky as to own a car like this at some point. Call today!
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.
In the early 1970s, when I was 5 years old, my grandmother bought a ’71 Chevrolet Chevelle.