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Monday, September 28, 2015

The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air That Epitomizes the Fifties



The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air was lightning in a bottle. Before that, the design had been shared on cars going all the way back to the 1920s, but no one took much notice until the ’57 Bel Air debuted. It became an iconic symbol of not just automotive design of the time, but of the entire era. Its hardtop, non-detachable roof that looked like a convertible, soft-top struck a chord and spread across the General Motors line into other Chevys and Cadillacs.

The Bel Air had some serious style and it’s still a car that turns heads today. The ’57 received a complete facelift including a new dashboard, sealed cowl, distinctive chrome headlights, and 14-inch wheels to replace the previous 15-inch wheels. Those wheels made the car lower to the ground and gave it a sportier stance along with a wider grille and those killer tailfins.


Despite all these cosmetic changes, sales weren’t impressive. Success came a few years later in the 1960s, when hot rodders figured out they could replace the stock 283 cu. in. V8 engine with a 327 cu. in. engine, making 365 horsepower. This left other cars in the dust.

The 1957 Chevy Bel Air went on to win 25 NASCAR convertible races (yes, that was a thing at one time), which is a record for any one car model. They might not be winning races today like they were back in the ’60s, but they’re still a highly coveted car. You can expect to pay up to 6 figures for a car that originally sold for just $1,741.