1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible – $74,995

by | Sep 2022 | Classifinds, Topless Thursday

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When it comes to several iconic classic cars, at this point, there is no shortage of examples that have been fully restored at some point.  A prime example is the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Airs.  If you have your heart set on owning one, chances are good that you will be able to find one in the color combination and power train you prefer in a relatively short amount of time.  The 1990s saw an explosion of Tri-Five Chevys (1955-1957) get brought back to like-new condition as a cottage industry of suppliers started offering restoration parts for these cars.

This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible currently listed here on Craigslist in Beverly, New Jersey could either be a survivor quality example or a well-used driver-quality example that benefitted from an older restoration.  We can’t decide based on the pictures and the seller’s description, so you’ll have to interview him more to know which is the case for this Bel Air.

Currently offered for $74,995, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is well below the one-year rolling average of this guide’s summary for 1957 Chevrolets of all body styles and power trains.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the ride featured here:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $73,000 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $102,000 before making adjustments for engine size and air conditioning.

Chevrolet first used the Bel Air brand name on its two-door pillarless hardtop models of the early 1950s. Chevrolet launched the second-generation Bel Air for the 1955 model year.  As the top trim level in Chevrolet’s lineup, Bel Airs came with features found on cars in the lower models ranges plus interior carpet, chrome headliner bands on hardtops, chrome spears on front fenders, stainless steel window moldings, full wheel covers, and a Ferrari-inspired front grille. Models were further distinguished by the Bel Air name script in gold lettering later in the year.

For 1955 Chevrolets gained a V8 engine option and the option of the 2-speed Powerglide automatic.  The new 265 cubic inch V8 featured a modern, overhead valve high compression ratio, short stroke design that eventually remained in production for decades. The base V8 relied on a two-barrel carburetor to produce 162 horsepower.  The “Power Pack” option featured a four-barrel carburetor and other upgrades yielding 180 horsepower. Later in the year, a “Super Power Pack” option added high-compression and a further fifteen horsepower. Warning lights replaced gauges for the generator and oil pressure.

Initially, General Motors executives wanted an entirely new car for 1957, but production delays necessitated the 1955–56 design for one more year.  Ed Cole, the chief engineer for Chevrolet, dictated a series of changes that significantly increased the cost of the car. These changes included a new dashboard, sealed cowl, and the relocation of air ducts to the headlight pods, which resulted in the distinctive chrome headlight that helped make the ’57 Chevrolet a classic. Fourteen-inch wheels replaced the fifteen-inch wheels from previous years to give the car a lower stance, and a wide grille was used to give the car a wider look from the front. The now-famous ’57 Chevrolet tailfins were designed to duplicate the wide look in the rear. Bel Air models, though maintaining the same chassis, powertrains, and body, were given upscale gold trim: the mesh grille insert and front fender chevrons, as well as the “Chevrolet” script on the hood and trunk, were all rendered in anodized gold. The 1957 Chevrolets did not have an oil pressure gauge or a voltmeter.

The US Auto Industry YouTube Channel features this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air commercial:

This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible gives off an older restoration vibe, but the seller can confirm whether that is true.  The interior wear and wrinkles may signify the original material and not reupholstery. You’ll need to confirm that with the seller.  We’d also like to confirm whether this car has only A/C and not heat. That would indicate this car likely started duty in Florida or another warmer climate.

If you are serious about buying this Bel Air, you can start the conversation by calling Jeff at (609) 668-9300When you connect, please remember to mention you saw his Chevrolet convertible featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1957 Bel Air Convertible with documented mileage, on NJ title since 1986.
While this car looks like a pro-mod, it is not; only the wheels and headlights have been changed. Being sold with factory wheels, tires, hubcaps, and wheel-well extensions (matching color). Convertible hydraulics just replaced (new pump, lines, and cylinder). Same owner since 2013, and only selling due to health reasons.  My Insurance carrier values this car at $87,000.

Show or go: What would you do with this driver-quality 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible?  Please comment below and let us know!

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