The second car that I ever owned in my life was a 1957 Bel-air. It was solid black and a two door. It had been previously used as a Police car in some community. If only I knew back then, what I know now. That was in 1967.
Let’s jump to the summer of 2004. While visiting my brother in law in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, I attended a Classic Car auction. Two of the vehicles sold were 57 Bel-Air’s. One was sold for $53,000 the other $52,500. I think that both cars were bought by the same gentlemen. Each vehicle was in immaculate condition.
The 1957 Chevy has been seen in many movies down through the years. The movie “American Graffiti” had several in it. If the car was kept in good condition, it was very valuable. But, besides that, it brings back great memories of a time long past.
The 57 Chevy was available in three official trim levels. The base level 150 series, the mid-range 210 series, and the up scale Bel-Air series. An upscale trim option called the Del Ray was available on the 210 2 door sedans. There was also a limited production of station wagons produced in the Bel-Air section called a “Nomad.” The “El Morocco” was a fourth designation in limited qualities. It mimicked the Cadillac of the era.
The 57 was a carry over from the 55. It had an 8 cylinder V-block engine. Prior to 55 you could only get a 6 cylinder engine. The car itself was a “shoebox” design with streamlined rear fenders. There were many Small changes in the car to increase the price of the vehicle but, also to make it more attractive to the general public. An attraction that still exists even today.
The two door vehicle was know as the “sports coupe.” The four door was known as the “sports sedan.” There were many different options available. there was the padded dash, am/fm radio, power windows, power seats, rear speakers, an automatic eye (which could pickup lights behind the vehicle, fuel injection, and a 283 cubic inch engine.
The turboglide transmission was also first introduced that year. However most owners went with the two speed “powerglide.” It had been used since 1950. The manual transmission was a three speed. Although some 57’s have added floor sticks to them, Chevy never made any originals themselves for production.
Despite the fine look of the vehicle, Ford outsold the Chevy product. However, after the production period was over, 57 Chevy’s became very popular. They were used by various companies and businesses. Many were used in later years as low riders by American Latinos. Today the vehicle is till in high demand. the value on them has remained very high. There was talk at General Motors about making replica’s of the vehicle in the near future. However with the way the auto industry has been lately, it has been put on hold.
It is my feeling that you can’t replace this classic.