- Correct 283 cubic inch Chevrolet V8
- Correct Powerglide 2-speed automatic transmission
- Correct rear end with NOS 3.36 gears
- Powdercoated suspension
- Factory power steering
- Factory power drum brakes
- Correct Imperial Ivory paint
- Correct Red and Silver interior
- Wonder Bar radio
- National award winner
Experience tells us some restorations are so nice there's simply no way we can charge enough to cover the cost of their builds. And with 1957 Bel Air convertibles being six-figure purchases as is, we can't even imagine what it took to transform this killer tri-five into a national award winner. You see, collector cars are all about passion. And we've found that the best metal is built by guys who are interested in more than the money a project commands. Wrapping a correct white, red and silver color combination around a correct 283/Powerglide drivetrain, this slick rag top is the kind of well-done classic that'll have you racking up trophies and dreaming of sunsets. If you're one of the many enthusiasts who's constantly torn between the cool feeling of cruising the strip and the proud feeling of rounding the show circuit, why not enjoy a little of both?
This exceptionally clean drop-top is a no-compromises build that combines everything great about Bel Air design with marvelous craftsmanship and a correct Chevrolet small block. Officially revived by Steven King of Roanoke, Virginia, this pristine convertible was completely stripped and given a high quality, frame-off restoration that ensured every one of its tall body panels were returned to better-than-factory solidity. Once the car's fenders and doors were mocked up, its ripple-free body was blanketed in correct Imperial Ivory PPG and buried in a durable clearcoat shell. And today, this Chevy rolls as a refreshing spin on a traditional look that combines the visual punch of a classic Ferrari with the visual class of a vintage Cadillac.
The '57 is certainly the most well-known of the tri-fives, with brilliant trim and crisp, retro styling that strikes a perfect balance between grandiose '50s bling and exaggerated '60s proportions. At the front of the car, a guarded, body-width bumper centers a gold Bel Air grille behind a pristine Chevrolet crest and two clear parking lamps. Above that crest, Bel Air-exclusive header ornamentation rides between hooded T3 headlights and '57 Chevy-exclusive 'spear bullets and spoons'. At the sides of those headlights, classic tri-five stainless, which visually connects the car's fenders with its fins, is branded by Bel Air-exclusive emblems that display no dulling or imperfections of any kind. At the top of those emblems, curvy chrome trim combines with correct chrome mirrors, new stainless wipers and a black vinyl roof to perfectly frame tinted greenhouse glass. At the back of that roof, peaked stainless caps begin at the top of the car's fins and crawl past angled antennas to a second guarded bumper, optional reverse lamps and '57 Chevy-exclusive tail lights. And above that bumper, a Bel Air-exclusive “Chevrolet” script complements a matching gold “V” and traditional gold tag frame.
In the '50s, Chevrolet's 283 cubic inch Super Turbo Fire V8 was the most common choice for factory GM performance. It made an advertised 220 horsepower, created a stout 300 lb./ft. of torque and, even in today's world of 300 horsepower grocery getters, is still quick and very impressive. Follow this Bel Air's slick Imperial shine into its highly detailed engine bay and you'll find a fully rebuilt small block that's been bored .30 over, fitted with hardened valve seats and layered in a thick coat of Chevy Orange paint. At the top of that legendary mill, an old school, gloss black air cleaner funnels wind into a Power Pack-exclusive 4-barrel that's complete with a familiar AC fuel bowl. At the base of that carburetor, a correct cast iron intake feeds air and fuel to authentic Power Pack heads that are capped by stamped and silver-detailed valve covers. At the back of that intake, a traditional points distributor shoots fire through 7mm AC Delco Premium Wires, which are organized into painted metal looms. Once those fires have been lit, a glossy black radiator circulates coolant through reproduction GM hoses and authentic squeeze clamps. Once that air and fuel is torched, bare metal exhaust manifolds whisk spent gases into a Power Pack true-dual exhaust system. And once combustion is created, new V-belts spin a tagged Delco-Remy generator opposite factory power steering. Everything in this Bel Air's freshly painted engine bay is as complete as its pristine exterior panels. And not a detail was missed during the car's calculated restoration; with items like correct tags, correct decals and a Delco yellow cap battery setting a trophy-winning tone.
Under this razor-sharp drop-top, a stunningly straight chassis is finished in standard Satin Black paint and, when viewed next to the car's plethora of powdercoated suspension parts, looks so nice you'll swear it's seen less than 100 miles of country black top. Above that top notch chassis, solid red floorpans wear a chip-free coat of what appears to be traditional oxide primer. Behind the engine, a correct 2-speed Powerglide transmission spins torque to a correct rear end that's rebuilt with NOS bearings and 3.36 NOS gears. Holding that road ready powertrain in place is a fully restored suspension which includes traditional control arms up front, correct leaf springs out back and fresh spiral shocks at all four corners. Modern car turning characteristics are provided by an optional power steering system. Short, confident stops come courtesy of optional power drum brakes. At the center of the floor, a 2.5-inch, true-dual exhaust system sends spent gases through deep-sounding turbo mufflers to aluminized tips. And the power hits the pavement thanks to 14-inch steelies, which spin old fashioned 7.50-14 Firestone Deluxe Champion whitewalls around ornate stainless covers.
The spectacular cockpits in second generation Bel Airs need no introduction, but here goes. Depress the button on this Chevy's bright chrome door handle and you'll find a correct GM code 683 Red and Silver interior that was installed by Freddie King of Roanoke, Virginia. The rebuilt front and rear bench seats are all-day comfortable and feature supple, chrome-trimmed hides that fit well and feel great. Beneath those seats, fresh black carpet props Bel Air-crested floor mats next to clean silver kick panels and bright Fisher sill plates. At the edges of that carpet, flawless two-tone door panels are anchored beneath sculpted toppers and classy stainless frames. At the front of those panels, a bright red dash is dotted with a Wonder Bar radio, stylish, bowtie-branded gauges and spectacular chrome trim. The driver spins a correct red steering wheel around a chrome horn ring and classic Chevrolet centerpiece. And passengers store their essentials in a freshly finished trunk that features a correct mat, a correct jack, a correct decal and a full-size spare tire.
As previously mentioned, this awesome cruiser is the recipient of many prestigious accolades. In 2010, it was awarded National First Prize by the AACA and nominated as an Outstanding Vehicle. That same year, it scored 980 out of 1000 points to earn a Chevy Classics Club Platinum Award. And, in 2011, it was given AACA's Preservation Award and once again nominated as an Outstanding Vehicle.
When you add up all the ingredients that went into building this killer Bel Air, it becomes obvious that someone really cherished the car. There are no shortcuts, no marginal parts and nothing that looks out of place on what is uniformly a high-quality piece. Of course, quality never goes out of style. And when you drive this drop-top, you can literally watch the crowds form!
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