I could call this car the Great Pretender. Not because it's a fake (how would you fake a 1955 Chevy Bel Air?), but because the line between original and updated equipment is so perfectly seamless. At first glance it looks like a beautifully restored 1955 Bel Air, but then you look closer and see smart modifications that make this car an absolute joy on the road and one that will remain a strong contender at any car show you're likely to attend. There's nothing wild or permanent, but instead it's full of thoughtful touches that put the driver first, things like ice cold A/C, a remote hidden stereo system, and wide whitewall radials for a comfortable ride. If you love the way a 1955 Chevy looks but appreciate modern conveniences, you really need to take a good, long look at this beautiful car.
Originally Harvest Gold over India Ivory, this Bel Air now sports a heartbreakingly beautiful coat of Cashmere Blue over India Ivory, which was an available color combination in 1955. The paint is modern 2-stage urethane, but there's no metallic in it, so it looks 100% authentic, albeit much shinier and deeper than any vintage lacquer could. Strictly adhering to the original paint lines hidden behind the stainless trim, it looks better than any showroom-fresh Chevy did in 1955, and gives away nothing in terms of noteworthy modifications. If you saw this car rolling past you in a parking lot, all you would notice is a beautifully restored car. Panel gaps are very good all around, with doors that open and close like the proverbial bank vaults. Even the unique flip-up trim along the top of the side windows is intact and perfectly functional, snapping out of the way whenever the doors are opened. Fender skirts are part of the package, and they fit properly and don't rattle.
On any '50s car, there's going to be a lot of trim, and all the bright pieces on this car glitter like expensive jewelry. The bumpers and grille have been rechromed and look great, while much of the stainless is probably good original stuff that has been polished and smoothed for show. Glass all around is clear, and the chrome frames around the side windows are in good condition. Emblems and lenses are reproduction items, but there's no harm in that they're pretty much indistinguishable from originals save for the rear taillight lenses which seem to be smoked a little darker than original. Oh, and there's that gorgeous continental kit out back that really dresses up this little Chevy.
Hoist up that easy-opening hood and take a gander at the built small block under the hood. No, it's not an original 265, but a later 327 topped by a trio of 2-barrel Rochester carburetors on an Offenhauser intake, each sporting their own air cleaner like an original Tri-Power setup. Bathed in correct Chevy Orange, it also sports cast aluminum Corvette valve covers for a period performance look. If you were into hot cars in, say, 1963, this is probably what a killer 1955 engine compartment would have looked like. Then, of course, you notice goodies like the chrome 1-wire alternator, polished A/C compressor, and chrome-plated dual master cylinder and power brake booster, all modern conveniences that make this 45-year-old feel more like a 5-year-old. Up front there's an original style radiator cooled by an engine-driven fan, but the A/C condenser is ably assisted by an electric pusher fan so that the interior stays cool in traffic no matter how hot it might get outside. A set of block-hugger headers dump into a true dual exhaust system that has been wrapped in thermal tape, another layer of insulation that helps keep the passenger compartment comfortable. With 11,595 miles since it was built, all the bugs have been thoroughly worked out, and this car is now a reliable, beautiful cruiser that will take you anywhere you want to go.
It also runs every bit as good as it looks, with cruising ably assisted by a TH350 automatic living underneath and feeding the original 1955 Chevy rear end. Look around under there and you'll see that the original frame has been painted gloss black, while the floors are the same glossy Cashmere Blue as the body. The original steering has been maintained and rebuilt, and the original suspension is intact, albeit lowered slightly for a subtle look. That dual reservoir master cylinder I mentioned feeds a set of GM 11-inch discs up front and drums out back. And speaking of the rear end, it is still hanging off of the original leaf springs with lowering blocks, backed up by a set of air shocks with an Air Ride controller and gauge on the dashboard. The exhaust is quiet, and blows through a pair of chrome-plated trumpets that exit under the continental kit out back. The original 15-inch wheels carry correct hubcaps with 215/75/15 Dayton wide whitewall radials.
Inside you'll find your biggest tip-offs that this car isn't stock, but like everything else, the modifications are extremely well done and hide in plain sight. The India Ivory interior is done in the correct style with Cashmere Blue piping and carpets, while the dashboard is still sporting the original gauges and switchgear. Look a little closer and you'll spot the trio of auxiliary gauges hanging under the dash, as well as the Air Ride shock gauge I mentioned earlier. The A/C vents are well integrated, and our consignment manager Tony Klein informs me that the air is truly ice cold, having driven the car over the weekend when temperatures were well into the '90s. In the center of the dash there's an AM/FM/cassette player and hidden in back out of sight is a satellite radio/GPS system accessed via a pair of remotes. Seat belts have been added in the name of safety, and you can see two upgraded speakers on the rear package shelf, but most of the upgrades are subtle enough to be overlooked at first glance.
As I said earlier, this is exactly the kind of car I'd build for myself if absolute authenticity wasn't my primary goal. Instead, this is a very correct-appearing '55 that rides and drives like a much more modern machine. Add in a healthy dose of creature comforts like A/C and modern stereo, and you've got a classically beautiful ride that can driven from coast to coast in comfort. I would have no qualms about jumping in at a moment's notice and heading out for a long road trip in this car, which is exactly what the builder had in mind. There are a lot of modified 1955 Chevys out there that miss the mark when it comes to balancing the modifications, but this one is exactly right. Original where it can be seen, and modified where it counts, this car is a slam dunk if you're the kind of guy who likes the journey more than the destination. Call now!
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$299.00 Dealer Administrative Charge is not included in advertised price. All prices and offers are before state, city and county tax, tag, title and license fees. Out of state buyers are responsible for all state, county, city taxes and fees, as well as title/registration fees in the state that the vehicle will be registered. Dealer not responsible for errors and omissions; all offers subject to change without notice, please confirm listings with dealer.