Stunning frame-off restoration, over $130,000 worth of receipts

  • Price: Ask a price!
  • Item location: Macedonia, Ohio, United States
  • Make: Chevrolet
  • Model: Bel Air/150/210
  • Type: Coupe
  • Year: 1957
  • Mileage: 19,216
  • VIN: C57N241519
  • Color: Red
  • Engine size: 283 cubic inch V8
  • Number of cylinders: 8
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Drive type: RWD
  • Interior color: Red and Black
  • Vehicle Title: Clear

Chevrolet Bel Air/150/210 1957 Description

Is the 1957 Chevy Bel Air the most identifiable old car in the world? Almost anyone with eyes knows one when they see one, and if you ask them to describe a ’57 Chevy, you’ll hear them talk about a car that looks almost identical to this spectacular Bel Air Sport Coupe. Fins, continental kit, and enough chrome to outfit a fleet of modern cars, this is the 1950s that most Americans remember with such fondness. Add in V8 power, a spacious and beautiful interior, and surprisingly plush ride quality that you’d expect from a Cadillac, not a Chevrolet, and you have one of the most enduring icons of the 20th century.

We have receipts totaling nearly $130,000 for the restoration of this stunning 1957 Chevrolet, and that doesn’t include the purchase of what appeared to be a very solid, clean original car. In fact, the gentleman who restored this car enjoyed it for some years before the restoration, suggesting some high-quality base stock indeed. It has racked up a series of wins at shows, further testament to the quality of the workmanship and the enduring appeal of the ‘57s. This is one of those exceptionally detailed restorations, one where they not only nailed the basics of paint and upholstery, but got the little things right, too: the clock works, panel gaps are tight and even, and the car runs and drives so easily that you’d swear it’s 50 years younger. The vivid Matador Red paint is just the right shade, glowing in the sunlight, and the addition of the India Ivory roof seems to emphasize the long, low look of the ‘57s in particular. There are no waves in the bodywork, no signs of sub-par workmanship, and although the car has been driven since the restoration was completed, there are very, very few signs of it thanks to a conscientious caretaker who knew this car was special.

Chevy stylists in 1957 weren’t terribly fond of the car they designed, but the years since have demonstrated how mistaken they were about the appeal of chrome. They felt there was too much brightwork, too much ornamentation, but those are exactly the reasons why so many people cherish the 1957 Chevrolet in particular. So when it came time to restore the jewelry on this car, no expense was spared. The bumpers are beautiful, the gold anodized grille and emblems are crisp and bright, and everything lines up just right so the lines are unbroken from panel to panel. The stainless strips along the flanks blend with the Bel Air anodized panels to make the top-of-the-line Chevys distinctive, and twin antennas on the rear deck would become a Chevy trademark for years to come. This car also carries an accessory continental kit, which is a correct dealer-installed piece (note that the outer ring is painted, not chrome as in the modern aftermarket kits). The way it’s integrated into the bumpers makes it look like it was part of the design all along, and yes, there’s a tire inside.

Inside, the two-tone black and red upholstery was done just the way the factory would have, including the funky red and black fabric inserts. Hard to imagine that this is a Chevrolet! The detailing is exceptional, with the bright strip of trim stretching across the dashboard and housing the secondary controls, radio, and clock. The familiar three-pod instrument panel is beautifully restored and all the gauges and lights are fully operational. Indeed, everything works as it should, including the radio which has an FM converter inside to the clock which has been converted to painless quartz operation. Under the dash, you’ll find a tissue dispenser which is an unusual yet surprisingly popular accessory, and the carpets are protected by red rubber floor mats. All the glass and weather seals are new, and it’s worth noting that glass has been correctly coded. Seat belts have been added for safety and look like they’ve always been there and we’re pretty sure nobody has ever sat in the back seat. The trunk is correctly outfitted with a rubber floor mat and a full-sized spare tire so you don’t have to wrestle with the one in the continental kit. There’s also a correct jack assembly.

The small block Chevy V8 under the hood was a revolution when it was introduced in 1955, and it’s a big part of why the ‘57s are so beloved. Equipped with a 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust that were part of the “Power Pack” setup, it’s a superb runner that makes good power and great sounds. It’s wearing correct Chevy Orange paint and includes those lovely valve covers with embossed Chevrolet script that really makes it look special. Up top, there’s a proper heavy-duty air cleaner and a Rochester 4-barrel carburetor. You’ll note that most of the details are factory-correct, including proper hoses with spring clamps, the right ballast resistor on the dash, and even a reproduction “tar top” battery. When the car was competing, it was completely stock, but once its show days were over, it was modestly upgraded to make it easier to drive, including a modern Saginaw power steering pump and rack, front disc brakes with a dual reservoir master cylinder, and a 12-volt alternator. All these modifications are simple bolt-ons that could be undone if you wish to return the car to show duty, but it runs and drives so well, I think it would be a mistake. Turn the key and it sparks to life as quickly as a modern fuel-injected engine and idles smoothly even when cold. That’s some nice tuning!

The transmission is the original 2-speed PowerGlide automatic and in this Bel Air, it delivers snappy performance with no fuss and no muss. Out back, the original rear end was rebuilt and fitted with 3.27 gears, which are a nice compromise between punchy acceleration and highway-friendly cruising. You’ll note that the floors have been painted and finished to the same standards as the bodywork, providing a great background for the satin black frame and suspension components. There are a few signs of use, but not much that couldn’t be wiped away in a few hours of detailing and the stainless steel exhaust system should look great practically forever. There are no signs that this car has ever been rusty and even important areas like the rockers, body mounts, and spare tire well are in exceptional shape. All the lines, hoses, shocks, and rubber pieces have been replaced, to the car rides and handles like new and offers a tight, smooth, and rattle-free ride. Correct 14-inch steel wheels have been painted to match the body and fitted with correct spinner hubcaps and modern 205/75/14 Coker wide whitewall radials for a big improvement in ride and handling.

This car also includes a long list of extras. Most notable is a 3-inch-thick binder full of every receipt and invoice for the restoration, all adding up to a very substantial figure. We also have an album of restoration photos showing every stage of the work so you know there are no surprises hiding underneath. The car also includes a set of accessory fender skirts that are fully restored and ready to be installed, a dealer-issued bug screen for the radiator, and a heavy duty car cover and inflatable “bubble” for storage. Nice!

This is absolutely one of the finest ’57 Chevys on the market anywhere. You can certainly shop price and there are cheaper ones out there, but few can match this car’s combination of looks, quality, and performance, and it’s still a fraction of the cost of restoring one to this level. In the car business, you always get what you pay for, and this is a fantastic example of arguably the most iconic car of all time. Call today!

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