Vehicle
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
283 cid, V-8, 270 bhp

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Another iconic landmark in automotive history was launched in 1957 by the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors. It is generally agreed amongst most car enthusiasts that no other car manufacturer ever produced more sought-after collector cars back-to-back in a three-year period. The 1955 Chevrolet was the first, with a completely new package to wrap up the innovative mechanical improvements presented to the public that year. 1956 was a year of refinements and improvements on Chevrolet’s greatest design change in its history.  Then along came the next standard bearer in the line up for Chevrolet. The 1957 Chevrolet was a one-year body style that caught the car market by surprise and excited buyers. The 1957 Chevrolet is considered to be  the most recognized car in America used to represent the “fifty’s.”  It is used with toys, posters, movies, and all different types of memorabilia to represent a generation into which it was released. Carrying with it all the options that made the 1955 and 1956 so popular, in 1957, Chevrolet added some more spice to the mix with the introduction of the 283 cid V8, which was believed to exude dependability for many years to come. The engine could sport two four-barrel carburetors turning out 245 hp. Fuel injection became an option which boosted the 283 to a whopping 250 hp for those seeking high performance. Styling was addressed with 14” wheels that gave a popular lowered look, a new dashboard, accented windshield, and the “fifty’s look”, the tall aeronautical tail fins.  For the style-conscious buyer, a Bel Air 2 door hardtop or convertible with an optioned continental kit was available. Add to that an accented gold anodized grille, nameplate front and back, and side trim. For convenience, they could add in an automatic headlight dimmer. Chevrolet advertising shouted “The Hot One’s Even Hotter.” History proved that claim to be correct; with help from the Bel Air, Chevrolet came close to knocking Ford off its perch. The convertible was available in a variety of color choices, with a total of 47,562 built. Base price for the Bel Air convertible was $2,511 with a fully optioned example toping $3,000 (the average worker made $4,230 annually and median family income neared $5,000). Chevrolet turned out 150,000,000 units in 1957 with the 150 starting at $1,902, Bel Air at $2,183, Nomad at $2,609, and finally the Corvette at $3,176. Chevrolet was noted for giving value for every dollar spent by buyers. Highlights:
  • Introduction of the 283 cid V-8 engine this model year – now a classic
  • Optional Continental kit & skirts available
  • Chevrolet advertising claimed, “The Hot One’s Even Hotter”
  • Price new: $2,511
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