victorialynn2

Who did ‘57 Better? Ford or Chevy?

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The 57  Chrysler products can't be compared to the GM or Ford products. Spies looking through a fence put GM in panic mode to come up with new models for 1959 & Ford in1960.

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Sitting on the fence but leaning toward Ford.  The one part of the 57 Chev I have never liked is the dashboard.  To me it is not as attractive as the 57 Ford which is is why I am leaning that way but not far enough to fall off.😊

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Being old enough to remember 1957, I recall hearing at the time that the '57 Ford had been named the year's most beautiful car. But almost immediately it seemed like the vibe over the Chevy started growing. Meanwhile, my father bought a '57 Desoto Firedome Sportsman 2-door hardtop. I remember cops pulling us over just so they could look at the car. It was like a flying saucer had landed; indeed a great-looking car, and with the Hemi engine it would really run. But it was a rotten car in terms of build quality. 

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My cousin had a 57 ford Fairlane 500 two door hardtop in yellow and black. It was a great car and handled all the abuse two teens could give it. I had a 57 Plymouth that was ok too but that Ford hardtop will always be my favorite. For some reason I never had much contact with 57 Chevys.

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Surprised no one mentioned the Chev FI that debuted in '57. Was a great year for all, Personally always liked the Eldorado Brogham with suicide rear doors & dual quads best.

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The comparison is skewed depending on what point in history you are comparing from.  In 1957 you are comparing a three year old body shell (Chevy) to a brand new one in two sizes (Ford) at a time when ALL NEW and LONGER, LOWER, WIDER were shouted out as a very big deal.  The larger size Fairlane 500 was marketed as a reach up into the lower medium priced field and in fact there is a vintage sales film on You Tube comparing it (and compellingly so) to a base 1957 Pontiac.  So from a marketing perspective when new the 1957 Ford really moved the needle and the Chevy was just another refresh.  A pretty good refresh, but still bad news in the 1957 market. 

 

But as a used car, say, 5 years later in 1962, the Chevy looked pretty good.  New cars had returned to more subtle, restrained lines and fins and bold two tones were passe.  So now a 1957 Fairlane 500 or Plymouth Belvedere looked like an old 1950s car and the Chevy that was a bit behind in 1957 now looked much less dated than the others.  The basic 1955-57 Chevy body was comfortable and a convenient size compared to the bigger, lower cars that came later.  It was also of better build quality and rust resistance.  I contend THIS point is where the 1957 Chevy began to become an icon, as a solid and serviceable used car.  Of course IMO a 1957 Pontiac is better but it was not destined to be such an icon, too bad for me.   

           

The engines mentioned by our own capngrog were a factor too.  Magazines of the day make me think to the new car buyer in 1955-57 the Ford Y Block was considered just as good as anything.  But by 1962 the small block Chevy was recognized as more serviceable, especially by the teenage owners that would covet the 1957s later in life.  As Grog points out by then the new Ford small block was coming out and that pretty much admitted the Y Block had run its course, Todd C 

 

PS--I agree with others that the dash of the Chevy was odd looking and the Ford headlamps were the weak point of an otherwise very good design

 

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1 hour ago, poci1957 said:

The comparison is skewed depending on what point in history you are comparing from.  In 1957 you are comparing a three year old body shell (Chevy) to a brand new one in two sizes (Ford) at a time when ALL NEW and LONGER, LOWER, WIDER were shouted out as a very big deal.  The larger size Fairlane 500 was marketed as a reach up into the lower medium priced field and in fact there is a vintage sales film on You Tube comparing it (and compellingly so) to a base 1957 Pontiac.  So from a marketing perspective when new the 1957 Ford really moved the needle and the Chevy was just another refresh.  A pretty good refresh, but still bad news in the 1957 market. 

 

But as a used car, say, 5 years later in 1962, the Chevy looked pretty good.  New cars had returned to more subtle, restrained lines and fins and bold two tones were passe.  So now a 1957 Fairlane 500 or Plymouth Belvedere looked like an old 1950s car and the Chevy that was a bit behind in 1957 now looked much less dated than the others.  The basic 1955-57 Chevy body was comfortable and a convenient size compared to the bigger, lower cars that came later.  It was also of better build quality and rust resistance.  I contend THIS point is where the 1957 Chevy began to become an icon, as a solid and serviceable used car.  Of course IMO a 1957 Pontiac is better but it was not destined to be such an icon, too bad for me.   

           

The engines mentioned by our own capngrog were a factor too.  Magazines of the day make me think to the new car buyer in 1955-57 the Ford Y Block was considered just as good as anything.  But by 1962 the small block Chevy was recognized as more serviceable, especially by the teenage owners that would covet the 1957s later in life.  As Grog points out by then the new Ford small block was coming out and that pretty much admitted the Y Block had run its course, Todd C 

 

PS--I agree with others that the dash of the Chevy was odd looking and the Ford headlamps were the weak point of an otherwise very good design

 

Lots of good points, but I actually love the look of the eyebrows on the headlights. 

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57 Chev did not become  an icon for several years after it was made. It was in the used car and hot rod market that it really became popular. There were several reasons for this. One was that it was cheap and common, in every sense of the word. A teenager working in a gas station or sacking groceries could afford to buy one and could afford to keep it on the road and even hop it up because parts were so available, new and used, and so cheap. Combine that with the  very simple 283 V8 and you have the reason the 1955 - 56 - 57 models were so popular.

 

The 54s did not have the V8 and the 58 and up models were heavier with a more complicated chassis design that was harder to work on. So the 55 - 57 was the thing, and the 57 Bel Air hardtop the cream of the crop.

 

Another thing Chev fans would rather not admit is that the big 348 engine that debuted in 1958 was a dud. It would not out perform a good 283. So while Ford, Plymouth and Pontiac moved on to bigger more powerful engines Chev fans were stuck with the small block.

 

The 57 Chev with a hopped up 283 was the thing, for almost 10 years until the muscle car era arrived and Chev offered cars like the Chevelle with 396 engine and Novas with the 327.

 

A little historical quirk. In 1967 Popular Hot Rodding magazine started a series called "Project X". The object was to see if a 57 Chev could be made competitive with a new muscle car. Or whether you might as well scrap it and buy a GTO. The name came from the roman numeral X since the Chev was then 10 years old.

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Is it not true that in terms of sales Ford out sold Chevrolet by a very wide margin?  However, today one sees far more 56 Chevys than they do Fords.

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19 hours ago, lump said:

I suppose it's also true that we often grow up considering ourselves to be sort of a "fan club" team member of certain brands of cars. Or at least, I and a lot of my friends did. I am a product of a childhood in AACA (back into the fifties), but also graduated high school in 1972 when many great muscle cars were becoming common "used cars." Less than a grand would buy you a hot Camaro, Mustang, Chevelle, Road Runner, etc, etc, and street racing was rampant at every stop light. (I know, shameful and dangerous...but I LOVED it). My dad drove Chevy's (I fell in love with his 57 Bel Air convertible), so I became a Chevy kid...mostly. And admittedly, it was great fun to pick on each other's brand of hot rods...just as it's fun today to pick on the other guy's football team. Mostly in good fun, of course, then and now. 

 

But as I've aged and gotten so deeply involved in the car hobby and the industry which serves the car hobbyists, I've learned to appreciate nearly all the brands of cars. I'm a hardcore Chevy guy, but who DOESN'T admire a 426 Hemi, or a 428 Super Cobra Jet, or a Pontiac 400 Ram Air IV, or a Stage 1 Buick, or a 302 Z28, or...well, you get the idea. 

 

 

Yup.  In high school, we taunted each other with "Fix-Or-Repair-Daily", "Shove-Or-Lay", and "MoPar-Or-No-Car".  And we street raced - there was a long, straight two-lane highway with very little traffic just outside town.  We even painted start, 1/8-mile, and 1/4-mile lines across it.  Cops knew about it and came around to chase us off once in a while but usually left us alone - guess they figured we were gonna race no matter what and that was the best place to do it.  I'm a MoPar guy at heart probably because my Dad was, but I appreciate anything automotive - heck, even Yugos have a place in the world.  I'm especially fond of any car that can turn money into smoke and noise.  😁

 

As for the OP, not sure it's fair to show a hardtop next to a convertible (retractable) - just sayin'.  Anyway, I prefer the 57 Chevrolet to the 57 Ford - one can argue the merits of the mechanics but both get the job done.  I just like the Chev's overall styling better, especially the fins.

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My first car was a 57 ford. Nothing fancy, a four door with a six cylinder and automatic transmission. I bought it from my uncle for $50 because he put a new exhaust pipe and muffler on it. I got t boned by a woman driving a 63 Chevy on the way to school and collected 300 dollars from the insurance company. I later had a 55 Chevy convertible, I wish I had that today,not so much the ford. After the ford I bought another $50 car,it was a 1960 Renault dauphine,my first foreign car. Greg.

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55 minutes ago, CHuDWah said:

 

 

Yup.  In high school, we taunted each other with "Fix-Or-Repair-Daily", "Shove-Or-Lay", and "MoPar-Or-No-Car".  And we street raced - there was a long, straight two-lane highway with very little traffic just outside town.  We even painted start, 1/8-mile, and 1/4-mile lines across it.  Cops knew about it and came around to chase us off once in a while but usually left us alone - guess they figured we were gonna race no matter what and that was the best place to do it.  I'm a MoPar guy at heart probably because my Dad was, but I appreciate anything automotive - heck, even Yugos have a place in the world.  I'm especially fond of any car that can turn money into smoke and noise.  😁

 

As for the OP, not sure it's fair to show a hardtop next to a convertible (retractable) - just sayin'.  Anyway, I prefer the 57 Chevrolet to the 57 Ford - one can argue the merits of the mechanics but both get the job done.  I just like the Chev's overall styling better, especially the fins.

True that it’s like comparing apples or oranges, but he happened to park net to me and it got me to thinking... 

 

One thing I like like about this forum is that we can have this conversation and everyone is civil and respects each persons contributions. 

 

As for why why there are so many more Chevys today, I think that is answered by the numerous remarks about what made the Chevy more popular as a used car. Cheaper to keep on the road, due to part availability, easier to work on etc.

 

Also, I have read that there may be more tri fives on the road today then ever produced. Due to the fact that they remaufacture all the parts for the Chevy. They don’t for the Ford. Parts are less readily available also possibly due in part to fewer years with the same style?

Edited by victorialynn2 (see edit history)

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57 Plymouth had a better engine, better suspension, better transmission, was a better car in many ways than Ford or Chev. But was let down badly by build quality. If you got a good one they were great but too many were plagued by leaky door and trunk seals, squeaks and rattles, and bodies that rusted out after a few years.

 

This was not unique to Plymouth, Fords had a lot of engine problems that year usually related to oil system failure and the transmissions weren't that great either. And all cars in those years rusted out fast.

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Having owned 2 57 Fords, a 57 Convertible in 1964 while serving in the USAF and my current 

57 Ranchero,  my vote goes to the 57 Chevrolet.  Had a 55 Bel-Air 2DHTP, but still lust for a 57.

Anybody want to trade their 57 Chevy for this?

867294463_1957Ranchero.thumb.jpg.4c16824ea1e075a803efeb21e173fc9b.jpg

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1 hour ago, victorialynn2 said:

..........I have read that there may be more tri fives on the road today then ever produced. Due to the fact that they remaufacture all the parts for the Chevy.......

 

That is an exaggeration that old timers like to spout off about a popular old car with good parts availability.  There were well over 1 million Chevys a year made in 1955-57 and there are nowhere near that many left, it only seems that way....

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From a purely aesthetic point of view, I think the Ford is a cleaner, more attractive design.  That's also why I prefer the '55 Chevy to the '57.   I think the '57 Chevy relies too much on chrome.  I also agree that the '57 Plymouth was a very attractive design.,

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Several posters have commented that the '55-'57 Chevy popularity started several years later.  Ford and Plymouth in '57 had their rust problems and Chevy did not.  They lasted and were easy to work on.  They survived.  In 1965, my Dad was shopping to trade his '61 Dodge Polara (see avatar, I still have it) on a new Pontiac.  The salesman ask what he had to trade, Dad pointed to the Dodge and the salesman said, "I don't want it.  Do you have anything else you can trade"  Dad replied we had a '56 Chevy 150 two door sedan with the same 50,000 miles on it.  Sight unseen, the salesman said, "I'll give  you $1000 for it".  Yes, it's true, the Chevys (and all '57 GM cars) were good, reliable and well built cars and that is why they are so popular today.

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7 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

57 Chev did not become  an icon for several years after it was made. It was in the used car and hot rod market that it really became popular. There were several reasons for this. One was that it was cheap and common, in every sense of the word. A teenager working in a gas station or sacking groceries could afford to buy one and could afford to keep it on the road and even hop it up because parts were so available, new and used, and so cheap. Combine that with the  very simple 283 V8 and you have the reason the 1955 - 56 - 57 models were so popular.

 

They were a dependable used car when they were 5 years old because of a dependable drive train, When cars at that time were at the 5-7 year old point first major repair cost they were junked. The 57 Chey's did not suffer the attrition rate that the Fords did.

 

7 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

 

The 54s did not have the V8 and the 58 and up models were heavier with a more complicated chassis design that was harder to work on. So the 55 - 57 was the thing, and the 57 Bel Air hardtop the cream of the crop.

 

 The 54 models looked real old by 1962 and a real low resale rate, hence they became $25 cars and were driven into the ground. Maybe you were trying to convey that it was easier to install a V-8 into a 55-57 then a 54 down, which is true. Contrary to what we see today there were a lot of 6 cylinder 57 Chevy's and they even came in other colors then red and black. I must strongly disagree with the "more complicated chassis design" comment, it really does not make any sense. Other than the 58 was the beginning of the X frame  the only difference other than appearance  is the 2 piece drive shaft, and rear coil springs. There is absolutely nothing that is more complicated or harder to work on.

 

7 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

 

Another thing Chev fans would rather not admit is that the big 348 engine that debuted in 1958 was a dud. It would not out perform a good 283. So while Ford, Plymouth and Pontiac moved on to bigger more powerful engines Chev fans were stuck with the small block.

 

I am not really sure what you mean by a "good 283"? One that money was put into? I will agree that the 58's were the worst year for the 348's, and many of them had turboglide which did not help. There was a learning curve just like the 55 and 56 Chevy's with the 265's which were not the greatist. There were no 283's in a full size passenger car rolling out of the dealership that could give a 348 a run for the money other then the fuel injected 58 and 59's, they were few and far between. "It would not out perform a good 283" is a false statement.

 

7 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

 

The 57 Chev with a hopped up 283 was the thing, for almost 10 years until the muscle car era arrived and Chev offered cars like the Chevelle with 396 engine and Novas with the 327.

 

You forgot to mention the 409's

7 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

 

A little historical quirk. In 1967 Popular Hot Rodding magazine started a series called "Project X". The object was to see if a 57 Chev could be made competitive with a new muscle car. Or whether you might as well scrap it and buy a GTO. The name came from the roman numeral X since the Chev was then 10 years old.

 

The project X Car ran for years and many, many, articles. I recalled that to be a little different, as I remember Project X was used as a test vehicle to review aftermarket drag race parts, and it was a highly modified small block, far from a 283 power pack! I remember reading Project X articles in the 70's

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
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This ought to stir up the pot. Chevy all the way, Ford is just another 4 letter word.. Can I give myself a "thumbs up"?  HA!!

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