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Matt Harwood

FOR SALE: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop

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Is a 1957 Chevy on your wish list? They built zillions of them, but they're always in demand and if you're looking for a good one, I have a lot of confidence in this Bel Air. It's a good car that was restored to 100 points and then driven down to about 85, a clean, high-quality car that's a very high-grade tour and casual show vehicle today. Refinished in its original color combination of Larkspur Blue over Harbor Blue, it's an eyeball-soothing combination that's a pleasant change from all the red and black ones you always see. Bodywork is excellent and the paint is very high quality with only very minor signs of use and no issues of note. Doors fit well, the hood lines up right (especially important since it's part of the grille), and with a continental kit out back,, it looks like a grown-up car. Chrome, as you know, is a critical part of any '50s restoration and every single piece on this car is either expertly restored or a brand new reproduction and shows extremely well. No pitting, no diminished detail, just crisp, deep, shiny plating and stainless. The only issue of note is that the trim that wraps around the driver's side fin point is a little out of alignment, but that's really picking nits. Someone did a first-rate job on this car.

The interior is also quite lovely, using blue vinyl and Chevy's funky patterned black fabric that was found in many interior combinations. Like the bodywork, it was restored to show standards and then used a bit, so it's not perfect but it's very, very good. The seats themselves show almost no wear and the carpets are protected by floor mats, so they're good to go. Stylish door panels offer more polished stainless, and if you're familiar with Chevys of this era, you know that they use a "flipper" style of weather stripping to seal things up, and all of that stuff is new, too. Crisp, bright gauges are all fully functional, and it shows 20,850 miles, which I suspect is since the restoration was completed. The passenger's side seat back cover doesn't fit perfectly, so you can see a little bit of the backing material, but otherwise this is a really nice interior. The original radio was replaced by an AM/FM unit with an iPod jack on the back, which is awesome for cruising. The trunk is fully restored with a correct mat and a full-sized spare assembly so you don't have to actually disassemble the continental kit to change a flat (there's a new tire in there, too).

Chevy didn't do "matching numbers" in '57, but we have every reason to believe this is the original 265 cubic inch V8 in the car today. It's got a correct 2-barrel carburetor, generator, and Chevrolet script valve covers and with everything bathed in Chevy Orange paint, it looks pretty good. Obviously it's been driven and used, but you can see that there was good attention to detail in the build, including reproduction hose clamps, correct hardware, and even a cast iron master cylinder. The transmission is a 3-speed manual without overdrive, which is rather unusual but I prefer it to a PowerGlide for better performance. The chassis was obviously nicely detailed when it was restored but now looks about like the engine: tidy but with some miles on it. The floors are undercoated, the suspension and brakes were rebuilt, and there are fresh lines and hoses throughout, plus a new gas tank out back, all of which were done when the car was restored. Firestone wide whites on painted steel wheels with full wheel covers look great and have lots of life left in them.

This is a really nice little Chevy with a great look and a sympathetic restoration that keeps its original flavor 100% intact. No resto-mods, no crate motors, just a clean, honest '57 in great colors. We're asking $39,900 and we're always open to reasonable offers. Thanks for looking!

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Edited by Matt Harwood
Engine size correction (see edit history)

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I don't think you could get a 283 2-barrel engine with a 3-speed manual transmission in '57. If it's an original engine and transmission it should be a 265. Engine should be date coded which may or may not coincide with the build date for the car.

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Hey Larry,

Thanks for the information. I did a little more looking and it has an F919C stamping on the block, which does indeed decode to a 265/3-speed engine built September 19 in Flint, MI. My gut says that you're right and this is a 265, and I've contacted the owner to see what he says. He's been under the impression that it was a 283 since he bought the car 21 years ago...

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You're welcome. I believe the "C" code would, in fact, be a 265. Probably a good chance that it's the original engine.

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1957 265 cu engines came from the factory painted yellow.they were not very common.

That's true of the early ones. Chevrolet officially discontinued this engine color in November, 1956 according to a memo to all assembly plants. This took a few weeks to actually take effect on the production line.

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Love the 3-Speed on the column part. Makes the car much more desirable in my opinion.

Bill

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