1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Has Been Hiding for 35 Years, It's an Unmolested Gem

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 16 photos
Photo: amistadi/eBay
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
With some five million units built from 1955 to 1957, the Chevrolet Tri-Five was one of the most successful automobiles of the mid-1950s. Come 2022, and the range-topping Bel Air version is a sought-after and expensive collectible.
Chevrolet offered the Bel Air in various body styles, including two- and four-door sedans, a Sport Coupe, a convertible, and the Nomad two-door wagon. The latter is the rarest and among the most expensive Bel Airs, but the Sport Coupe is highly desirable as well.

Built in almost 170,000 units, the 1957 Bel Air Sport Coupe is far from rare, but finding an unmolested survivor is quite a challenge nowadays. While many examples are rotting away in junkyards, others have been restored or converted into modernized hot rods (restomods).

That's because it wasn't very common for Bel Air owners to take good care of their rides back in the day. But here's a 1957 Sport Coupe that looks as good as it did when it left the assembly line. And I'm not talking about a car that's been restored to Concours condition. This 1957 Bel Air is an all-original survivor.

How can a 65-year-old car look this good without restoration, you ask? Well, it was babied from day one. The first owner reportedly bought it as a secondary vehicle and drove it for only 45,918 miles (73,898 km) from 1957 to 1969. He also kept it covered in a heated garage.

The Sport Coupe changed owners in 1969 but continued to enjoy an easy life as a garage queen. Driven for an additional 2,082 miles (3,350 km) from 1969 to 1977, the Bel Air was then retired in a heated garage until 2004, when it was sold again. The Chevrolet changed hands again in 2017, but every owner kept the mileage low by taking it to car shows in enclosed trailers.

Come 2022, and the odometer shows 49,713 miles (80,005 km), which means it's been driven for only 1,713 miles (2,756 km) since 1977. It basically spent three and a half decades in hiding, with rare outings around the block and at classic car events. As a result, the car looks pristine inside and out. And while Onyx Black is not my favorite color, I must admit this survivor is as classy as vintage Chevrolets get.

The shiny exterior and the impressively clean interior are backed by a numbers-matching 283-cubic-inch (4.6-liter) V8 engine connected to a three-speed overdrive manual gearbox. And it has a four-barrel carburetor setup too, which means the V8 cranks out a healthy 220 horsepower. It starts, runs, and drives without issues.

Arguably one of the nicest and most documented 1957 Bel Airs out there, this black Tri-Five is looking for a new owner via eBay. The auction has attracted 25 bids and stands at $55,100 with almost seven days to go, but the reserved price hasn't been met.

As much as I like well-maintained classics, I do hope that this Bel Air will get driven a lot more under new ownership. Because it's a survivor that the world needs to see.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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