1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Looks Like a Barn Find, Hides LS7 Surprise Under the Hood

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan restomod 8 photos
Photo: WhipAddict/YouTube
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan restomod1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan restomod1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan restomod1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan restomod1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan restomod1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan restomod1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan restomod
Produced for only three years as part of the Tri-Five lineup, the Chevrolet Bel Air is one of the most desirable classics out there. The two-door Sport Coupe version is particularly sought-after, while the Nomad wagon is by far the rarest. The four-door sedan doesn't get as much love, but this restomod proves that it can be a cool project car too.
The Tri-Five Bel Air may be a desirable classic, but it's far from rare. In 1957 alone, for instance, Chevrolet built more than 720,000 of them. As a result, many Bel Airs end up in junkyards or on the side of the road, but the good news is that many of them get a second chance and come back to life as restomods.

This 1957 four-door is one of those cars, but it's not the usual restomod with perfect, shiny paint and a flashy interior. Instead, the owner went with a worn-out look that gives the Bel Air a barn find vibe. Faded in places and showing quite a few rust spots, the blue paint has just the right amount of patina.

And it's all in the right places, with extra rust around the wheel arches and the side skirts. The unpolished chrome trim keeps the theme going, as do the cracks on the upper fenders and the missing "Chevrolet" lettering on the nose. On the flip side, the Forgiato FV3 wheels are a solid hint that the junkyard look is intentional and not the result of years of neglect.

Things take a different turn inside the cabin, where the classic Bel Air layout has been augmented by a set of gauges from Dakota Digital. The sedan also rides on a Ridetech suspension system and a Moser nine-inch rear end. But there's an even bigger surprise under the hood, in the form of a modern LS7 V8 engine.

Yup, it's the same engine that Chevrolet offered in the C6-generation Corvette Z06 from 2006 to 2013. The same mill found its way into the Corvette 427 in 2013 and went into the history books after a stint in the limited-edition Camaro Z/28. Originally rated at 505 horsepower, the LS7 was also offered as a crate engine for a few years.

The 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) mill in this Bel Air has been upgraded to deliver more than 650 horsepower. Not only a big improvement over the stock LS7, but it also cranks out more than any Bel Air that rolled off the assembly line back in the day. In 1957, the 283-cubic-inch (4.6-liter) V8, also shared with the Corvette, topped out at 283 horsepower.

On top of that, the V8 sounds downright menacing, even when running at idle. Check out the survivor-style Bel Air in the video below.

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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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