Golden-Plated 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Pays Tribute to GM's 50 Millionth Car

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 9 photos
Photo: eClassic Autos/YouTube
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Gold-plated trim may be the type of bling you'd expect to see on a rapper's car, but automakers actually did it long before hip-hop music became a thing in the 1970s. And I'm not only talking about luxurious cars built for kings in the 1920s. Chevrolet also created a gold-plated Bel Air in 1954.
But it wasn't a regular production model or a special-order rig. It was the 50 millionth vehicle built by General Motors. It rolled off the assembly line on November 23, 1954, and was paraded on a platform on the streets of Flint, Michigan. It was part of the largest corporate celebration in automotive history at the time.

Chevrolet eventually offered a Commemorative Edition of the 1955 Bel Air. Limited to 5,000 units and restricted to the four-door sedan body style, the special Bel Air hit showrooms in a then-new gold paint. However, these cars were regular production models beyond the color.

The 50 millionth vehicle, on the other hand, was a true one-off. In addition to a gold exterior, the Bel Air hardtop had the engine bay and the chassis finished in this hue. The two-tone interior was also unique to this car. Finally, all the bright trim was plated in 24-carat gold. I'm talking about everything from the badges and window frames to the stainless steel elements inside the cabin and the wheel hubcaps.

What happened to this unique Bel Air after its life as a parade car ended? Well, word has it the Sport Coupe ended up in private ownership at some point and its trace was lost for years. Its one-off status was rediscovered after it found its way into a restorer's garage.

General Motors reportedly offered to restore the car, but the owner turned down the offer, fearing that the company might take ownership of the Bel Air. The owner has since passed away, and the whereabouts of the Chevy are again unknown. But while the original has been lost, a very accurate replica was born thanks to Snodgrass Chevy Restoration in Melbourne, Florida.

The car was recently featured by YouTube's "eClassic Autos," and it's a sight to behold. And much like the original, it features gold-plated chromework and a gold paint job that appears to be true to the actual 50 millionth Bel Air. What's more, it sports an identical interior with gold and rose detailing on the seats and the door panels.

The builder spared no expense in creating this two-door hardtop and replicated every single detail under the hood as well. Nearly everything is finished in gold paint, while the engine layout is true to the early 1955-model-year Bel Air. Stunning doesn't even begin to cover it.

If you want to see this Chevy up close and personal, its public debut will occur at the 2024 Detroit AutoRama (March 1-3). Until then, hit the button below to learn more about this tribute car.

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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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