At nearly five million examples delivered from 1955 through 1957, the Tri-Five is anything but rare overall. However, specific versions are pretty scarce nowadays. The two-door Bel Air Nomad wagon is arguably the rarest at 22,897 units produced. It's followed by the 150 Delivery Sedan (28,991 examples) and the 150 Utility Sedan (31,668 units).
Contrary to popular belief, the Bel Air models aren't all that rare except for the Nomad. The two-door Hardtop Sport Coupe, arguably the most desirable version nowadays, moved nearly a half-million units in three years. This number makes it the second most common Bel Air after the four-door Sedan.
So what's a rare Bel Air besides the Nomad? Well, I wouldn't call it rare, but the four-door Townsman wagon (called Beauville in 1955) is next in line with 68,525 units sold. Then there's the Convertible, which moved 132,229 examples. That's a lot of vehicles, but most of them haven't survived until 2023. And the ones that did are still rotting away in junkyards and barns.
That's precisely why I get excited whenever I see a pristine drop-top parading its flawless paint, interior, and engine more than 60 years after it left the factory. Especially if it's a 1957 version with a range-topping V8, like this light blue example right here.
One of 48,068 convertibles built in 1957, the Tri-Five's final year on the market, this Bel Air flaunts a perfect Larkspur Blue finish on the outside. Granted, it's one of those more desirable two-tone cars (this blue was available with India Ivory), but the white top makes up for the lack of a secondary hue.
If you're really hooked on two-tone finishes, this Bel Air has a lovely turquoise/ivory combo on the inside. It's the kind of classic that steals the show when the top goes down. And it would do the same when the hood goes up because that old V8 and everything around it is sparkling clean.
And it's not just any V8 engine. This Bel Air packs a 283-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) "Turbo-Fire" with a four-barrel carburetor setup. Rated at 220 horsepower, it was one the most potent mills available in the Tri-Five in 1957. The range-topping fuel-injected version (the "Fuelie") came with 283 horses on tap.
With only 27 miles on the odo since the restoration, this convertible is arguably the finest 1957 Bel Air I've seen in a very long time. It's a museum-grade classic that will win many awards, so go ahead and check it out in the video below.