AJ’s Car of the Day: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

Car: Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

Year: 1957

What makes it special: The 1957 Chevrolet was introduced in September 1956 for the 1957 model year. It was available in three series models: the upscale Bel Air, the mid-range Two-Ten, and One-Fifty. A two-door Nomad station wagon was produced as a Bel Air model. It is a popular and sought after classic car.

What made it famous: Initially, General Motors executives wanted an entirely new car for 1957, but production delays necessitated design for one more year. Chief engineer Ed Cole dictated a series of changes that significantly increased the cost of the car. These changes included a new dashboard, sealed cowl, and the relocation of air ducts to the headlight pods, which resulted in the distinctive chrome headlight that helped make the ’57 Chevrolet a classic. Fourteen-inch wheels replaced the fifteen-inch wheels from previous years to give the car a lower stance, and a wide grille was used to give the car a wider look from the front. The now famous ’57 Chevrolet tailfins were designed to duplicate the wide look in the rear. Bel Air models were given gold trim: the mesh grille insert and front fender chevrons, as well as the “Chevrolet” script on the hood and trunk, were all rendered in anodized gold. The base engine was an inline 6-cylinder Blue Flame Six. V8 options were  a 265 cu in V8 “Turbo-Fire” producing 162 hp, and two 283 cu in V8s: a “Turbo-Fire” twin-barrel carburetor producing 185 hp and a “Super “Turbo-Fire” 4-barrel carburetor developing 220 hp. Another optional engine was offered with two four barrel carburetors, the legendary “Duntov” cam and solid lifters. This engine produced 270 hp. 1957 was the first year that Chevrolet ever offered fuel injection as an option. A 283 cu in engine fitted with solid lifters, the “Duntov” cam and fuel injection was rated at 283 hp.

Why I would want one: It’s the stuff of legend. Anyone into cars wants one, period.

Fun fact: The car’s image has been frequently used in toys, graphics, music, movies, and television. The ’57 Chevy, as it is often known, is an auto icon.
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