AJ’s Car of the Day: 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air 4-Door Hardtop

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air 4-Door Hardtop

Car: Chevrolet Bel Air 4-Door Hardtop

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 the One-Fifty. A two-door station wagon, the Nomad, was produced as a Bel Air model. 

What made it famous: Originally, General Motors executives wanted an entirely new car for 1957, but production delays necessitated the 1955–56 design for one more year. Chevrolet’s Chief Engineer fEd 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. 14-inch wheels replaced the 15-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 called the Blue Flame Six. The engine was smoother running than the V8. Carburetion came from a single one-barrel carburetor. For 1957 there were 3 standard V8 engine options, a 265 cu in V8 “Turbo-Fire” producing 162 hp, and two 283 cu in V8’s: a “Turbo-Fire” twin-barrel carburetor producing 185 hp and a “Super “Turbo-Fire” 2-barrel carburetor developing 220 hp.  Another optional engine was offered with two 4-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 V8 fitted with solid lifters, the “Duntov” cam and fuel injection was rated at 283 hp and cost $500. This was the first time in history that a General Motors vehicle achieved 1-hp-per-cu-in in a production vehicle.

Why I would want one: Whether it’s a 2 door sedan or Nomad or in-between, anyone who’s into cars wants a 1957 Chevrolet in their personal collection.

Fun fact: It is a popular and sought after classic car. They’re often restored to their original condition and sometimes modified. 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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