DREAMCARS Mount Dora, Fla. (352) 385-1945
(Click on Photo to Enlarge)
CHEVROLET BEL AIR 'FUEL INJECTED' CONVERTIBLE
YOU MISSED ONE RARE BIRD- SOLD TO NAZARETH PA.
'ENGINEERING MILESTONE' CAR
FRAME-OFF RESTORATION ( W/
FINISHED IN 1999, STORED IN A CLIMATE CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AND
SELDOM DRIVEN. AN EXTREMELY RARE, 283 H.P. FUEL INJECTED
/ SOLID LIFTER 1957 CHEVROLET BEL AIR CONVERTIBLE (ONLY 68 BUILT*).
IT'S STUNNING IN IT'S ORIGINAL COLORS OF COLONIAL CREAM
WITH CORRECT YELLOW AND SILVER INTERIOR. THIS CAR HAS THE SELDOM SEEN BUT, DESIRABLE
"THREE-ON-THE-TREE" , CLOSE RATIO; 3-SPD. MANUAL TRANSMISSION
( THE ONLY TRANSMISSION CHEVROLET OFFERED WITH THE SOLID LIFTER
'HIGH HORSE' MOTOR). THIS ONE IS INDEED EQUIPPED WITH THE CHROME
"APPEARANCE PACKAGE" AIR CLEANER FOR SHOW ( PLUS,
THE ORIG. SILVER CANNISTER AIR CLEANER UNIT WITH BLACK AIR SCOOP
FOR THOSE THAT LIKE THE "VINTAGE" LOOK). THIS WOULD
BE THE FIRST YEAR FOR FUEL INJECTION @ CHEVROLET AS THEY
OFFERED IT ON PASSENGER CARS EARLY IN 1957 AND ON CORVETTES AS
OF MAY, 1957*). FOR JUDGING IT HAS
THE CORRECT ORANGE NEEDLE GAUGES, CLEAR PARKING LIGHTS, CORRECT
DATE CODED GENERATOR, FUEL INJECTION UNIT, BLOCK, CASTING CODES,
EXHAUST MANIFOLDS AND RADIATOR PLUS, IT IS OPTIONED WITH CONTINENTAL
KIT, CHROME SPINNER HUBCAPS, DUAL REAR MOUNT ANTENNA, WIDE WHITE
WALL NYLON BIAS PLY SQUARE TIRES, E-Z EYE TINTED GLASS, AM PUSHBUTTON
RADIO W/ OPTIONAL WONDERBAR RADIO (AVAIL.W/CAR), ELECTRIC CLOCK, POWER TOP, HEATER & DEFROSTER,
CUSHION-AIRE BUMPER GUARDS, HEAVY DUTY CLUTCH, COURTESY LIGHTS,
GLOVEBOX LIGHT, HEAVY DUTY SPRINGS, OIL FILTER, CIGAR LIGHTER,
VANITY MIRROR, DASH PRISM 'TRAFFICATOR', S.S.CHROME PACKAGE (
TRUNK TRIM AND DOOR HANDLE GUARDS), EVEN A DEALER INSTALLED RADIATOR
BUG SCREEN. PRICED BELOW N.A.D.A COLLECTIBLE CAR GUIDELINES. WE JUST SENT IT TO
A FUEL INJECTION SPECIALIST, FOR AN EXPENSIVE REBUILD OF THE FUEL
INJECTION, BRAKE CYLINDERS, RESTORATION OF THE POWER TOP MOTOR,
AND COLOR BUFF. READY TO COMPETE FOR THE GOLD SPINNER AWARD.
CURRENT N.A.D.A BOOK VALUE IS OVER $227,000 FOR "EXC. CONDITION"...MAKE
A REALISTIC OFFER.
No one really can
pin the exact reason....perhaps it was G.M.'s successful attempt
to make a Chevy look like a Cadillac, or the winning streak at
N.A.S.C.A.R (fastest car in the "flying mile" @ 131.076
M.P.H.), or the incredible durability record of Chevy's 'New 283
V8'. Maybe, it was those classic "50's fins" but, the
1957 Chevy remains the Most Popular Classic Car EVER.
Looking back, 1957
was fraught with heavy competition including Plymouth's new overhead
valve V8, while Ford offered exciting new styling in the Sunliner
Convertible and Skyliner with fold-back hardtop. Despite the fact
that it was Ford that stole the limelight in total production
(calender year) Chevrolet had inadvertently created a "Classic."
Chevy had also clearly beat Ford in the horsepower race, offering
the 283 V8 w/ 283 Fuel Injected horses (for $484). At the time,
Chevrolet claimed they were the first with "One Horsepower
Per Cubic Inch" but, reality is that Chrysler beat them to
it, six months earlier, with the 300 Model. Yet, Chevrolet
did offer FIVE different 283 engine choices from 185 H.P.
to 283 H.P. Even the luxury of Factory Air Conditioning (seldom
seen, as it was almost one-fourth the cost of the base car.)
Dash for dash, Chevy
offered a more organized and totally re-designed "command
post" dashboard featuring a three-pod cluster. Chevy also
pumped up to 15" wheels and a clock that could only be
viewed (on the passenger side of the car).... if you were
a giraffe. Transmission choices varied with a standard three-speed,
a 3-speed with Overdrive, a 2-Speed Powerglide and the "all
new" Turboglide ( late offering.) Originally, G.M. planned
to run the exhaust pipes through the rear bumpers but, complaints
about the Cadillac bumper exhaust residue left the Chevy's
with only the blacked-out exits blanks. Still yet, the
Cadillac influence can still be seen on Bel Airs with the advent
of excess Chrome ( Stainless Steel) and the Gold-plated "V's"
even down to the optional license plate frames. The end result
was that only the Nomad Wagon topped the Bel Air Convertible for
the title of most expensive, most luxurious "blue collar"
model at $2,757 (base V8 price)...a far cry from Cadillac's cheapest
model at $4,697. Note: we DID sell, several years ago, a perfect
Chevy Nomad Fuel Injected Wagon ( one of Five made) to a Museum
Despite the seemingly
low cost of a Chevrolet, one has to realize they were offered
essentially STRIPPED. How
much would it have it cost if it was equipped with most of the
Standard Features offered today??: Read
In 1957, a young
executive could afford to indulge himself ONLY if he was
a very successful businessman working 40-48 hours a week. For
example, let's say he chose the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible.
The base price of the six-cylinder model was $2,511. Let's say,
he decided to order the car "loaded". He added the 283
h.p. RamJet Fuel Injection V-8 for $484.00, backed by the 'All
New" Turboglide Transmission for $231.00. Being a Hot Rodder
at heart, he added the 4:11 Limited Slip Differential for $45.00
and Power Steering for $69.95. Power Brakes were another $37.70,
Electric Windows were considered a luxury but, affordable at $102.25
and Electric Seats for $43.05, With all these power accessories
he thought it was wise to add the Heavy Duty Battery for a mere
$7.55 but, winced at the high cost of the 40 amp Generator for
$80.70. E-Z Eye Tinted Glass, offered to reduce the sun's glare,
added another $32.30 but, after all, he was opting to by-pass
factory Comfort Air Conditioning at a staggering $486 ( which
was not available on the hi-horse Fuel Injection motor ) Logic
told him it was a 'top-down' Convertible, anyhow. Cold Winters
made the $74.90 heater mandatory but, he pondered the $85.00 Wide
Whitewall Tires before seeing the salesman check off the tick
on the order blank. The padded instrument panel ($16.50) seemed
like a good safety idea so, he ordered it.
The salesman, who
were still paid a substantial commission in 1957 (some went on
to open their own dealerships), was more than happy to display
the many 'dealer-installed options', available in addition to
the Factory Options. He suggested the elegant Continental Kit
Wheel Carrier. It was easily worth the $129.50 suggested retail.
At the other end of the car, it was almost mandatory to add the
front bumper cushion guards for a measly $3.90. Door Edge Guards
seemed a good idea so, he added them to the package for $3.45.
Mirrors were not standard equipment so, he chose the inside rearview
mirror for $4.95 and the drivers side mirror for $4.40. His wife
would appreciate the Electric Clock so, he added it @ $17.85.
With her best interest in mind, he would also add the Vanity Mirror
so, she could check her lipstick ($1.60), a Glove Compartment
Lamp so, she could see at night ($2.10) and Interior Courtesy
Lamps to gain access ($2.75). Since our buyer had backed over
the neighbor kid's Schwinn Black Phantom bicycle one night, the
backup lights for $12.00 seemed like a good idea. The buyer was
all smiles as the salesman reminded him he would need Floor Mats
to keep the carpets nice ($6.95) and some 'tunes' from the Wonderbar
Radio w/ left side rear mount antennae included for $112.00 and
a matching dummy antennae for the other side of the car for $6.95.
The salesman was quick to exhibit the 'difference' between the
'sound' of the single speaker and dual speakers by adding the
rear seat speaker so, our buyer was also quick to check off this
option at $12.95. When the salesman tried to add even more
options the buyer was quick to throw his hand up and exclaim 'this
was the way he wanted the car- please give him the total'. Adding
up the options took some time but, finally after double checking
his figures twice, the salesman slid the contract across the desk
and watched as the buyer's face turned blue, then red. This car
came to a staggering $ 4,142.25 !!! After all, this total price
would take 71 weeks of labor to reimburse his bank account !!!
( If he had no other expenses). Therefore, you can see the Chevrolet
Bel Air heavily equipped for $4,142.00 was just about comparably
equipped to the cheapest Cadillac for $4697.00. Luckily,
our buyer's choice was made easy with the trade in of his 1955
Chevrolet Tudor Bel Air @ $824.00 and he drove off into the sunset...with
the top down and the radio blasting Pat Boone's "Love Letters
In The Sand".
Did someone say
"Popular"?? G.M. built 1,499,658 Chevrolets in 1957...47,562
were Convertible Bel Airs'....just under 1,500 Chevrolet's ( incl.
Coupe- 2Dr.Post, Sedan, Wagon and Convertible) had Fuel Injection
(With BOTH: 283/250 hp w/ Hydraulic Lifters and
283/283 hp w/ Solid Lifters).