• Nov 3, 2006


Calling the '57 Chevy Bel Air an icon is like acknowledging that the sky's blue. It's just plainly obvious. Recognizable by folks aged 8 to 80, the '57 Chevy stirs up all sorts of emotions. Those of a certain age are mentally thrown back to the time when it was new, while the younger romantics among us fret not being around during those glory days.

But what was it really like when it first came out? How did Chevy sell it to the American people? Click the "play" icon for those answers, and settle in for nineteen seconds of history being made as you watch the birth of an automotive legend.

[Source: YouTube]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I could never understand why the '57 Chevy has been the star of that Chevy generation when the '55 was the first year with a cleaner style and larger wheels that looked more like they belonged on the car.

      Indeed, the '55 Chevy was an excellent car. My mother had a '55 Chevy Bel Air convertible which I eventually took over in 1960--had some rust from Cleveland's salted winter streets, but didn't look too bad after some bodywork.

      That Chevy did have a strange hum from the rear-end gears at 60 MPH which I ignored without any problem.

      Sold it for $600 in 1962 to someone who I later heard wrecked it (without injury).

      Would be worth quite a bit today, but wasn't viewed then as a classic because '55 Chevys were so common.

      It was a great style and a smooth-driving car with Powerglide as well as the first Chevy V8.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Uhh, 1950s. Fumblefingers... just washed my hands and can't do a thing with them...
      • 8 Years Ago
      The high irony that nobody remembers these days is that FORD outsold CHEVROLET in 1957.

      1957 Model Year Production

      Ford: 1,676,449
      Chevrolet 1,505,910

      The 1957 Ford could be had with a Paxton SUPERCHARGED 312 cubic inch V8 with 300 HORSEPOWER, higher than the equally rare 1957 Chevrolet with 283 cubic inch, 283 horsepower fuel injected engine.

      Plus, to quote "Encyclopedia of American Cars":

      "The 1957 Fords were all-new...stying was particularly simple for the period. More importantly, it was new against Chevy's second facelift in two years. The Skyliner name returne din mid-1957, but on a very different Ford: the world's first mass-produced retractable hardtop. Today the "retracs" are prime collectibles, a monument to an age when Detroit thought it could do anything."

      Not that I'm a fan of GM OR Ford but I wanted to put my 2 cents worth in!

      And yep, it is true - 1955-1956-1957 Chevies are worth a ton more on average than 1955-1956-1957 Ford or any other car, on average. Strangely enough.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "13. iQuack, that rear-end hum carried will beyond 1955. A neighbor of ours had a 1959 Chevy wagon. It did the same thing, and did it for many thousands of miles without a hitch."
      --------------------------------------
      I forgot to mention that the hum isn't over yet. A friend's 2004 Cadillac SRX with RWD made the same annoying hum, but during a wider range of speeds than just 60 MPH give or take a few MPH. He had the SRX's rear end gears replaced under warranty and I think the hum is gone now.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Common myth: GM had the first engine to make 1hp per cubic inch. The truth is Chrysler did, with the 300.
      • 8 Years Ago
      iQuack, that rear-end hum carried will beyond 1955. A neighbor of ours had a 1959 Chevy wagon. It did the same thing, and did it for many thousands of miles without a hitch.

      I am gonna get soundly thrashed with the soft cushions and made to sit in the comfy chair for this but... MY favorite Chevy of the 1959s was the 1954 Bel Air hard top. Yes. 1954. It looks stodgy next to a 55 or 56, but it was a very nice-looking car. All it lacked was some power.
      Ray
      • 8 Years Ago
      Blog question from a Blog dummy. This is the first time I've been in "Blog", so maybe someone can help lead me in the right direction. I own a 57 Chevy convertible, I've tried to trace the History of the car by VIN #, but due to the older cars having less numbers I can't use that option. Is there a way to look up the VIN for the oldies? Thanks for any information you can send me. rpozzie@aol.com
      • 8 Years Ago
      My grandparents owned a PINK 57 Bel Air. It was a sweet car. But it needed some heavy engine work. My grandfather sold it for like $4k about three years ago. I kicked myself in the ass for not buying it. It was in amazing condition (other than the engine). Not one spot of rust...

      I would put the 57 Bel Air on my top ten coolest cars of all time...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Something people forget is that 1957 was a down year, even though the car year is held high like 1969. The '57 Bel Air was a beauty. It's too bad fuel-injection didn't catch on like it should have in the old days. Funny, I even read a letter to the editor from 1964 (just after the Mustang's release) complaining about the failure of US carmakers to embrace fuelies. That same issue had another reader saddened by the failure of the Avanti.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This aired on SPEED this past Sunday,for the umpteenth time. I watched it anyway.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well, okay, Richard Warren AND I remember how Ford outsold GM, sorry, Richard. I thought I was the first to post but you beat me to it.

      Another piece of 1957 car trivia. The 2nd FASTEST car sold in the United States 0-to-60, after the fuel injected Corvette was:

      a) The Chrysler 300 Hemi 390 horsepower / 392 cubes
      b) The "Nash" Rambler with 255 horsepower / 327 cubes
      c) The Ford Thunderbird with supercharger
      d) The Mercury Medalist with factory optional uprated 400 horsepower Lincoln based V8 of 430 cubes
      e) The Studebaker Golden Hawk with supercharged 275 horsepower V8 of 289 cubes

      Ready? Scroll down for the shock-answer










      The "Nash" Rambler Rebel was a few tenths of a second behind the hottest Corvette sold, because it shared it's light weight four door hardtop body (yep, wasn't even available as a two door) with the lightweight Rambler Six, yet used the senior Hudson Hornet and Nash Ambassador V8.

      Now, Mr. John Z. Delorean, WHO invented the "muscle car" again? Yep. Little dumpy American Motors did.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The 57 was a great car, I had one in high school and paid 300 dollars for it, it was in fine shape too. Paint job, tuck & roll Crager mags on the front and wide chromes on the rear, took the automatic out installed a Muncie 4 speed. Had to install that Vibrsonic sound too!

      The 55-57 models dominated the parking lot when I was in school.

      It should be remembered that the 57 Ford outsold Chevy that year.
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