9 March 2013
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe
Sold for $57,750
- America’s best-loved collectible automobile
- Rare 283-horsepower fuel-injected V-8
- Sympathetically restored California car
Chevrolet proved that the third time was the charm in 1957, with the third restyling of the trendsetting 1955 model bringing its styling to new heights. The entire car had been lowered using smaller wheels and body modifications, and the nose and tail were updated with Cadillac-inspired cues, resulting in a baby Eldorado of sorts that has never stopped being desirable since 1957. The optional but very popular V-8 was bored out an eighth of an inch, to 283 cubic inches, and it was available in no fewer than six stages of tune. At the top of the chart was 10.5:1 compression and Rochester fuel-injection, as also seen in that year’s Corvettes, developing the magic number of “one-horsepower-per-cubic-inch.” With four-speed transmissions having yet to reach Chevrolet’s passenger car option list, the sole transmission choice for this engine was a heavy-duty, two-speed, Powerglide automatic.
The hardtop sport coupe offered here, a former Hemmings Classic Car cover car, is a well-kept California example, and it is believed to have been rust-free its entire life. The engine is equipped with a desirable dealer-installed Rochester fuel-injection system, matched to the Powerglide transmission that would not have been available with a “fuelie” engine from the factory. In the course of a light and sympathetic restoration performed in previous ownership, it was refinished in its original Onyx Black. Having been such a well-kept car prior to the restoration, it retains many of the features lost on less-cared-for examples, such as its original hubcaps, trunk mat, and even the chain on the gas cap. Powerful in appearance and performance, it is a handsome example of a car that many consider the most famous American automobile of all time, immortalized in painting, prose, and song: the ’57 Chevy.
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