Chevrolet Bel-Air 1957

The Bel-Air is the up scale model from Chevrolet in 1957 with the mid range designated the “210” and the entry level model is the “150”. All three price ranges could be ordered as a two door Sport coupe, two door sedan, four door sedan or four door coupe. A convertible model is also available and the “Nomad” station wagon could be ordered in a two or a four door style to meet the full size needs of consumers.The wagon could be an upscale Bel Air, lesser “Townsman”, or the basic 150. The “210” with two doors has an upscale trim model available called the “Delray club coupe” and this is the model that is sought after by many collectors these days.
The ’57 Chevy was at a much dearer sticker price than previous years to pay for the changes made. The car has an all new dash board, sealed cowl, and air ducts concealed in the headlight pods which gives the car distinctive chromed lens; this feature in the newly styled wide grill and the classic fins in the rear to create a balance are part of what makes this such a prized collector’s item. The car is not 15” rims like older model Chevy’s but on 14” rims giving the car a lower profile. The upscale Bel Air has the “V” shaped trim on the tail fins filled with a ribbed aluminium insert gold badging and to distinguish it from the lesser models.
The engine offers are an entry level one barrel carburetor on the 235 cu in (3.85 L) inline “blue flame” six cylinder putting out 140 hp (105 kW). The 265 cu in (4.34 L) “Turbo-Fire” the V8 engine, introduced in 1955, was the first V8 in a Chevy since 1918. The newly introduced 283 cu in (4.64 L) “Turbo-Fire” V8 producing 185 hp (138 kW) with a two barrel or the same engine with “Super Turbo-Fire” equipped with a four barrel and has 220 hp (164 kW) made the car move away from the light quickly but if you needed more it could still be kicked up a notch or two
One of the power engine offers is the 283 equipped with two four barrel carburetor and the Duntov cam with solid lifters putting out 270 hp, (201 kW). The other offer is the same engine equipped with fuel injection is rated at 283 hp (211 kW) but this was a rarely purchased option. The car had three transmissions available from the factory; the “three on the tree” standard with synchromesh into second and third gear only with an optional overdrive feature and a choice of two automatics. The tried and proven two speed “PowerGlide” was the most popular choice by far; the new style turbine “TurboGlide” three speed in an aluminium housing was not a popular choice due to its reliability issues and confusing shift pattern so it was discontinued a few years later. A floor mounted four speed was also available but as a dealer installed option and the very light 1957 Chevrolet walked away with firsts in 49 NASCAR races using this four speed and the 270 hp engine
There are many options available including power brakes, steering, seats, windows, as well as a power antenna for your tube style am radio. The radio had a rear speaker option as well – with a separate dash mounted volume control for “surround sound” effect. A padded dash is an option as is a device bolted to the dash that senses oncoming traffic and dims your headlights. There is an optional electronic clock and air conditioning offered as well as a very unusual item if you chose it – an optional electric razor mounted on the dash board.


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Ross Mills

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