1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop - $44,900
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This lovely Onyx Black Bel Air hardtop was restored a few years ago, then driven and enjoyed so it’s no longer a show car.

Next to the Volkswagen Beetle, the '57 Chevy might be the most identifiable car of all time. When I was 16, my driving instructor was a guy from the Philippines and any car older than, say, 1968 was a "'57 Chebby!" as he gleefully pointed them out while we practiced my driving skills. They're beloved around the world, and hardtops are a great choice that remain very affordable in a fairly hot market. With reliable V8 power, big car comfort, and room for the whole family, not to mention the most impressive parts and equipment network this side of a Model A Ford, well, it really should be no surprise that these cars are always in demand.

This lovely Onyx Black Bel Air hardtop was restored a few years ago, then driven and enjoyed so it’s no longer a show car. If you want a trailer queen, they're out there for quite a bit more cash, but if you want a Bel Air that's well above-average that still shows well and has impeccable road manners, this is exactly the car you want. Finish quality is very good, with even gaps and panels that show evidence of lots of block sanding and hand-fitting, because the reflections in the surface are distortion free. It appears to be modern urethane paint so it'll last practically forever if you take care of it, and it has a deep shine that puts anything from 1957 to shame. Come on, I know you like your car shiny, and the traditional colors on this are still the best possible combination for a dramatic entrance. There's an accessory continental kit out back that adds a bit of an upscale air to the stylish Bel Air, and dual antennas were always a popular addition.

Of course, on any car from the 1950s, chrome is a major consideration. Fortunately, all the bright pieces on this car are either nicely restored originals or reproductions, and it all sparkles like new (better, in all likelihood). The grille has a gold anodized insert, the Bel Air quarter panel trim is gorgeous, and everything lines up quite well along the flanks, giving this car a high-quality look. It isn’t perfect and there are some sings of use and age, but nothing stands out as needing attention so the whole car has a complete look. This one gets it right.

The two-tone interior is also correct, featuring red vinyl and Chevy's funky black fabric that was used with many interior color combinations. It shows very few signs of use with taut seat covers, bright trim, clean carpets, and brand new armrests were just installed on the doors, so there's not so much as a depression from the previous owner's elbow. The instruments are original yet still show crisp faces and clear lenses, and I suspect that the mileage shown is an authentic reading. The back seat looks almost completely unused and the headliner is beautifully fitted. Demerits are few: the radio and clock do not work and the heel pad on the floor on the driver’s side is a little frayed. In back, the trunk is finished with a correct rubber mat and full-sized spare tire so you don’t have to wrestle with the tire in the continental kit.

Under the hood there's a correct 283 cubic inch V8 with the Power Pak option that included a 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust. Wearing bright Chevy Orange paint, stamped valve covers, and a factory air cleaner assembly, it looks quite correct and the bright orange engine really pops in the black engine bay. We are told that it was rebuilt during the restoration perhaps 12 years ago and it runs superbly today, exactly the way you'd hope your new old car would. There's no secret to the small block Chevy V8, and with a 4-barrel carburetor it's torquey and smooth without being temperamental. As I said, it has been driven and enjoyed a bit and is no longer as crisp as a fresh car would be, but there aren't many major faults, either. It still uses an original generator, the heater fan, windshield wiper motor, and master cylinder are original pieces, and while the exhaust manifolds are a bit crusty, they are authentic pieces.

A 2-speed PowerGlide automatic transmission is a familiar find in a ’57 Chevy simply because it’s a no-nonsense way to have fun. Get in, turn the key, and just go. It clicks off its single shift without drama and with what feel like 3.36 gears in the original rear end, it’s a comfortable cruiser in today’s world. Out on the road, it's plenty punchy and a pleasant-sounding dual exhaust system with four mufflers makes it a lot of fun to lean on the throttle now and then. The chassis was probably detailed when it was finished, but the transition from show car to road car means it has some dirt and grime underneath today. It helps control noise and heat inside and protects the floors from road debris. The floors are clean and solid, the frame shows no evidence of previous accident damage, and even the spare tire well is completely solid—a frequent trouble spot on these cars. It’s even still wearing spiral shocks! Factory steel wheels are outfitted with spinner hubcaps and a set of 7.50-14 BFGoodrich Silvertown wide whites that are exactly the right choice for a car like this.

From a long-time owner and enthusiast, this is a high-quality driver-grade car that will knock 'em dead at local shows and sparkles on the open road. If you've been watching prices lately, you also know that this lovely hardtop is very reasonably priced, particularly given the quality of the work. For a no-stories car in great colors, we have a lot of confidence in this pretty '57. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop
Price: $44,900
Stock Number: 117158
Mileage: 93,835
VIN: VC57A179829
Engine: 283 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 2-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.36
Wheelbase: 115 inches
Wheels: 14-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 7.50-14 BFGoodrich Silvertown whitewall
Exterior Color: Onyx Black
Interior Color: Red and black
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