An American Classic: 57 Chevy
Bel Air was launched in 1957 and nobody – not even the producer – expected to create history. But the car became one of the icons and the most recognizable one the world has ever seen.
Today’s automakers still consider the 1957 Chevy a perfect example of nice design and great timing combination.
1957 Chevy Convertible
Actually, the 57 Chevy included 19 distinct models. All of them were made on a single platform. 1957 was the last year of that frame’s producing. It was used in 55, 56 and 57 Chevrolet’s model years. Then Chevrolet also sold the Corvette only.
Both Ford and Chrysler had new styling and platforms for their 1957 models. But in spite of the fact, the GM’s Chevrolet with aged frame outsold Ford. The difference wasn’t dramatic (126 cars), but the total numbers were impressive: 1,522,536 units of all manner of the 57 Chevy and 6,339 Corvettes.
The Two-Ten four-door sedan was the best-selling 1957 model. Its base price was $2,174.00. The cheapest in the family was One-Fifty Utility two-door sedan, sold for $1,885.00. The Bel Air Nomad was the most expensive and cost $2,757.00 (base price). It was a two-door station wagon and the Chevrolet’s lowest-selling model. In 1957 Chevrolet sold just 6,103 Nomads.
That year options included racing-style seat belts, a tissue dispenser, wheel spinners, an electric razor, gas filter and backup lights. That year Chevy models were sold in 15 two-tone combinations and 16 solid colors.
Many 57 Chevy’s had a prism on their dashboards. It refracted light from traffic signals and the driver could see when the light changed not learning forward under the almost vertical front glass.
The cars were equipped with 7 engines, a standard one had 235.5 cubic-inch volume and was 140-hp straight-six, the others were V8 and had power ranging from 162 to 283 hp. The 1957 Chevy was the first US car with fuel injection. And its optional 283 cubic-inch V8 engine with fuel injection produced 283 hp. was the 2nd American engine capable to produce 1 hp. per 1 cubic-inch of displacement. It came a year after the Chrysler Hemi (355-hp 354 cubic inch).
The 57 Chevy Family was assembled in 10 plants Tarrytown and St. Louis, N.Y.; Oakland, Calif., Norwood, Ohio; Los Angeles; Kansas City, Mo.; Janesville, Wis.; Flint; Atlanta, and Baltimore.
Many designers and motorists say they think the 1955 Chevy to be the best looking one, but the 57 Chevy brought more defined tailfins, bombsight hood ornaments, bullet-shaped bumper protectors, and some other elements which made the bargain-priced Chevrolet more attractive.
The 1957 Chevy had style and was powerful enough, and it hit the market due to its good price. That year Chevy was very popular among the baby boomers because it could embody Chevrolet’s spirit, groundbreaking, great looking, and affordable.