You can’t beat a ’57 Chevy Bel Air hardtop for a body style that’s stood the test of time. The GM stylists got it right and hot rodders and customizers have been gently (or not) tweaking it ever since. The most successful results have been the subtle ones. Minor improvements in areas like fitment, stance, rolling stock, and color, and running gear upgrades have made better ‘57s without diluting the car’s original appeal.
This bright red 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe street rod is a great example of how subtle changes can yield big results. Bright red paint with brilliant original trim stands out at any car event. Modern custom wheels and tires with a hot rod stance give a universally popular look. A hot rod small-block V-8 engine and a modern five-speed manual transmission upgrade the performance levels. Air conditioning, custom upholstery, and a modern sound system make the interior as slick as the exterior.
A previous owner replaced the stock 283-cu.in. V-8 with a much newer 350-cu.in. small-block. The seller states that the engine received a slight over-bore to 355-cubic inches. He also says that a “big cam” was installed. The engine is highly detailed with lots of chrome and braided stainless lines. A Mr. Gasket “bug catcher” air cleaner dwarfs the four-barrel carb. Extra go power is available when the NOS nitrous oxide system is activated. The nitrous tank is concealed behind a panel in the trunk. Exhaust headers and turbo style mufflers amplify the sounds of the lumpy cam. The car has a manual choke, so the seller says starting is easy and neither the engine nor the transmission leak. Power is transmitted to the 9-inch Ford rear end through a Tremec five-speed manual transmission, with a Hurst shifter for handling gear changes.
The intact trim tag indicates the original color combination was Matador Red with an India Ivory White roof. A previous owner repainted the car in a color the seller describes as “red with clear coat.” The seller goes on to say that the paint is excellent with no blemishes or rust. He further states that all the glass and seals are in excellent condition. All the chrome and stainless trim items including the bumpers show very well in the photos. Common alignment problems like the hood chrome to grille show very well. The gold anodized trim pieces also look great in the photos. The front bumper is a three-piece unit.
A red and black cloth interior originally graced this Bel Air and those colors are still present, but in a different style. Bright red vinyl horizontal pleats are surrounded by black panels and accented with black buttons. The door panels and entire trunk were similarly upholstered. Even the spare tire cover matches. The dash is body colored, as is the billet steering wheel. The dash is filled with white-faced gauges from Classic Instruments. Vintage Air is responsible for the modern A/C and Custom Autosound supplied the CD-equipped head unit with USB ports. The seller states that the upholstery, carpet, and lights are all in excellent working condition.