Concept Carz Home
 ManufacturersArrow PictureChevroletArrow PictureBel Air (1966 - 1975)Arrow Picture1968 Chevrolet Bel Air 
Image Left 1967 Bel Air Series
 
Please note, the images are of a 1967 Chevrolet Bel Air

From 1950 through 1952 Chevrolet hardtops in the Deluxe model line were dubbed the 'Bel Air'. It took a few more years before it would become its own distinct series. In 1953, the Bel Air became its own model and was applied to Chevrolet's top-of-the-line model range. By 1955, the cars were offered with an optional V8 engine which greatly improved the cars performance.

In 1953 Chevrolet had three new models and 17 body styles to select from. This was the company's widest range of offerings in its history. The introduction of the Chevrolet was stirring press for the company, but so was the Bel Air, considered the company's Crown Jewel.

The Bel Air Series consisted of a two and four-door sedan, sport coupe, and a convertible coupe. Everything that was standard on the lower priced series was standard on the Bel Air, plus so much more including comfort, convenience and styling options. There was a one-piece curved windshield which added superb visibility. The luggage compartment was massive and the 115-inch wheelbase provided plenty of interior room for its occupants. The 115-horsepower Blue-Flame six-cylinder engine was new and the most powerful engine in Chevrolet's history.

In 1954, the Bel Air was launched as a 1955 model and brought with it a fresh new, elegant look for Chevrolet. With bold features that included hooded headlights, tailfins, wrap-around windshield, and rear fender skirts, the Bel Air was able to out-style the competition. The base engine was a six-cylinder, 115 horsepower power-plant. At a base price of $1095, it was a bargain. It is considered America's first low-priced 'hardtop coupe'. The most famous of the Bel Air engine options was the 283 cubic-inch V-8 small-block, with Ramjet Fuel injection. It delivered one horsepower per cubic inch, a first for production cars. Along with style, the Bel Air was a fast machine. Chevrolet quickly ascertained a reputation for building performance vehicles.

A full-width grill, redesigned front and rear fenders, gas cap behind the left taillight, larger rectangular parking lights, and sweeping side trim were just a few of the changes that set the 1956 Chevrolet apart from the 1955, which had taken the country by storm with its all new body re-design.

For the performance-minded public, the 1956 Chevrolet offered three 265 cubic-inch Turbo-Fire V-8 engine options: base 170 hp, 205 hp 4 bbl and the 225 hp dual 4 bbl.

Chevrolet produced 1,574,740 cars in the 1956 model year, of which 41,268 were Belair Convertibles. The 3,320 pound car cost $2,443 with the base V-8. You could literally load your new Chevy with factory options and accessories and stay under $3,000.

In 1957, the Bel Air grew in length by 2-1/2 inches and received a wider and taller grille. Additional options became available including two-tone interior, power convertible top, shoulder harnesses, tinted glass, seat belts, tissue dispenser, and ventilated seat pads.

In total, there were seven body styles to select from. In 1957, a two-page Chevrolet magazine ad proclaimed that 'Chevy puts the purr in performance'. This Bel Air Convertible, with the optional 245 HP 283 CID small block V-8 equipped with two four barrel carburetors, would certainly deliver on the promise made by the ad copy noted above, delivering a hearty purr from its dual exhausts.

Over the years these popular cars became an icon for the entire generation and they have gone on to become one of the most desirable and collectable post war cars of all. 47,000 Bel Air convertibles were produced in the 1957 model year.

The Chevrolet models grew in length in 1958 and increased in size. The Chevrolet Impala became their top-of-the-line model, followed by the middle-range Bel Air. The front end featured a broad grill with quad headlights.

By the later part of the 1960s, the Chevrolet Bel Air moved into the territory of a fleet vehicle. It was a basic machine built on Chevrolet's large platform and outfitted with few thrills or options. It was a good car though it lacked the prestige of times gone by.

The 1964 Chevrolet Be Air (Series 1600) was Chevrolet's mid-priced line between the basic Biscayne and the Impala.

The Biscayne was discontinued after 1972 and the Bel Air was moved into its place, becoming Chevrolet's low-level model. Production in the United States continued until 1975 though production continued in Canada until 1981.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
For more information and related vehicles, click here


Arrow Right 1968 Chevrolet models
Chevrolet Biscayne Series
Chevrolet Camaro RS
Chevrolet Camaro Series
Chevrolet Camaro SS396
Chevrolet Camaro Z28
Chevrolet Caprice Series
Chevrolet Chevelle Series
Chevrolet Chevy II Nova
Chevrolet Corvair Monza Series
Chevrolet Corvair Series
Chevrolet Corvette C3
Chevrolet El Camino
Chevrolet Impala Series
Chevrolet XP880
1968 Chevrolet Concepts
Chevrolet Astro II

Collectible: A Gathering of the Exceptional and Captivating
Similar Automakers
CadillacChrysler
DodgeFord
GMCHummer
JeepLincoln
MercuryPontiac
Saturn
Similarly Sized Vehicles from 1968
Chevrolet Biscayne Series
Chevrolet El Camino
Dodge Charger
Plymouth Satellite
Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

Similarly Priced Vehicles from 1968
Ford Mustang ($2,600-$2,812)
Dodge Charger ($3,015-$3,475)
Pontiac Firebird ($2,785-$3,000)
Triumph TR250 ($3,200-$3,200)
Chevrolet Chevelle Series ($2,340-$3,100)

Average Auction Sale: $1,000

 
Chevrolet: 1961-1970
Similar Automakers
Chevrolet History
Other models by Chevrolet
Manufacturer Website

Chevrolet
Monthly Sales FiguresVolume
September 2014153,873 
August 2014185,930 
July 2014175,155 
June 2014188,567 
May 2014205,010 
April 2014181,648 
March 2014179,681 
February 2014153,913 
January 2014119,089 
December 2013153,493 
November 2013145,089 
October 2013155,214 
(More Details)

 
150
210
Astro
Avalanche
Aveo
Bel Air
Beretta
Biscayne
Blazer
C10 / K10
Camaro
Cameo
Caprice
Cavalier
Chevelle
Citation
Cobalt
Colorado
Corvair
Corvette
Corvette GTP
Cruze
DB Master
Deluxe Series
El Camino
El Morocco
Equinox
Express
Fleetline
HHR
Impala
Kingswood
Laguna
Malibu
Metro
Model 3100
Model H
Monte Carlo
Monza
Nova
Prizm
RPO B2K Twin Turbo
S-10
Series 490
Series C
Series L
Silverado
Sonic
Spark
Special Series
SS
SSR
Styleline
Suburban
Tahoe
Task Force (Apache)
Tracker
TrailBlazer
Traverse
Trax
Uplander
Vega
Venture
Volt

Image Left 1967 Bel Air Series
© 1998-2014. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.