Image credits: © Chevrolet. GM Corp

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

General Motor's high-volume Chevrolet Division was known for producing value-rich, sensible automobiles. In 1955, this changed with the introduction of its restyled passenger car lineup. They were attractive and well-equipped with styling by Harley Earl inspired by GM's Motorama dream cars. Chevrolet Chief Engineer Ed Cole and his team backed up the elegance with the all-new small-block V-8 engine.

For 1956, full-size Chevrolet styling was mildly updated, followed in 1957 by jet fighter-inspired styling. Chevrolet's engineers continued their momentum with constant development of the of the small-block engine, from the Power Pack with its four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust, through the 225-horsepower dual-carbureted unit conceived by Zora Arkus-Duntov in 1956, which powered Duntov, Betty Skelton, and John Fitch to many speed records at Daytona Beach.

For 1957, the small-block engine grew to 283 cubic-inches which transformed the Chevrolets into 'giant killers' on NASCAR ovals. The Rochester mechanical fuel-injection unit. Developed by John Dolza, offered precise fuel delivery and eliminated the usual fuel starvation and flooding normally encountered with carbureted engines. With the fuel injection system installed, the engine offered 250 horsepower with a hydraulic camshaft and PowerGlide automatic transmission.


After Ed Cole was promoted to general manager of Chevrolet in 1956, he hired Vince Piggins, the engineer behind Hudson's former NASCAR dominance. Piggins was moved to Atlanta where he organized SEDCO (Southern Engineering and Development Co.) as Chevy's racing Skunk Works out of Nalley Chevrolet. While there, Piggins developed the Black Widow racing cars for 1957 and outlined an instruction manual on how dealers could build their own. Despite the success of this effort, the AMA (American Manufacturers' Association) racing ban halted Chevrolet's factory-backed racing program. Despite being forced underground, the Chevrolets would continue their winning ways - albeit on a more limited basis.

For 1957, few body parts would interchange with the 1956. The new Chevrolet was available in three standard series, including the 150 which had four body styles, the 210 with eight, and the Bel Air with seven. There were 19 different combinations available. Chevrolet buyers could selected the six or 265 V8 to half a dozen variations of the enlarged 28e engine. Additionally, there were 16 sold color choices and 15 two-tone combinations. Add them all together and it equals a staggering 466 models and color amalgamations.

The new Chevrolet was one-and-a-half inches lower at the hood line and 200 inches long. They had 14-inch tires which also reduced the height. Body changes were noticeable when compared to the 1955 to 1956 changes. They appeared longer, and the windshield was wider and taller. There was the lower and flatter hood with widely spaced twin rocket shaped wind splits, air intakes incorporated into the headlight bezels, and a restyled front and rear. The new rear end design included backup lights and taillights that blended into the rear bumper. The gas filler door was hidden in the trim. Bel Air models received aluminum side trim, giving the model the appearance of motion even while standing still.


by Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2019

Related Reading : Chevrolet Bel Air History

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 Chevrolets 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....
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1957 Vehicle Profiles

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Convertible

Chassis Num: VC57S302368

1957 was the second restyling of the trendsetting 1955 model bringing the styling to new heights. Chevrolet lowered the car and used smaller wheels plus several other body modifications. The nose and tail were updated with Cadillac-inspired cues, res....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

HardTop Sport Coupe

Ford outsold Chevrolet in 1957, but the 1957 Bel Air has been called 'the most popular used car in history.' This Bel Air Sport Coupe has the iconic 1957 Chevy color combination of Sierra Gold and Adobe Beige. It is equipped with the popular 'Power P....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Hardtop Sport Sedan

The 1957 Chevy is the car everybody knows. Maybe its the fins, maybe its because during the sixties every high school kid wanted one. Ford actually outsold Chevrolet in 1957, but the 1957 Chevy has been called 'the most popular used car in history.....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Nomad

The 'station-wagon-as-a-style-statement' boom can be traced to the mid-fifties Chevrolet Nomad. The sporty, low-slung Nomad was 'the longed-for styling wedding between the production sports car and the family workhorse,' enthused Motor Trend. While a....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Convertible

The Bel Air was Chevrolet's top-of-the-line offering for 1957 and the Bel Air series was equipped with what was known as the 'Gold Package,' which included three gold chevrons on each front fender, a gold grille insert and gold V-8 ornament. A popula....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Nomad

Chevrolet designers conceived the Nomad station wagon as an upscale, suburban utility vehicle. Introduced in 1955, the Nomad was admired for its looks, but was expensive compared to other Chevrolets. While the name lived on for several years in lower....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Nomad

Chassis Num: CA746320

Though the Chevrolet Nomad was aesthetically different from the other vehicles in the lineup, it was mechanically identical and had the same optional power plants. One of those engines was the same found in the Corvette, the 283 cubic-inch V8 that h....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Nomad

In the 1950's General Motors color palate seemed unlimited, and this car is certainly proof of that. It wears rare original Chevrolet color number 253-90645 'Canyon Coral.' Original specification Nomads are hard to find today because they made an e....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Chassis Num: VC57S218162

There were 47,562 Bel Air's created. They were originally available with a six-cylinder engine that produced 115 horsepower. They came in a two-tone paint scheme and two-tone interior. As the years progressed the Bel Air was available with a varie....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Sedan

The 1957 Chevy is the car everybody knows. Maybe it's the fins. Maybe it's because - in the Sixties - every high school kid wanted one. Ford actually outsold Chevrolet in 1957, but the '57 Chevy has been called 'the most popular used car in histor....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Sedan

'See the USA in Your Chevrolet' was the theme song for Dinah Shore's popular television variety show, which debuted on NBC in 1956. Ms. Shore remained a spokesperson for Chevy throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, during which time GM regularly gave....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Hardtop Sport Coupe

The 1957 Chevy, the last year of the so-called Tri-Chevys, may be the classic American classic. This series of cars go down in history as the launch vehicle for the now evergreen small-block Chevy V8. Though based on the 1955 and 1956 cars, the 1957 ....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Sedan

Chassis Num: VC57A199645

This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible Coup is equipped with 40 factory options. It has the optional 283 V-8 power pack with Rochester four-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust, Powerglide automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, parking br....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Nomad

Chassis Num: VC57K117617

The design of Chevrolet's Nomad Station Wagon first appeared as a Corvette at GM's 1954 Waldorf Astoria Motorama; it was introduced to the regular passenger line 1955 with 8,386 examples built that year. Over the three-year lifespan, production remai....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Convertible

Chassis Num: VC55K090585

This Chevrolet Bel Air has the optional small block V-8 with a rare accessory oil filter and mated to a Powerglide 2-speed automatic transmission. There are dual exhausts with chrome tips, power steering, power brakes and 4-barrel carburetor. It is f....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Sedan

Chassis Num: VC57K180258

The Chevrolet Bel Air achieved successful sales in 1956, and Chevrolet was to keep the enthusiasm alive, so they upgraded the model with new styling for 1957. It was lowered by 1.5 inches and became 2.5-inches longer than the 1956 model. In the front....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Nomad

After decades of winning the sales race with a doggedly conservative but ruggedly reliable six-cylinder car, Chevy chief engineer Ed Cole came up with a hot, low-slung V8 car powered and styled to put competitors in the rearview mirror. All this earn....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Convertible

Initially, General Motors executives wanted an entirely new car for 1957, but production delays necessitated the 1955–56 design for one more year. Ed Cole, chief engineer for Chevrolet, dictated a series of changes that significantly increased the co....[continue reading]

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle information

Convertible

The owner of this 1957 Chevrolet Be Air restored about 80 percent of this car himself, and is proud to have had it featured in the January 19, 2012 issue of 'Old Cars Weekly News & Marketplace' in the 'Finished Product' section. The car was invited t....[continue reading]

Convertible
Chassis #: VC57S302368 
HardTop Sport Coupe
 
Hardtop Sport Sedan
 
Nomad
 
Convertible
 
Nomad
 
Nomad
Chassis #: CA746320 
Nomad
 
Chassis #: VC57S218162 
Sedan
 
Sedan
 
Hardtop Sport Coupe
 
Sedan
Chassis #: VC57A199645 
Nomad
Chassis #: VC57K117617 
Convertible
Chassis #: VC55K090585 
Sedan
Chassis #: VC57K180258 
Nomad
 
Convertible
 
Convertible
 


Concepts by Chevrolet

Similarly Sized Vehicles
from 1957



Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1957 Bel Air
$2,900-$16,800
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Price Range: $2,173 - $2,900

$2,100 - $2,700

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Chevrolet
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)2,061,677
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)1,318,014
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)1,653,168
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)1,462,140
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)1,142,460
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)1,505,910
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Buick (572,024)1,567,117
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)1,704,667
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)1,143,561
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)1,346,475
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)818,142

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