The 1957 Chevrolet models were the quintessential representation of the 1950s Americana. The Two-Ten made its automotive debut in the year 1953 and would see a relatively short lifespan, lasting until 1957. During that period, the car received two different generation body styles with the first produced for two years and the second for three years. Despite the short period of production, the Chevrolet 210 made a lasting impact on the American culture, best known for being part of Harrison Ford's early movie career, as the lead car in 'American Graffiti.'
From the humble One-Fifty to the glamorous Bel Air, the 1957 Chevrolet model lineup offered attractive styling with an array of body and trim styles and a full slate of drivetrain choices, accessible by almost anyone. The last of the fabled 'Tri-Five' Chevys, it is also arguably the most popular today.
Space-age styling and generous chrome trim adorned the 1957 Chevys, highlighted by a new oval-shaped from bumper grille with bomb-type bumper guards. On either side of a horizontal center bar were round front parking lamps complimented by a cross-hatched grille insert, with a Chevrolet medallion resting within the horizontal bar. The flat hood panel carried bombsight ornaments, the round headlights were surrounded in chrome trim and covered by protruding, pointed headlamp coverings, rear flat tailfins were formed by the fenders, and chrome trim traversed the body side (only half the body side on the One-Fifty). All Chevrolet's equipped with the V-8 engine had large, V-shaped hood and deck lid ornaments, done in bright metal on the lower series.
The One-Fifty, Two-Ten, and Bel Air came standard with a six-cylinder 'Blue Flame' engine that displaced 235.5 cubic-inches and delivering 140 horsepower. It had hydraulic valve lifters, a cast-iron block, four main bearings, a Rochester one-barrel carburetor, and 8.0:1 compression. A synchromesh transmission was standard, and overdrive or Powerglide was optional. All rested on a 115-inch wheelbase with an overall length of 200-inches. At all four corners were 7.50 x 14 four-ply tubeless Blackwall tires.
The overhead-valve 'Turbo-Fire' 265 CID optional V8 engine had 8.0:1 compression, hydraulic valve lifters, five main bearings, a Rochester two-barrel carburetor, and delivered 162 horsepower with the standard transmission or the 'Touch-Down' overdrive. The Turboglide transmission became an option during the year, and went equipped with the V8, boosted power to 170 bhp. Additional V8 options included a 283 with 185 horsepower and a 'Super Turbo-Fire' 283 CID V8 with 220 horsepower. The base 283 CID in the Corvette produced 245 horsepower, while the range-topping version with fuel-injection produced 283 horsepower. Chevrolet advertised that its solid-lifter fuel-injection system in the V8 was the first American production car to achieve one horsepower per cubic inch of displacement.
The One-Fifty had the least amount of exterior trim and the fewest number of standard equipment. The Two-Ten had nicer interiors and unique side trim including body rub moldings that began at the front headlights and traveled the length of the vehicle, sloping downwards to the rear bumper ends. A second, upper molding began just before the rear wheels, rising gently before leveling off and continuing to the rear, meeting the back edge of the fender. The area within the upper and lower moldings was painted a contrasting color, as part of many optional two-tone finish schemes, and carried a Chevrolet script nameplate.
The interiors of the Two-Ten were two-tone, with cloth and vinyl combinations.
Pricing on the six-cylinder One-Fifty began at $1,885 for the Utility Sedan and rose to $2,300 for the two-door station wagon. The two-door sedan was $2,000 and the four-door version was an additional $50. Adding the eight-cylinder engine added approximately $100 to the base price.
The six-cylinder Two-Ten was offered in eight body styles (including the two-door station wagon, and the four-door wagon with seating for 6- and 9-passengers). The two-door sedan was priced at $2,120, the sedan at $2,175, the Del Ray Coupe at $2,160, the two-door hardtop sport coupe at $2,200, and the four-door hardtop sport sedan at $2,270. The two-door station wagon was priced at $2,400, the four-door, six-passenger wagon at $2,460, and the 9-passenger version at $2,560.
The Bel Air offered a diverse lineup of body styles included a 2- and 4-door sedan, 2- and 4-door hardtop, convertible, station wagon, and Nomad. Prices ranged from $2,240 for the two-door sedan and rose to $2,760 for the range-topping Nomad.
Although the Bel Air was more expensive than the One-Fifty and Two-Ten, it accounted for approximately 47-percent of Chevrolet's total 1957 production with 702,220 examples built. The 560,906 examples of the Two-Ten represented approximately 37-percent of Chevrolet's 1957 production. Chevrolet built 146,080 examples of the One-Fifty.
Ford built more 1957 models than Chevrolet, however, Chevrolet outsold Ford by a mere 136 vehicles.By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2021