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Lot 110: Chevrolet Deluxe Bel Air Coupé

Goodwood Revival Sale, Bonhams (15 September 2012)

Harley Earl and company attended to Chevrolet's first post-war restyle after all other General Motors cars except Pontiac, so these two makes used pre-war 'shells through 1948. But when change came it was dramatic - the '49 Chevys were some of the best looking GM products ever, and were precision built as well.' - Collectible Cars, Richard M Langworth. America's best-selling auto maker at the time, Chevrolet reorganised its line-up for 1949, rationalising the range into two Series - Special (basic) and Deluxe - both of which featured Styleline (notchback) and Fleetline (fastback) body styles. This distinction would last until the end of the '52 season when the fastback model was dropped altogether along with the 'Styleline' name. Chevrolet's sole power unit at this time was the famous 'Stovebolt', 216.5ci (3,549cc) overhead-valve six, which had continued unchanged for many years prior to the introduction of GM's Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission in 1951, when a 235.5ci (3.9-litre) version became available. Originally applied to a two-door hardtop coupé version of the Styleline Deluxe in 1950, the evocative Bel Air name was subsequently used to signify a top-of-the-range luxury trim level rather than a separate and distinct body style. Currently among the most collectible of post-war Chevrolets, the 1957 models featured a oval front grille surround flanked by a pair of over-riders shaped like the air intakes of a jet, while other aerospace motifs - courtesy of GM's styling maestro Harley Earl - included sharp-edged tailfins and hood-mounted 'fighter-plane' sidelights. Seven Bel Airs formed the 1957 line-up but the bewildering multitude of engine, transmission and convenience options meant that a customer could order a vehicle direct from the factory that was tailored specifically to his or her taste. The Bel Air's basic engines comprised the 235.5ci (3,861cc) overhead-valve six and a 265ci (4,262cc) V8. Power output depended on the transmission specified, and if the stock V8's 162 or 170bhp wasn't enough, there were numerous performance options available in the form of a 283ci V8 with power outputs ranging from 185bhp to 283 horsepower in fuel-injected Corvette specification. Chevrolet hailed the latter as America's first production car engine to produce one horsepower for every cubic inch and, not surprisingly, the Corvette-engined Bel Air rapidly established itself as the street racer's favourite. Americana at its best and one of the most desirable of all standard Chevrolets, this matching-numbers '57 Bel Air coupé has the high-performance 283ci V8 engine and Powerglide automatic transmission. Fitted options include heat/defrost, Power Pack and the rare padded dash top. The Chevrolet Owner's Service Policy on file records the fact that the car was supplied new via Stanley Chevrolet of Riverton, Wyoming to one Albert Jhonsen on 6th May 1957. A solid, rust-free car retaining its original panels, the Bel Air was restored by East Coast Chevy Inc in 2003 and comes with numerous related bills. Finished in white with black/charcoal vinyl interior, this beautiful classic American is offered with current MoT and Swansea V5C document.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Revival Sale
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood
Lot Number110
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£17500
Hammer Price (inc premium)£20125
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis numberVC57K184045
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2