The 1950's are synonymous with young Americans enjoying
rock 'n' roll, drive-in movies and cars that were fast
The Chevrolet Bel Air became one of the
most popular American cars ever because of its unique
style, engine modifications and affordable price.
The 1954 Bel Air was the beginning of a new, elegant look
for Chevrolet - however that years model was only fitted
with the 115bhp 6 cylinder engine. Customers did not have
to wait long, however.
The heads of Chevrolet had decided
that, to keep ahead of its rivals, model changes would
be made every two years, with a face lift inbetween!
1955 ushered in several changes for the Bel Air, including
a new larger shape (to match the size of its competitors
from Ford and Plymouth), and most importantly the option
of a 'Turbo-Fire' small block V8 engine (borrowed from
The new model had a wrap-around windscreen,
hooded headlamps and, naturally for the 50's, tailfins.
These changes resulted in a huge sales success, with production
numbers soaring to a staggering 773,382. (Note: 1955 model
By 1956, sales of the Bel Air had decreased, with only
669,281 manufactured. Chevrolet decided the car needed
another change to send sales numbers up.
The most obvious
and fascinating change for 1957 was the introduction of
rear fins above the taillights. Other exterior changes
included a massive chrome bumper surrounding a concave
grille and twin wind splits that dressed up the hood.
The 1957 Bel Air was also longer and lower than previous
models. This Bel Air came to be known as a "muscle car"
because of its powerful V8 engine and offered a range
of horsepower from 140 to 283, depending on the model.
Buyers had the option of choosing a new fuel injection
system with the 283 engine. Production of this model
Today any 1950's model Chevy, particularly a model featuring
the mighty tail fins, is extremely sought after and is
sure to appreciate in the coming years...