1955 bel air

1955 bel air DEFAULT

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air 2-Dr Hardtop

Car: Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop

Year: 1955

What makes it special: The 1955 model year is considered a huge turning point for Chevrolet cars as well as a major success. The 1955 Chevrolet was available in three models: the 150, 210, and Bel Air. The ’55 was the first successful Chevrolet with an optionalV8 engine. Chevrolet had produced an earlier car with a V8 in 1918 known as the Chevrolet Series D, which used a 36 horsepower overhead valve 288 cubic-inch V8, but it remained in production for only a year. In 1955, Chevrolet decided to fit its new car with an overhead valve V8 engine design, which was similar to the 1949 Oldsmobile “Rocket 88” V8 engine which was an earlier GM success. Chevy’s new 265 cubic-inch overhead valve V8 was designed to be smaller, lighter, and more powerful than previous V8’s in the auto industry, and would come to be known as the “Chevy small block”.

What made it famous:Additionally, Chevrolet drastically changed its body design. The 1955 Chevy had smooth straight panels on the sides and hood. This was a major departure from previous years for Chevrolet. For1955, Chevrolet designed the entire car with the full shoebox look. Along with the flatter straighter panels, the ’55 also had modern cue’s like wrap-around glass on the windshield, and triangular tail lights that jutted outward. This new look, combined with new power and engineering, made the ’55 an instant hit with the buying public and a critical success. The 55’s top trim offering was the Bel-Air, which had more chrome than the 150 or 210. The Bel-Air, 210 and 150 model could be bought as a four door, or could be bought as a two door with a post between the front and rear passenger windows, known as the two-door sedan.

Why I would want one: Ever since Bob Falfa drove a 1955 2-door 210 post sedant into town to race the unbeatable John Milner in the 1973 George Lucas movie “American Graffiti.” I’ve wanted a 1955 Chevrolet.

Fun fact: The ’55, ’56 and ’57 Chevy’s are extremely sought after by collectors, enthusiasts and hot rodders, and the three model years are often referred to by the given nickname of the “tri-fives”. Collectors will pay premiums for 2 door models, and even more for the Bel Air version, especially the two-door hardtop. Today, 1955 Chevy two door hard tops command top dollar.
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Sours: https://www.wplr.com/2018/10/22/ajs-car-of-the-day-1955-chevrolet-bel-air-2-dr-hardtop/

1955 Chevrolet

See also: Chevrolet Bel Air, Chevrolet 210, Chevrolet 150, and Chevrolet Nomad

Motor vehicle

The 1955 Chevrolet (sometimes referred to as '55 Chevy) is an automobile which was introduced by Chevrolet in Autumn 1954 for the 1955 model year. It is considered a huge turning point for the manufacturer and a major success. It was available in three models: the 150, 210, and Bel Air.

The '55 Chevrolet was the first successful Chevrolet with an optional V8 engine. Chevrolet had produced an earlier car with a V8 in 1918 (Chevrolet Series D), which used a 36-horsepower overhead valve 288-cubic-inch V8, but it remained in production for only a year.[4] In 1955, Chevrolet decided to fit its new car with an overhead valve V8 engine design, which was similar to the 1949 Oldsmobile "Rocket 88" V8 engine which was an earlier GM success. Chevrolet's new 265-cubic-inch overhead valve V8 was designed to be smaller, lighter, and more powerful than previous V8s in the auto industry, and would come to be known as the "Chevy small block".

However, the new small block engine in the '55 Chevrolet had some early teething issues. Some problems existed with cracked pistons, there was no integrated oil filter, so an external bypass filter was offered as a factory or dealer option. Those who did not order the engine with the "oil filter option" dealt with a high frequency of oil changes. Even with the oil filter option, only part of the oil was actually filtered (the oil going through the thermostat). This issue was corrected for the next year when a full flow oil filter system was added to the engine. Additionally, to keep performance and mileage levels high required spark plug and ignition points to be replaced on a regular basis. But other than those issues it was an easy to maintain engine. The small block Chevrolet V8 became so popular that Chevrolet still sells it today as an over the counter replacement engine or better known as a "crate engine". There have been various changes made to the engine to modernize it since its introduction in 1954 however the basic design of the original 265 remains in place.

Body design[edit]

Additionally, Chevrolet drastically changed its body design. The 1955 Chevrolet had smooth straight panels on the sides and hood. This was a major departure from previous years for Chevrolet. Although Ford introduced what would be the first "shoe box" body design in 1949, GM and Chrysler were slow to catch on, only slowly replacing some of their bubble-like hood and side panels with flatter ones each year, without achieving a full shoebox look by 1954. But in 1955, Chevrolet designed the entire car with the full shoebox look. Along with the flatter straighter panels, the '55 also had modern cues like wrap-around glass on the windshield, and triangular tail lights that jutted outward. This new look, combined with new power and engineering, made the '55 an instant hit with the buying public and a critical success.

The car's popular "shoe-box" body style and chassis were carried over to 1956 (with changes to some of the front and rear aesthetics and bottom body line), and then carried over to 1957 (where the body was lengthened several inches in the rear and more drastic aesthetic changes were made).

The '55, '56 and '57 Chevrolets are sought after by collectors, enthusiasts and hot rodders[citation needed], and the three model years are often referred to by the given nickname of the "tri-fives." Collectors will pay a premium for two-door models, and even more for the Bel Air version, especially the two-door hardtop (two-door, no side post). Today, 1955 Chevrolet two door hard tops command top dollar.[citation needed]

Options and trim[edit]

The 1955 Chevrolet also offered many other firsts for Chevrolet, including changing from a 6-volt to a 12-volt electrical system. The '55 offered new options like air conditioning, power windows, power seats, power steering and power brakes. Other options included automatic light dimmers, door handle protectors, bumper protectors and "wonder-bar" radios. So many new options were available that some referred to the car as "Chevy's little Cadillac." Never before had so many options been offered for a car in the low-price field.

The '55's top trim offering was the Bel-Air, which had more chrome than the 150 or 210. The Bel-Air, 210 and 150 model could be bought as a four-door, or could be bought as a two door with a post between the front and rear passenger windows, known as the two-door sedan.

The Bel-Air or 210 model could also be had as a two door with no post between the side windows. This was known as the sport coupe, or better known by collectors as "the two door hardtop". Since this model had no post between the two side windows, it had a shorter roof and longer rear deck than the two door sedan had. Chevrolet also offered a convertible, with the same shorter roof and longer rear deck as the sport coupe, and it was offered in Bel-Air trim only.

1955 also saw the introduction of the Bel Air Nomad, a sporty two-door station wagon which featured frameless door glass and elongated side windows. The unique roof design of the Nomad came directly from the 1954 Corvette Nomad, a "dream car" designed to be shown at auto shows as a concept sport wagon. Although regarded as one of the most beautiful station wagon designs of Fifties, the Nomad sold poorly, partly due to its price tag (one of the most expensive models in the Bel Air lineup) as well as its lack of four doors. Also the Nomad's two-piece tailgate design was prone to let excess rainwater leak through to the interior.

The '55 offered a wide array of colors. One solid color, which was standard for the 150, could be had for the 210 or Bel Air...or nineteen different two-tone color combinations were also available.

Along with a standard column-mounted three speed synchro-mesh transmission, the buyer of a '55 Chevrolet could specify an optional overdrive unit to go with it, or the fully automatic two-speed Powerglide transmission. Although most everything was new in 1955 for Chevrolet, the reliable Powerglide was mostly unchanged from '54.


There were nine different variations of the three models made in 1955, with differences in body, roof type, number of doors, and available equipment, but not all possible combinations were sold.

Name and Description150 Series210 SeriesBel Air Series
4 Door Sedan: 6-passenger, 7-window sedan with a rear trunk.XXX
2 Door Sedan: 6-passenger, 5-window sedan with a rear trunk.XXX
Club Coupe: 6-passenger, 2-door, 5-window coupe with a rear trunk.X
Utility Sedan: 3-passenger, 5-window sedan with a rear trunk.X
Sport Coupe: 6-passenger, 2-door, 5-window pillarless hardtop coupe with rear trunk.XX
Convertible: 5-passenger, 2-door, 5-window coupe with folding top and rear trunk.X
Nomad Wagon: 6-passenger, 2-door, 7 window "hardtop" wagon.X
2 Door Station Wagon: 6-passenger, 5-window wagon with drop and lift gates.XX
4 Door Station Wagon: 6-passenger, 7 window wagon with drop and lift gates.XX
Sedan Delivery: 2-passenger, 3 window, panel delivery wagon.X
  • 1955 Chevrolet 210 2-Door Sedan

  • 1955 Chevrolet 210 4-Door Sedan

  • 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible


The following engines were available on the 1955 Chevrolet:

  • OHV Inline 6 cylinder: 235 cubic inch, 123 horsepower
  • OHV Inline 6 cylinder: 235 cubic inches, 136 brake horsepower (SAE)
  • OHV V8: 265 cubic inches, 162 brake horsepower (SAE)
  • OHV V8: 265 cubic inches, 180 brake horsepower (SAE), also known as the "Power Pack" engine
  • OHV V8: 265 cubic inches, 195 brake horsepower (SAE), late in the model year, known as the "Super Power Pack"

The 265 was new for 1955, and it was the first V8 available in a Chevrolet since 1918 Model "D" was offered. That car did not sell well due to its price during an oncoming recession throughout World War-I, so Chevrolet reverted to OHV inline 4-cylinder engines until 1929 when Chevrolet switched to an inline 6-cylinder engine. This reliable six cylinder would power Chevrolet cars until 1963[5] and was known as the "stove-bolt six". However, the new 265 V-8 in 1955 offered more power than the six, and weighed 100 pounds less.

The 265 was a big success, and was fitted to the majority of Chevrolet cars for decades in various cubic inch displacements. It is commonly referred to as the "Small Block Chevy" motor.


The car contained one of three transmission types, all with the shifter on the column:

  • 3-speed Synchromesh manual
  • 3-speed Synchromesh manual with overdrive
  • 2-speed automatic "powerglide."

All models had the three transmission options.

See also[edit]

1917-1918 Chevrolet Series D V8, previous Chevrolet V8 engine


Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1955_Chevrolet
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Chevrolet Bel Air

American full-size automobile

Motor vehicle

The Chevrolet Bel Air is a full-size car that was produced by Chevrolet for the 1950–1975 model years. Initially, only the two-door hardtops in the Chevrolet model range were designated with the Bel Air name from 1950 to 1952. With the 1953 model year, the Bel Air name was changed from a designation for a unique body shape to a premium level of trim applied across a number of body styles. The Bel Air continued with various other trim level designations, and it went from a mid-level trim car to a budget fleet sedan when U.S. production ceased in 1975. Production continued in Canada, for its home market only, through the 1981 model year.

The Chevrolet Bel Air, especially its third generation design, has been considered an icon of the 1950s. Well-maintained and preserved examples are highly sought after by car collectors and enthusiasts.


First generation (1950–1954)[edit]

Motor vehicle

First generation
1951 Chevrolet Deluxe Bel Air Hardtop Coupé.jpg

1951 Chevrolet Bel Air

Assembly(main factory)
Flint, Michigan, (Flint Assembly)
(branch assembly)
South Gate, California, (South Gate Assembly)
Tarrytown, New York, (North Tarrytown Assembly)
Lakewood Heights, Georgia, (Lakewood Assembly)
St. Louis, Missouri, (St. Louis Assembly)
Oakland, California, (Oakland Assembly)
Norwood, Ohio, (Norwood Assembly)
Body style2-door hardtop
2-door coupe (1953–54)
4-door sedan (1953–54)
2-door convertible
4-door station wagon (1954)
PlatformGM A Body
RelatedPontiac Star Chief
Engine215.5 cu in (3.5 L) "Thriftmaster" 1-bbl. valve-in-head 92 hp I6[1]
235.5 cu in (3.9 L) Blue Flame I6
Transmission3-speed manual
2-speed powerglideauto.
Length197.5"(1950–1952);[1][2] 15"(1954)[1]
Curb weight3,345[3]

From 1950 to 1952, the Bel Air Sport Coupe name was used only for the two-door hardtops in the Chevrolet model range, to distinguish the car from the Styleline and Fleetline models. It was named for the wealthy Bel Air neighborhood on the Westside of Los Angeles.

First year production reached only 76,662 models built. The car cost $1,741 and weighed 3,225 lb (1,463 kg).[4] Front suspension was independent, named "knee-action".[2] The first Bel Airs of this era shared only their front sheet metal ahead of the A pillar with the rest of the range. The windshield, doors, glass, and trunk were common with the Styline DeLuxe Convertible Coupe, however the roof, rear quarters and rear windows (3) were unique. The chassis and mechanicals were common with the rest of the passenger car range, and the overall appearance was the same as the rest of the range, except that the roof line was lower and the unique three piece rear window gave it a longer and more balanced look. The first Bel Airs were available with only the "DeLuxe" premium trim level and specification.

Apart from the usual annual grille and trim changes, the 1951–1952 Bel Air differed from the earlier 1950 model with introduction of the higher and squarer rear guards that were across the whole range.

In 1953 Chevrolet renamed its series, and the Bel Air name was applied to the premium model range. Two lower series, the 150 and 210, also emerged (as successors to the Special and Deluxe series, respectively). The 1953 Chevrolet was advertised as "Entirely new through and through," due to the restyled body panels, front and rear ends. However, essentially these Chevrolets had similar frame and mechanicals to the 1949–1952 cars.

The Bel Air was given a facelift in 1953. The pre-war technology, such as torque tube drive, six-cylinder splash feed engines, knee-action suspension, and split windshields of the early models was phased out and the foundations for the first post war modern Chevrolet passenger car were finalized. The Bel Air series featured a wide chrome strip of molding from the rear fender bulge to the rear bumper. The inside of this stripe was painted a coordinating color with the outside body color, and "Bel Air" scripts were added inside the strip. Lesser models had no model designation anywhere on the car, having only a Chevy crest on the hood and trunk. 1953 was the first year for a curved, one-piece windshield.[1][5]

In the July 1953 issue of Popular Mechanics, a tested 1953 Bel Air went from 0-60 mph in 19.6 seconds.[6]

Bel Air interiors had an optional massive expanse of chrome across the lower part of the dashboard (most were painted), along with a deluxe Bel Air steering wheel with full chrome horn ring. Carpeting and full wheel covers rounded out Bel Air standard equipment. For 1954, the Bel Air stayed essentially the same, except for a revised grille and taillights, and a revised engine that had insert bearings and higher oil pressure, needed for the full-flow oil filtration system that was not available prior to 1954. Prior to 1954, the 235 and 216 cubic inch six cylinder engines had babbit bearings and scoops to create oil pressure at the bottom of each rod and the oil pressure was standard at 15-30 PSI. During these years, there were three engine choices, depending on the transmission ordered. Both 235 cubic inch engines were "Blue Flame" inline six cylinder OHV engines, featuring hydraulic valve lifters (in 1953 with automatic transmissions) and aluminum pistons. The 106 hp (79 kW) 235 cubic inch displacement engine was standard on stickshift models, with solid lifters and splash plus pressure lubrication including babbit bearings. Powerglide cars got a 115 hp (86 kW) version which had hydraulic lifters and full pressure lubrication.

In 1953 and 1954, Bel Airs could be ordered in convertible, hardtop coupe, two- and four-door sedans, and, for 1954, the Beauville station wagon which featured woodgrain trim around the side windows. Many new options, once available only to more expensive luxury cars, became offered starting in 1953, including power steering and the Guidematic headlight dimmer in 1953; and power brakes, power 2-way front seat and power front windows in 1954. All 1954 models equipped with the standard transmission used the 1953 Powerglide engine.

  • 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

  • 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe

Second generation (1955–1957)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Second generation
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air cnv - fvrT.jpg

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible

Model years1955–1957
Assembly(main plant)
Flint, Michigan, (Flint Assembly)
(branch assembly)
Caracas, Venezuela[7]
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada (Oshawa Car Assembly)
Arlington, Texas, (Arlington Assembly)
South Gate, California, (South Gate Assembly)
Baltimore, Maryland, (Baltimore Assembly)
DesignerBill Mitchell
Body style2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop (1956–57)
4-door sedan
2-door convertible
2-door Station wagon
4-door station wagon
LayoutFR layout
PlatformGM A Body
RelatedChevrolet 210
Chevrolet 150
Chevrolet Nomad
Pontiac Chieftain
Engine215.5 cu in (3.5 L) ThriftmasterI6
235.5 cu in (3.9 L) Blue Flame I6
265 cu in (4.3 L)
283 cu in (4.6 L)
Small-Block V8 (1957)
Transmission3-speed manual[8]
2-speed Powerglideauto.
3-speed Turboglide auto.

The Bel Air received new, revamped styling for the 1955 model year. The Bel Air was 3,456 lb (1,568 kg) and 15 ft (4.6 m) long. It was called the "Hot One" in GM's advertising campaign. Bel Airs came with features found on cars in the lower models ranges plus interior carpet, chrome headliner bands on hardtops, chrome spears on front fenders, stainless steel window moldings,[1] full wheel covers, and a Ferrari-inspired front grille. Models were further distinguished by the Bel Air name script in gold lettering later in the year.[9] For 1955 Chevrolets gained a V8 engine option and the option of the 2 speed Powerglideautomatic, or a standard three speed Synchro-Mesh manual transmission with optional overdrive. The new 265 cu in (4.3 L) V8 featured a modern, overhead valve high compression ratio, short stroke design that was so good that it remained in production in various displacements for many decades. The base V8 had a two-barrel carburetor and was rated at 162 hp (121 kW) and the "Power Pack" option featured a four-barrel carburetor and other upgrades yielding 180 bhp (134 kW). Later in the year, a "Super Power Pack" option added high-compression and a further 15 bhp (11 kW). Warning lights replaced gauges for the generator and oil pressure.[10] This was not the first Chevrolet to be installed with a V8 engine; the first Chevrolet with a V8 engine was introduced in 1917 and called the Series D, which was built for two years, and was manufactured before Chevrolet joined General Motors.

The 1955 Bel Air was very well received. Motor Trend magazine gave the Bel Air top marks for handling.[10]Popular Mechanics reported acceleration for a V8 Bel Air with Powerglide as being 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 12.9 seconds, plus a comfortable ride and good visibility. On the other hand, the horn ring blocked some of the speedometer, regular gasoline made the engine knock and the first V8 engines off the line burned too much oil.[11] Front legroom was 43.1".[1] Brakes were 11" drums.[12] A new option for V8-equipped 1955 models was air conditioning, with outlets on each side of the dashboard; a heavy-duty generator was included on cars equipped with this option; in 1955 and 1956, air conditioning could be installed on cars ordered with the standard three-speed manual transmission, overdrive or Powerglide, but from 1957 onward, an automatic transmission (or minus that, 4-speed manual transmission) was a pre-requisite option.

The 1956 Bel Air received a face-lift with a more conventional full-width grille, pleasing those customers who didn't favor the Ferrari-inspired '55 front end. Two-tone bodyside treatments and front and rear wheel openings completed the "speedline" restyling. Single housings incorporated the taillight, stoplight, and backup light, and the left one held the gas filler - an idea popularized on Cadillacs. Among the seven Bel Air models was a new Sport Sedan, a pillarless four-door hardtop that looked handsome with all the windows rolled down and allowed easy entry into the back seat. Production exceeded 103,000, compared to 128,000 two-door hardtops. Shapely two-door Nomad wagons topped the price chart at US$2,608 ($24,825 in 2020 dollars [13]), but now carried the same interior and rear-wheel sheetmetal as other Bel Airs, lacking the original's unique trim. Only 7,886 were built. The least costly Bel Air, at US$2,025 ($19,276 in 2020 dollars [13]), was the two-door sedan. Seatbelts, shoulder harnesses, and a padded dashboard were available,[10] and full-size cars could even get the hot Corvette 225-horsepower engine. In 1956 sales material there was an optional rain-sensing automatic top,[14] which was first seen on the 1951 LaSabre concept car. However, it is believed that it was never installed on a car.[15]Popular Mechanics reported only 7.4% of owners in their survey ordered seat belts. A '56 Bel Air 4-door hardtop, prepared by Chevy engineer Zora Arkus Duntov, set a new endurance/speed record for an automobile ascending Pikes Peak.

In 1957 engine displacement grew to 283 cu in (4.6 L) with the "Super Turbo Fire V8" option (shared with the Corvette), producing 283 hp (287 PS; 211 kW) @ 6200 rpm and 290 lb⋅ft (393 N⋅m) @ 4400 rpm of torque[16] with the help of RochesterRamjet[17]continuous mechanical fuel injection (closed-loop).[18] These so-called "fuelie" cars are quite rare, since most Bel Airs were fitted with carburetion.

The 1957 Bel Air is considered by many to be "an icon of its age. . .right alongside Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and Leave it to Beaver," and is among the most recognizable American cars of all time;[19] well-maintained examples, especially sport coupes and convertibles are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. They are roomy, with tastefully restrained, period use tail fins and chrome. A second automatic transmission, Turboglide was optional. While the original two-speed Powerglide continued unchanged, Turboglide provided a continuously variablegear-ratio which made "shifting" imperceptible. The shift quadrant on Turboglide cars followed a "P R N D Gr" pattern.[20][21]

From 1955 to 1957, production of the two-door Nomadstation wagon was assigned to the Bel Air series, although its body and trim were unique to that model. Prior to becoming a regular production model, the Nomad first appeared as a Corvette-based concept vehicle in 1954. Chevrolet has since unveiled two concept cars bearing the Nomad name, most recently in 1999. The 1955–1957 Chevrolets are commonly referred to as Tri Fives.

The 1955-1957s were made in right-hand drive and shipped from Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Ontario, for local assembly in Australia (CKD), New Zealand (SKD) and South Africa. All three model years had a reversed version of the '55 LHD dashboard and did not get the LHD models' 1957 redesign.

A black 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air was featured in the 1973 movie American Graffiti. The 55" features a big hood scoop, and a signature cowboy hat in the rear window. In the movie, it races against a yellow 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe and crashes into a ditch. The Bel Air had a 454 cubic inch chevrolet motor, with aluminum heads, tunnel ram intake and dual Holley carburetors.

  • 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-door Hardtop

  • 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-door Sedan

  • 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sport sedan

  • 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air interior

Third generation (1958)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Third generation
1958 Chevrolet Bel Air.jpg

1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Coupe

Model years1958
Assembly(main plant)
Flint, Michigan, (Flint Assembly
(branch assembly)
Arlington, Texas, United States)
South Gate, California, (South Gate Assembly)
Baltimore, Maryland, (Baltimore Assembly)
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada (Oshawa Car Assembly)
Body style2-door sedan
2-door hardtop
4-door sedan
4-door hardtop
2-door convertible
PlatformGM B platform
Related1958 Chevrolet Delray
1958 Chevrolet Biscayne
1958 Chevrolet Impala
1958 Chevrolet Yeoman
1958 Chevrolet Brookwood
1958 Chevrolet Nomad
Engine235.5 cu in (3.9 L) 145 hp Blue FlameI6
283 cu in (4.6 L) Small-BlockV8
348 cu in (5.7 L) Big-Block 250–315 hp V8[1]
Transmission3-speed manual
2-speed Powerglideauto.
Wheelbase117.5" [22]

For 1958, Chevrolet models were redesigned longer, lower, and heavier than their 1957 predecessors, and the 348 cu in (5.7 L) was now an option. The Bel Air gained a halo vehicle in 1958, the Impala, available only as a hardtop coupe and convertible in its introductory year. Impala styling followed the basic lines of the other Chevrolet models but received special styling cues including a different roof line, a vent above the rear window, unique side trim, and triple tail lights housed in slightly broader alcoves. Two significantly cheaper models, the Biscayne (formerly the 210) and the Delray (formerly the 150) were also available during this model year.

Chevrolet's design for the year fared better than its other GM offerings, and lacked the overabundance of chrome found on other sedans at the time. Complementing Chevrolet's front design was a broad grille and quad headlights; the tail received a fan-shaped alcove on both side panels, which housed dual tail lights. Despite being a recession year, consumers made Chevrolet the No. 1 make of automobile, and the Bel Air was at the core of Chevrolet's popularity. With its wide variety of body styles and models, Bel Airs could be optioned with almost every conceivable luxury within the Chevrolet line. The Nomad station wagon name also reappeared in 1958 when the vehicle bowed as the premium four-door Chevrolet station wagon, lacking the unique styling of the 1955-57 Nomads. Most Chevrolet station wagon models had two tail lights (one on each side of the body) housed in abbreviated alcoves, which were made smaller to accommodate the rear gate. A new dash was used.[24]


The 1958 Bel Air featured Chevrolet's new "Safety-Girder" cruciform frame. Similar in layout to the frame adopted for the 1957 Cadillac, it featured box-section side rails and a boxed front cross member that bowed under the engine. These "x-frames" were used on other 1958 to 1964 Chevys, as well as Cadillac. The rear was tied together by a channel-section cross member.[25] This design was later criticized as providing less protection in the event of a side impact collision, but would persevere until 1965.

For the first time, Powerglide models featured the "PRNDL" transmission selector arrangement, replacing the oft-criticized "PNDLR" quadrant that many considered confusing at best, dangerous at worst.

Fourth generation (1959–1960)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Fourth generation
Chevrolet Bel Air 1959 1.jpg

1959 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-Door Sedan

Model years1959–1960
Assembly(main plant)
Flint, Michigan, (Flint Assembly)
(branch assembly)
Arlington, Texas, United States
South Gate, California, (South Gate Assembly)
Baltimore, Maryland, (Baltimore Assembly)
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada (Oshawa Car Assembly)
Body style2-door sedan
2-door hardtop (1960)
4-door sedan
4-door hardtop
PlatformGM B platform
Related1959–1960 Chevrolet Biscayne
1959–1960 Chevrolet Impala
1959–1960 Chevrolet Brookwood
1959–1960 Chevrolet Parkwood
1959–1960 Chevrolet Kingswood
1959–1960 Chevrolet Nomad
1959–1960 Chevrolet El Camino
Engine235.5 cu in (3.9 L) Blue FlameI6
283 cu in (4.6 L) Small-BlockV8
348 cu in (5.7 L) Big-Block V8
Transmission3-speed manual[1]
4-speed manual
2-speed Powerglideauto.

The Bel Air received a major redesign for the 1959 model year. The most visual new change was the flat, wing shaped tailfins.[1] The car was built on a 119 in (3,000 mm) wheelbase and was 211 in (5,400 mm) long-which was 11 in (280 mm) longer than the 1957 model. This made Chevrolet the longest car in the low-priced range, whereas two years before it had been the shortest. In addition, the car was 3 in (76 mm) wider outside and had 5 in (130 mm) more width inside than it did in 1958, through the reduction of door thickness. The "X" frame from 1958 was continued, but enlarged and strengthened to support the new body.[26]

The Bel Air, which had been the top line series since 1953, was now the middle range. Wagons were still classed by themselves, but had model numbers matching the car series. Parkwood 6-passenger and Kingswood 9-passenger wagons had Bel Air's model number, and as such were the middle range wagons. Under the hood, little change took place. A variety of speed options, such as fuel injection, special cams and lowered compression, gave horsepower ratings up to 315. Bel Air production was 447,100. The new Impalaline surpassed Bel Air production by 20,000 units. A parking brake warning light was optional.[27]

Little change was made for 1960. The new models were refinements of the 1959 style with a much more restrained front end, the return of the double cone tail lights of 1958 rather than the startling "cat's eyes" of 1959. Under the hood, things remained constant. Fuel injection was no longer available, but with the 348 cubic inch engine, a horsepower rating of 335 at 5800 rpm was now achieved. This involved the use of three double-barrel carburetors, a special cam and an 11.25:1 compression ratio, all sold as a package. Body style offerings followed 1959, with hardtops and sedans available. The convertible was reserved for the Impala series. The Bel Air Sport Sedan continued to use a rear window overhang and a huge wraparound rear window. Bel Airs (and Biscaynes) had two tail lights per side; the Impalas had three tail lights per side—a situation that would persist for most years through 1975. Many of the same options and accessories that were available on the Impala were also available on the Bel Air. The Bel Airs had more interior and exterior brightwork than the Biscayne.

  • The special rear design of a 1959 Bel Air, here a 2-door Sedan

  • 1960 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-door Sedan

Fifth generation (1961–1964)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Fifth generation
1961 Chevrolet Bel Air.jpg

1961 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-Door Sedan

Model years1961–1964
Assembly(main plant)
Flint, Michigan, (Flint Assembly)
(branch assembly)
Arlington, Texas, United States
South Gate, California, (South Gate Assembly)
Baltimore, Maryland, (Baltimore Assembly)
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada (Oshawa Car Assembly)
Body style2-door sedan
2-door Hardtop (1961–62)
4-door sedan
4-door wagon (1962–64)
4-door Hardtop (61)
PlatformGM B platform
RelatedChevrolet Biscayne
Chevrolet Impala
Engine230 cu in (3.8 L) ChevroletI6
235.5 cu in (3.9 L) ChevroletI6
283 cu in (4.6 L) Small-BlockV8
327 cu in (5.4 L) Small-Block V8
348 cu in (5.7 L) Big-Block V8
409 cu in (6.7 L) Big-Block V8
Transmission3-speed manual
4-speed manual
2-speed Powerglideauto.

For 1961, the Bel Air received a new body. Its wheelbase remained 119 in (3,000 mm), but its length was now reduced slightly to 209.3 in (5,320 mm). All engines options of the previous year remained in effect with the standard engines being the 235.5 CID Six of 135 hp (101 kW) or the 283 CID V8 of 170 hp (130 kW). The V8 cost $110 more than the Six and weighed 5 lb (2.3 kg) less.

The Bel Air 2-door sedan used squared-off roof styling and large wrap-around rear window as opposed to the hardtop's swept-back design. The Bel Air 4-door Sport Hardtop still used a different roof line than did the 4-door sedan.

For 1962, all sheet metal except the door panels was changed. Overall length was stretched slightly to 209.6 in (5,320 mm). The 4-door Sport Hardtop was no longer offered in the Bel Air series. Standard engines remained the same as the previous year. A new 327 cu in (5,360 cc) V8 of 250 or 300 hp (220 kW) was offered in addition to the giant (for the time) 409 cu in (6.70 l) V8 of 380 hp (280 kW) or 409 hp (305 kW) with the dual four-barrel carburetor setup. All wagons this year were 4-door models and separate distinctions for wagons were dropped. Now all models were either Biscayne, Bel Air or Impala series. Full carpeting returned as standard equipment on all 1962 Bel Air models for the first time in several years. The Bel Air Sport Coupe was in its last year of U.S. production, and its roofline was a carryover from the 1961 hardtop coupe.

The Bel Air was given a facelift in 1963. Its overall length increased to 210.4 in (5,340 mm). Replacing the older 235 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine as standard equipment was a new 230 cubic-inch six-cylinder of more modern design with a 140-horsepower rating that was based on the 194 cubic-inch six introduced on the compact Chevy II Nova the previous year. The base V8 remained the 283 CID, which was upgraded to produce 195 hp (145 kW). The 409 CID V8 was now offered in 340, 400 and 425 hp (317 kW) versions, while the small block 327 V8 continued with options of 250 and 300 horsepower. The Bel Air continued to be Chevrolet's middle range, but it now consisted of only two car models- the 2-door sedan and the 4-door sedan. 6 and 9-passenger Bel Air station wagons were again offered.

For 1964, very few changes were made except the expected sheet metal and trim renovations. Cars were 209.9 in (5,330 mm) in length while the wagons were 210.8 in (5,350 mm) long. In addition to the un-changed standard engines, there were two different 327 CID engines were offered, developing from 250 hp (190 kW) to 300 hp (220 kW) and three 409 CID engines ranging from 340 hp (250 kW) to 425 hp (317 kW). Except for a chrome belt line and $100 difference in price there was little exterior difference between the Bel Air and Biscayne version.

RHD Bel Airs continued to be imported into Australia. Some of these cars featured a reversed 1961 Pontiac instrument panel, but others had a mirror image of the more attractive current North American panel. Even more curious was the fact that some of these Bel Airs featured Impala-style triple taillights; the center lens was amber in keeping with Australian legal standards.

  • 1961 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-Door Sedan

  • 1964 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-Door Sedan

Sixth generation (1965–1970)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Sixth generation
1965 Chevrolet Bel Air.jpg

1965 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-door Sedan

Model years1965–1970
Assembly(main plant)
Flint, Michigan, (Flint Assembly)
(branch assembly)
Arlington, Texas
Doraville, Georgia, (Doraville Assembly)
South Gate, California, (South Gate Assembly) United States
Baltimore, Maryland, (Baltimore Assembly) United States
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada (Oshawa Car Assembly)
Body style2-door sedan (1965–69)
4-door sedan
4-door wagon (1965–69)
PlatformGM B platform
RelatedChevrolet Biscayne
Chevrolet Impala
Chevrolet Caprice
Engine230 cu in (3.8 L) ChevroletI6
250 cu in (4.1 L) Chevrolet I6
283 cu in (4.6 L) Small-BlockV8
307 cu in (5.0 L) Small-Block V8
327 cu in (5.4 L) Small-Block V8
350 cu in (5.7 L) Small-Block V8
396 cu in (6.5 L) Big-Block V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) Small-Block V8
409 cu in (6.7 L) Big-Block V8
427 cu in (7.0 L) Big-Block V8
Transmission3-speed manual
4-speed manual
2-speed Powerglideauto.
3-speed Turbo Hydramatic auto.

For 1965, the full size Chevrolet was totally restyled, and the cars were stretched to 213.3 in (5,420 mm) overall, even though the wheelbase remained the same. The new stamped grille had a lower extension below the bumper which was slightly veed. Curved window glass and round taillights mounted high characterized the new styling. The interiors were also redesigned and a very attractive dash resulted. The standard V8 remained the 283 CID model of 195 hp (145 kW), but options included two new 396 cu in (6,490 cc) CID engines of 325 hp (242 kW) and 340 hp (250 kW) and two 409 CID blocks of 400 hp (300 kW) and 425 hp (317 kW).

The Bel Air used a stainless-steel belt and rocker molding, identifying signature on the rear fenders, a glove compartment light and power tailgate on 9-passenger wagons to distinguish itself from the lower-priced Biscayne series.

1966 Chevrolet Bel Air Wagon

For 1966, Chevrolet was in its second season of a totally new body change, so mild facelifting sufficed including forward thrusting, blunted front fenders and a revised grille. At the rear, a break with the traditional round taillamps took place. Bel Air and Biscayne featured dual rectangular lamps with back-up lamps built in. Overall length was 213.2 in (5,420 mm). The standard six-cylinder engine this year was the larger 250 CID version of 155 hp (116 kW). New for the speed set was a 427 cu in (7,000 cc) V8 of 390 hp (290 kW) or 425 hp (317 kW). Bel Air was readily distinguishable from Biscayne by its full length body side molding and rear fender Bel Air signatures. All-vinyl interiors were now standard on station wagons while cloth and vinyl trims continued on sedans.

For 1967, full-sized Chevrolets featured a new body with bulging rear fenders, one of this year's styling trends, not necessarily appreciated by everyone. Bel Air 2 and 4-door Sedans continued in addition to 6 and 9-passenger wagons. This year Bel Air featured triple taillights unlike Biscayne's dual units. Standard engines remained the same as the previous year. Optional engines were a 327 CID V8 of 275 hp (205 kW), the 396 CID V8 of 350 hp (260 kW); or the 427 CID V8 of 385 hp (287 kW), plus various speed packages.

1968 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-door Hardtop

For 1968, the Full-sized Chevrolets received some changes but were quite similar to the 1967 models, though they had grown one inch to 214.7 in (5,450 mm). Chevrolet's new grille design bore a strong resemblance to Cadillac's, but Bel Air's dual round taillight design was strictly Chevrolet. In an unusual move, the taillights were mounted in the bumper. In 1968 the U.S. additional safety features were required in all motor vehicles, bringing about a new standard in car safety.[28] These features included shoulder belts for outboard front-seat occupants and side marker lights. Chevrolets with optional V8s got the engine size, in cubic inches, displayed as part of the front side maker lights.

In addition to the 250 CID Six of 155 hp (116 kW), standard engines included the new 307 cu in (5,030 cc) V8 of 200 hp (150 kW). The Bel Air with the standard 250 Six was capable of a top speed of 90 mph (140 km/h) and 18.4 mpg‑US (12.8 L/100 km; 22.1 mpg‑imp) at cruising speeds. When powered by the new 307 CID V8, the Bel Air series cars had a top speed of 105 mph (169 km/h) and 17.1 mpg‑US (13.8 L/100 km; 20.5 mpg‑imp) at cruising speeds.

1969 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-door Sedan

For the 1969 model year, the Bel Air was redesigned, with a new length, new fender and body lines, and a new front and back end, but continued using the basic 1965 chassis, innerbody structure and even the rooflines of pillared two- and four-door sedans. The cars also remained on the 119 in (3,000 mm) wheelbase, but grew to a new length of 219.9 in (5,590 mm), while the wagons grew 4.3 in (110 mm) to a new length of 217.7 Engine offerings included a standard 250 cubic-inch six-cylinder and 235 hp (175 kW) 327 V-8, and optional V-8 engines included two 350s of 255 hp (190 kW) and 300 hp (220 kW), a 396 rated at 265 hp (198 kW) and three 427 V8s of 335 hp (250 kW), 390 hp (290 kW), and 425 hp (317 kW). This was the final year for the Bel Air 2-door sedan and the Bel Air-based station wagon was renamed Townsman, as part of a Chevrolet move to revert to the pre-1962 practice of using different nameplates on station wagons than other models. Three- and four-speed manual transmissions were again offered along with the two-speed Powerglide automatic with the six-cylinder, and 327 and 350 V-8s; and the three-speed Turbo Hydramatic, offered only with the big-block V-8s since its 1965 introduction, was now available with all engines.

For 1970, the Chevrolet line was very little changed and regulated primarily to a redesigned front end. The standard Six was still the 250 of 155 hp (116 kW). The standard V8 in full-size Chevrolets was now the 350 cu in (5,700 cc) of 250 hp (190 kW). Optional V-8 engines included a 300 hp (220 kW) 350 and 265 hp (198 kW) 400, with the top offering a 454 cu in (7,440 cc) of 345 hp (257 kW). The Bel Air series was now a one model 4-door sedan while the station wagon was again sold under the Townsman nameplate.

The 1965-70 GM B platform is the fourth best selling automobile platform in history after the Volkswagen Beetle, Ford Model T and the Lada Riva.

Seventh generation (1971–1975)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Seventh generation
Chevrolet (4935617034).jpg

1975 Chevrolet Bel Air Sedan

Model years1971–1975
Assembly(main plant)
Flint, Michigan, (Flint Assembly)
(branch assembly)
Arlington, Texas
South Gate, California, (South Gate Assembly) United States
Baltimore, Maryland, (Baltimore Assembly) United States
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada (Oshawa Car Assembly)
Body style4-door sedan
2-door coupe
4-door wagon
RelatedChevrolet Biscayne
Chevrolet Impala
Chevrolet Caprice
Engine250 cu in (4.1 L) ChevroletI6
350 cu in (5.7 L) Small-BlockV8
400 cu in (6.6 L) Small-Block V8
454 cu in (7.4 L) Big-Block V8
Transmission3-speed manual (standard, 1971–73 on six-cylinder cars)
3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic auto. (optional 1971–73 on six-cylinder cars; standard on V-8 powered cars from mid-1971 on)
1971 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-Door Sedan in Police trim

By the late 1960s (with the introduction of the Caprice), the Bel Air and its Biscayne stablemate were primarily marketed to automotive fleet customers. However, the Bel Air remained available to retail customers who sought a basic full-sized car that was better trimmed than the low-line Biscayne. When the Biscayne was discontinued after 1972, the Bel Air was demoted to the low-level model. Bel Airs again used two-segmented taillights as opposed to the triple-segmented lights of higher-level Impala and Caprice models, except in 1972 when all models shared the same triple-segmented lights mounted in the bumper.

1972 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-Door Sedan. The 1972 ImpalaSedan shared the same body with the Bel Air Sedan

A 250-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine and three-speed manual transmission with column shift remained standard equipment through the 1973 model year on sedans with the 350 V8 and automatic standard on wagons—the Turbo Hydramatic automatic had been the sole transmission choice on V-8-powered Bel Airs since the spring of 1971 though the old two-speed Powerglide was still offered with the six-cylinder engine through the 1972 model year. Only about 1,400 cars were built with the inline six in 1973. The engine and manual transmission were shelved by the end of the model year—marking the last full-size body-on-frame American car to offer a manual gearbox.

All Bel Air sedans built in 1974–1975 listed a 350 two-barrel V8 engine and Turbo-Hydramatic transmission as standard, with station wagons getting the 400 cu in (6,600 cc) four-barrel V8, again with Turbo-Hydramatic standard. The 400 V8 was optional on sedans and the 454 was available on both models.

With the discontinuation of the Bel Air two-door sedan after the 1969 model year, all U.S.-market Bel Airs sold between 1970 and 1975 were four-door sedans or station wagons—the latter carrying the Townsman nameplate from 1969 to 1972 and Bel Air from 1973 to 1975. However, a Bel Air hardtop coupe—based on the Impala Sport Coupe body—was sold in Canada from 1970 to 1975. This body even had a roofline similar to the original '66-67 Caprice coupe style for 1974–1975.

Most other changes to the Bel Air during its final years were identical to the more expensive Caprice and Impala lines, some of which were mandated by government safety regulations in the U.S. that included 5 mph (8.0 km/h) front bumpers in 1973 and similar-designed rear bumpers in 1974. The 1975 models had a new roofline and (along with the Impala) grille that was a direct copy of the 1974 Caprice front end. Inside, there were new instrument cluster markings, radio and climate control graphics (the speedometer read up to 100 mph (160 km/h), and had smaller numbers for kilometers per hour). Customers could buy their 1975 Bel Air with two new options: an Econominder gauge package (which included a gauge that monitored fuel economy, due in part to growing demands for fuel economy as well as a temperature gauge) and intermittent wipers.

In 1975, Consumer Reports tested a Bel Air four-door sedan with the 350 V8 engine and Turbo Hydramatic against other U.S.-built full-sized cars of that period including the Pontiac Catalina, Ford LTD and Plymouth Gran Fury. Although the car performed well in its tests and placed second to the Pontiac, Consumer Reports pointed out the Bel-Air had less noise insulation and a less-comfortable rear seat than its higher-priced siblings, and that a comparably equipped Chevrolet Impala (with additional sound insulation, and upgraded upholstery and seat padding, a $203 premium over the Bel-Air) "would be even closer to the Pontiac in overall quality." Even so, the magazine stated that—for instance—the Bel-Air was "only slightly noisier than the Pontiac". Consumer Reports concluded in its report that prospective buyers should pay the extra $200 or so to upgrade to the costlier Impala, noting advantages such as greater resale value and interior-exterior appointments more comparable to the other tested full-sized vehicles.[29]

The last Bel Airs for the U.S. were manufactured for 1975. For 1976, a lower-trimmed Impala "S" four-door sedan was a one-year offering which had less standard equipment than regular Impalas and functioned as a replacement for the Bel Air.

Canada-only models[edit]

Bel Air-based Pontiacs[edit]

From 1954 through 1969, GM Canada produced a unique Bel Air-based Pontiac marketed as the Laurentian. While body panels resembled contemporary U.S. Pontiacs, the Canadian Pontiac Laurentian had the chassis, power train, wheelbase, even the interior (except for the instrument panel), of the Chevrolet Bel Air. These models were exported in SKD kit form in factory right hand drive to right hand drive markets, such as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, and locally assembled under the Pontiac marque. All RHD export ceased after 1968 at the behest of GM in the United States.[30]

Early generations (1970–1976)[edit]

While the last Bel Air 2-door sedan was available in the United States in 1969, Chevrolet introduced a Canadian market-only two door hardtop, the Bel Air Sport Coupe, from 1970 to 1975. Based on the Impala Sport Coupe, this new model featured Bel Air trim at a lower price than the Impala. Each year through 1975, this model's body followed the design of the contemporary Impala Sport Coupe. The 4-door sedan and station wagon continued in production, identical to the U.S. models. For 1976, the Canadian Bel Air Coupe featured the same body as the Impala Custom Coupe, with the large fixed rear quarter window and frameless front door glass.

Unlike the United States, all 1976 Canadian full size Chevys (including the Bel Air) came with steel belted radial tires and an electric rear window defroster as standard equipment.

Although the last Bel Air was produced in 1975 in the U.S., the Canadian big Chevy lineup continued to include the Bel Air for 1976 and beyond in two door, four door and station wagon body styles. The U.S. 1976 Impala line included an "S" model line, consisting of a 4-door sedan, to function as the Bel Air's replacement.

Eighth generation (1977–1981)[edit]

Motor vehicle

In Canada, Chevrolet retained the Bel Air as its lowest-priced full-size car through the 1981 model year. For 1977, Canadian Bel Airs received the same downsizing as their Impala/Caprice counterparts in the U.S. Body styles offered during this period were a four-door sedan, two-door coupe and station wagon. Reflecting the smaller size of these downsized big cars was a lineup of generally smaller engines for improved fuel economy with Chevy's 250 cubic-inch six-cylinder reinstated as standard power in sedans for the first time since 1973, with the 140 hp (100 kW) 305 V8 available as an option in sedans and standard on wagons. The 170 hp (130 kW) 350 V8, available in both models, was now the top option as the larger 400 small block and 454 big block V8s were no longer available. Standard equipment on Bel Airs during this period included small hubcaps, cloth-and-vinyl upholstery in sedans or all-vinyl in wagons, cigarette lighter, ashtray, automatic dome light for front doors, full carpeting, Astro Ventilation, Delco Freedom battery, variable-ratio power steering, power front disc brakes and Turbo Hydramatic automatic transmission. Unlike most previous model years and body styles where only two taillights were used per side, the Bel Air shared the Impala's rear end triple-taillight setup.

The 1980 Bel Air along with other full-size Chevrolets, was revised with all-new exterior sheet metal, which helped improve aerodynamics and thus fuel economy; the car was also fitted with a new grille, identical to that of the higher-priced Impala; the rear-end triple-taillight setup also continued to be shared with the Impala. Also that year, the engine lineup was revised with the inline six replaced by a new 3.8-liter or 229 cubic-inch V6 based on the small-block V8 as the base engine in sedans. The new base V8 (standard on wagons, optional on sedans) was a smaller 267 cubic-inch small-block with two-barrel carburetor, while the 305 small-block (optional on all models) got a 15 hp (11 kW) increase to 155 hp (116 kW) thanks to the change from a two-barrel to four-barrel carburetor. The 350 V8 was now restricted to police-option vehicles. Another new option for 1980-81 was the Oldsmobile-built 350 Diesel.

With a dramatic downturn in full-size car sales, the Bel Air was dropped after the 1981 model year, as were a number of other low-trim full size cars in the Canadian market including the Pontiac Laurentian, Mercury Marquis Meteor, and the Ford LTD Custom 500.

2002 concept[edit]

Motor vehicle

In 2002, a concept Bel Air convertible was shown at the North American International Auto Show. It features a few styling and design cues from the best remembered tri-five (1955–57) models, such as the chrome windshield frame, traffic light viewfinder, and a gas filler cap behind the tail light, similar to 1956–1957 Chevy's gas cap behind the chrome trim on the back of the tail fin, but more reminiscent of the 1948–1958 Cadillac gas cap tail light. It also features the same body on frame hydroforming technology (used in the frame rails of the Corvette and GM's midsize sport-utility vehicles) and a sheet metal body, on a 111 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase, and a 65 in (1,700 mm) track. Suspension is short long arm up front and Hotchkiss drive in the rear. It rides on five-spoke aluminum wheels with 18 in (46 cm) red line tires and anti lock discs all-round. The elegant, yet simple interior features a twin-element instrument panel, column-mounted gearshift and bench seats covered in soft high-tech fabrics colored red to match the exterior that are cleverly designed to slide forward for easier backseat entry. It also served as a showcase for their new turbocharged inline five-cylinder concept engine based on the L52 (Vortec 3500), straight-5 truck engine. According to a September 2002 GM press release, the all-aluminum 3.5 L (211 cu in) 20-valve DOHC engine, with a bore of 93.0 mm (3.66 in), and a stroke of 102.0 mm (4.02 in), that delivers up to 315 hp (235 kW) and 315 lb⋅ft (427 N⋅m) of torque, mated to a Hydra-Matic 4L60-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic. A virtual "turbo boost" button on the steering wheel activates the powertrain control module to trigger a more aggressive spark and fueling calibration for maximum horsepower. It also led the 13th Annual Stater Brothers Route 66 Rendezvous as the official vehicle in September 2002. General Motors has shown no interest in producing the car.[32] In 2006, it was spotted stripped down in a GM parking lot.[33]

Drag racing[edit]

Of noteworthy importance is the 1962 Bel Air Sport Coupe, the last year a Bel Air pillarless hardtop was available in the US. This model featured the "bubbletop" roof from 1961 rather than the 1962 Impala Sport Coupe's more upright roof, and was popular with drag racers who ordered the car with the new-for-'61 409 cubic inch "W-block" V8 with up to 409 bhp (305 kW); a special package including aluminum body panels, heater delete, and four-speed manual transmission. A car with this configuration is a valuable collector vehicle that commands a big premium over other 1962 models including the Super Sport.

Australian Bel Airs[edit]

During the 1960s, Bel Air sedans were available in export markets such as Australia, where they featured right-hand drive. Due to Australian regulations requiring amber rear turn signal lamps, these Bel Air sedans featured Impala-style triple taillights during the 1960s. The center lamp was the amber turn signal lamp and the innermost lights were backup lamps. Most of these RHD Bel Airs used a 1961 Pontiac instrument panel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abcdefghijklmFlory, Jr., J. "Kelly" (2008). American Cars, 1946–1959 Every Model Every Year. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN .
  2. ^ ab"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1951_Chevrolet/1951_Chevrolet_Foldout". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  3. ^"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1952_Chevrolet/1952_Chevrolet_Specs". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  4. ^Sixty years of Chevrolet by George H. Dammann
  5. ^"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1953_Chevrolet/1953_Chevrolet_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  6. ^"The Owners Report on the 53 Chevrolet". Popular Mechanics. Hearst Magazines. July 1953. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  7. ^"Gm En Venezuela Y El Mundo - Historia". Gm.com.ve. Archived from the original on 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  8. ^"1956 Chevrolet (U.S.) Bel Air 2-Door Sedan performance data, specs & photo". Automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  9. ^ abGunnell, John A., ed. (1982). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946–1975. krause. ISBN .
  10. ^ abcConsumer Guide Chevrolet 1955–1957. Publications International. 1991. ISBN .
  11. ^"Popular Mechanics". google.com. Hearst Magazines. March 1955.
  12. ^"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1955_Chevrolet/1955_Chevrolet_Prestige_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
  13. ^ ab1634 to 1699: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy ofthe United States: Addenda et Corrigenda(PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700-1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How much is that in real money?: a historical price index for use as a deflator of money values in the economy of the United States(PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  14. ^"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1956_Chevrolet/1956_Chevrolet_Accessories". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
  15. ^Flory, Jr., J. "Kelly" (2008). American Cars, 1946-1959 Every Model Every Year. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN .
  16. ^"1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe 283 V-8 Corvette Ramjet FI 283-HP close-ratio". automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  17. ^Paul Niedermeyer, ed. (June 15, 2016). "1957 Chevrolet Fuel-Injected 283 V8 – Ahead Of Its Time And The Competition". curbsideclassic.com. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  18. ^"1957 Chevrolet Bel Air". myclassicgarage.com. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  19. ^Edsall, Larry (11 December 2014). "What's so special about the '57 Chevy (part 2)". The ClassicCars.com Journal. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  20. ^"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1956_Chevrolet/1956_Chevrolet_Owners_Manual". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  21. ^"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1957_Chevrolet/1957_Chevrolet_Owners_Manual". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  22. ^"Popular Mechanics". Hearst Magazines. January 1958.
  23. ^"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1958_Chevrolet/1958_Chevrolet_Owners_Manual". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  24. ^"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1958_Chevrolet/1958_Chevrolet_Owners_Manual". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  25. ^"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1958_Chevrolet/1958_Chevrolet_Wagons". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  26. ^"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1959_Chevrolet/1959_Chevrolet_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  27. ^"Directory Index: Chevrolet/1959_Chevrolet/1959_Chevrolet_Owners_Manual". oldcarbrochures.com.
  28. ^US Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (January 1, 1968). "Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 - Occupant Crash Protection Passenger Cars".
  29. ^"Full-Sized Sedans: Pontiac, Chevrolet, Plymouth, Ford", Consumer Reports, February 1975, pg. 103
  30. ^"Australian Story".
  31. ^Newbury, Stepehn (2002). The car design yearbook 1. Merrell Publishers Limited. ISBN .
  32. ^2002 GM press release
  33. ^McCausland, Evan (2006-06-08), 2002 Chevrolet Bel Air Concept, retrieved 2021-08-01

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Bel_Air
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