Vintage automobile enthusiasts are usually fans of the big, loud and curvy cars of yesteryear, with one of the most revered being the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air.
The Chevrolet brand we all know and love once wasn’t quite as revered, and was actually the cheapest of all of the General Motors subsidiaries. Although Chevrolet once came last behind Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and of course, Cadillac, many of those former powerhouse brands have since been retired thanks to unsustainable production methods and sales figures. Ironically, it’s Chevrolet that still stands.
Formally known as the Chevrolet Division of General Motors, the ‘Chevy’ brand as we know it was originally founded in 1911 by Louis Chevrolet, and none other than William C. Durant. For the uninitiated, Durant was actually the original founder of General Motors – that is, before he was unceremoniously ousted from the board. Durant went on to use the Chevrolet Motor Car Company to acquire a controlling stake in General Motors with a reverse merger, propelling himself back into the General Motors presidency in 1918. However, Durant was only ‘back in the driver’s seat’ for one short year, before being ousted again in 1919.
Marketed as “a car for every purse and purpose”, the Chevrolet brand went on to become the volume leader in the General Motors diverse family of automobile subsidiaries, selling mainstream vehicles designed to compete with the likes of the Ford Motor Company. The strategy worked, and Chevrolet went on to overtake Ford as America’s best selling car brand in 1929.
The Origins Of The 1957 Chevy Bel Air
When World War II was over, the world rejoiced. Thanks to rapid economic growth, the birth rate boomed. Life was good, and American pop culture in the 1950’s was regarded as big – think big hair, big skirts, big colours, and big cars, with one of the most iconic models being the Chevy Bel Air vehicles that quickly dominated this era.
The early Chevy Bel Air models quickly became a cultural phenomenon across the United States – the ‘American Dream’ now included a Chevy Bel Air to match the modern split level suburban homes and TV dinners.
However, right alongside Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, it’s the 1957 Chevy Bel Air that is regarded as one of the most revered icons of the decade. While the models remained roomy, with tastefully restrained, period use tail fins and chrome, the engines were in a league of their own.
A revolutionary Ramjet Fuel Injection system was the ultimate V8 performance option on all ’57 Chevys and Corvettes, but even the regular 265 and 283-cubic-inch V8 engines delivered performance that put Chevy at the head of the class in 1957. Up front, jet aircraft-inspired intake pods contained the headlamps, and a new integral bumper/grille assembly served up a new level of elegance. Gold-toned hood and trunk ‘vee’s (on V8 models), and front-fender ornamentation added to the ‘big-car’ style that was red hot for it’s time.
Chevrolets have undoubtedly remained a cultural icon, and are one of the leading models for car lovers around the world to commemorate a bygone era. It should come as no surprise that as a brand, they still command adoration and respect from both classic and modern car lovers alike.
Thanks to its youthful style, easily hot-rodded V8 and rugged dependability, the 1957 Chevy Bel Air quickly became one of the most sought-after used cars in history – but where do you find one?
Your Guide To Everything Classic Cars
Finding a fellow vintage auto enthusiast can feel a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, but rest assured that Classic’s Garage understands the thrill more than most. Having spent forty years collecting anything and everything from matchbox cars to hub caps, he’s successfully followed his passion to source, collect and stock beautiful and low mileage classic automobiles from around the world. With extensive experience in the automotive industry, it was only a matter of time before Wayne expanded on his love of vintage, iconic vehicles to share his knowledge and passion with the public.
Although his passion is for automobiles built before 1978, with a particular love for Buicks, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Oldsmobiles and even Fords, Wayne is just as passionate about the stories of the owners. Just like the cars, he has found that his fellow classic car enthusiasts all have wildly different attractions and logic behind their passion or hobby, and this often translates into how the car is presented. If it’s even remotely different, rare or just plain unusual, Wayne will overcome the relevant logistical and geographical challenges of bringing the cars to his showroom in Australia.
Classic’s Garage is a showroom conveniently located at Seventeen Mile Rocks, that specialises in the restoration and sales of vintage automobiles. In fact, he’s even got a fully restored 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air in his collection right now. If you’re on the hunt for Brisbane classic cars – quite simply, Wayne is your man. If you would like to arrange a viewing or inspect any other of our classic vehicles, please get in touch with us today.