Motor City

30 July 2016

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Lot 137

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 'Fuel-Injected' Convertible

  • Chassis no. VC57L173489

$120,000 - $150,000

250 hp, 283 cu. in. OHV V-8 with Rochester Ramjet fuel injection, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, independent front suspension with upper and lower wishbones and coil springs, live rear axle with leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115 in.

  • Highly optioned example; presented in desirable Lakespur Blue
  • Equipped with the fuel-injected engine and Powerglide transmission
  • Arguably one of the most iconic of all Fifties convertibles

“Sweet, Smooth, and Sassy! Going places in a glamorous new way,” was how Chevrolet described its new 1957 models. Ad copy went on to say, “goes ’em all one better—with exciting new looks . . . zippy new power . . . luxurious new interiors.”

The “zippy new power” was perhaps the biggest news in the form of a larger-displacement 283-cubic inch V-8 engine in six variations, offering anywhere from 185 to 283 horsepower and available in any Chevrolet. Variations included traditional two- and four-barrel carbureted versions, dual four-barrel systems with either hydraulic or solid valve lifters, and a first-ever fuel-injected version. Chevrolet proudly proclaimed its Rochester Ramjet fuel-injection as the “most far-reaching engine improvement in the entire industry.” Noted by the crossed flags emblem on the front fenders, the high-priced option vastly improved engine performance and foretold the future as fuel-injection gradually became commonplace and ultimately, a standard feature on all automobiles.

While cleverly using essentially the same car underneath as its 1955 and 1956 models, styling was updated with a new look, front and rear. Bel Air models received a trendy gold anodized grille and “Bel Air” bodyside script. Hoods were decorated with wind-split ornaments in place of a traditional single ornament, and “Dagmar” bumper guards mimicked those on pricey Cadillacs. At the rear were true tail fins—the only vertical tail fin to appear on a Chevrolet. The public agreed, too, as total model year production reached 1,515,177 units, of which 702,220 were Bel Air models, including 47,562 convertibles. Despite being America’s low-price leader, nearly half of all Chevrolets sold were top-of-the-line models.

Painted in Lakespur Blue with a matching interior and white convertible top, the ’57 Chevy continues to be one of the icons of Fifties collectibles, and this dashing example is no exception. Despite relatively high production numbers, the Bel Air convertibles are among the most collectible of Chevrolets.

This Bel Air has been used sparingly and has never been shown while in the possession of the consigner for the last 10 years. It previously resided in the noted collection of Tom Price and has traveled less than 1,000 miles since its restoration by a previous owner. It is described by the consigner as an older concours, nut-and-bolt, high-quality restoration, with mechanical freshening in 2015, and it is said to be ready to show and cruise. It is lavishly equipped with options, including power steering, power seat, power windows, and power top; rear fender skirts, dual rear antennas, radio, tissue dispenser, and the Powerglide automatic transmission mated to a 250-horsepower “fuelie” V-8—all of which add to the desirability of this great example of Chevy’s ’57 convertible.

This is, quite simply, one of the most iconic American automobiles of its generation, in its ultimate “fuelie” form.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more