Derby Champ: ’57 Chevy Bel Air 283/220 hp
The ’57 is an automobile icon probably without peer. Its tail fins aim skyward, like battleship guns. It is as American as Donald Trump. Now its success was not only based on styling, it was also the first year for the venerable 283 V-8. This engine came in lots of flavors all the way up to fuelies. But buyers shied away from that new technology wary of mechanics’ ability to keep them running. Carbs were king back in the day. Now the engine sat pretty far back in the chassis resulting in a pretty good handling car. It proved itself on the track too, eventually being relegated to lesser race circuits by sanctioning bodies. It was also the king of the demolition derby mainly because the radiator sat protected so far back from the bumper and grille-work. That ignominious title cost us a lot of decent cars to choose from today. Now we aren’t generally big on ’57s mainly because they are usually all decked out in red paint, wide whites and Continental kits. Not our taste. But then we saw this one and thought James Dean would look right at home in this bad boy. Ah, the power of black steelies. Even more special is this car is an all original survivor with nice equipment and documentation. It is also a 2-door hardtop, 220 hp engine with a 3-Speed manual and that makes it just about perfect. But it isn’t perfect and that is understandable for a car that has had use, been in storage and recently recommissioned. We forgive the little bit of rust on the front fender (hope that’s all) and some wear in the the interior. This car will not be inexpensive. Hagerty has a perfect one with similar equipment valued at $75,000 to $87,000. But this is an original car so it will be interesting to see where it ends up. It is an eBay auction with decent pictures. Have a look by clicking here.