1956 Classic Chevrolet "The Hot One's Even Hotter!"

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With the production of Chevrolet's 1956, "The Hot One" got even hotter.

After exciting and revolutionary changes in 1955, fans might have wondered what General Motors and Chevrolet would do for a follow up in the production year 1956.

They should not have worried, for there would be more style, more power and more refinements.

"It's got frisky new power, V8 or 6, to make the going sweeter and the passing safer. It's agile, quick, solid and sure on the road" said one new Chevrolet ad in 1956.

"Nothing without wings climbs like a 1956 Chevrolet! Aim this new Chevrolet up a steep grade and you will see why it's the Pikes Peak record holder" said another.

Anyone familiar with the traditional three-year styling cycle in Detroit knew without a doubt that the 1956 Chevy would be a face lifted version of the 1955. But what surprised many people at the time was the extent of both the face lift and the engineering upgrades. The restyling alone cost GM $40 million, with $1 million spent for restyling the front fenders and grille alone. The 1956 Chevrolet could have been dismissed as a warmed up 1955 but it wasn't. After record breaking sales in 1955 the 1956 Chevrolet did very well because it was visually different from the 1955 Chevrolet. The 1956 Chevrolet had a sharper looking front grille and a little more chrome on the sides. The results was a car that looked more like a Cadillac. Market trends at the time called for bigger cars, brighter cars with more horsepower and better performance. Overall, the 1956 Chevy was clearly busier than the 55, but it was more in tune with the times.
1956 Chevrolet Belair Convertible 1956 Chevrolet Belair Convertible

The 1956 Chevrolet was just what the motoring public wanted and at a low cost. General Motors knew that if a car was to sell well, a car had to look new even if it wasn’t.

Chevy styling was fairly extensively revised for 1956. Specifically, the 1955 Chevy's small grille gave way to a shiny full width latticework incorporating a large square parking lamp under each headlight.

The hood was flatter, four inches longer and was bearing a large Chevy emblem, wide chrome "V" on the V-8 models and a new stylized jet plane hood ornament. There was also a small change to the 1956 chrome front bumper. Front fenders were broader and above the headlamps was a reshaped eyebrow. The front fenders were larger and also restyled.

Along the sides of the 1956 Chevrolet, the wheel openings were rounder and more flared. The L-shaped side trim dressed up the One-Fifty models, allowing them to be ordered with optional two tone body side paint. Two-Tens and Bel Airs had elaborate moldings that gave them bolder two toning.

At the rear of the 1956 Chevy, large chrome plated taillight housings were added. Each housed a round pointed tail light, a rectangular backup lamp and small reflector. Access to the gas tank was through the new tail light housing on the driver side. A larger and brighter chrome back bumper provided the finishing touches.

The width, height and wheelbase stayed virtually the same on the 1956 Chevrolet. However, 2 to 3 inches in overall length was added. Wagons were 200.8 inches and other body styles were 197.5 inches in length. Increased length and with the new side trim, the 1956 Chevy appeared more streamlined.

1956 Chevrolet Bel-Air 4 Door Hardtop 1956 Chevrolet Belair 4 Door Hardtop

Chevy's 1956 lineup was as much in tune with the times as its styling. The three familiar series, Belair, Two-Ten and One Fifty, now extend over 19 models, three more than in 1955.

Other changes were to engines, 10 solid colors and 14 two tone combinations. Included was a new body style, the four door hardtop. It was called the Sport Sedan and was available in both the Two Ten and Bel Air versions.

Advertised as "embodying the youthful lines of a convertible, the practicality of a hardtop and the convenience of a sedan." With wagon sales rising, Chevy switched the Bel Air Beauville from six to nine passenger seating. Nine passenger seating was also available in a Two Ten and increased Chevy's wagon offerings to six. Other models were continued from 1955. Interior space and the basic 1955 instrument panels were not changed that much, but there were the usual new colors and upholstery materials.

Chevrolet planed to keep its remarkable reputation for outstanding performance going strong in 1956 and therefore made several chassis revisions on the 56. Longer coil springs appeared up front for a smother ride and caster angle was increased one degree for easier steering. The rear leaf springs were mounted two inches further outboard for better cornering stability and six leaf springs were offered as an option on all models. These changes were evidently effective, for the 56 Chevy as the ride was reported better by Motor Trend’s magazine.

1956 was a good year for Chevrolet. It was a transition year, while the 1956 models did bring a number of first, it can not compare with the new offerings of the previous year or the succeeding one, as the best was yet to come. With classic Chevrolet collectors focusing their attention principally on the 55 and 57 models, the 1956 Chevrolet is often overlooked. It shouldn't be!

1956 Chevrolet ad - The new 210 2 door sedan with body by Fisher, one of 20 frisky new Chevrolet models!
Mid 1950s Magazine Ad Featuring a
1956 Chevrolet Two Ten 2 Door Sedan
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