1957 Classic Chevrolet "Sweet, Smooth and Sassy!"

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Today, the 1957 Chevrolet is known as the ultimate "Classic Chevy". All one has to do is mention "57" around a bunch of old car buffs and everyone will immediately identify these two number with the 1957 Chevrolet.

A red 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible was the dream car of every baby boomer in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Almost from the day production ceased, it's been in demand not only as the last of the "Classic Chevy's", but the best. In fact, except for the early Corvette's, the 1957 Chevrolet remains the most collectible car of the 1950s.

The 1957 Chevrolet received major restyling and some important engineering upgrades, including a big boost in horsepower. The new styling was the finest of the 1955-57 "Classic Chevy's". Chevy advertised it's '57 as "Sweet, Smooth and Sassy! Chevy goes one better for '57 with a daring new departure in design (looks longer and lower, and it is!), exclusive new Turboglide automatic transmission with triple turbines, a new V-8 and a bumper crop of new ideas including fuel injection!" said one ad. "You'll love Chevrolet's new light-touch driving! You'll never put hand and foot to a car so quick, smooth and easy to control - a light touch does it, Chevy's solid on the road - and that goes for the way it's put together, too!" said another.

1957 Chevrolet Belair Sport Sedan
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Sedan

The new 1957 Chevrolet was fresher and friskier, from its own special look to its new Ramjet fuel injection. It was the development of fuel injection on the Corvette and the 1957 Chevrolet that prompted Chevy to claim an industry first in that famous ad headline "1 h.p. per cubic inch". In the United States all automobile engineers wanted to achieve the magic milestone of "One horsepower from every cubic inch of engine displacement".

Chevrolet claimed it was the first American production car to achieve this goal, but they were not the first. The Chrysler 300-B with a 354 cubic inch "Hemi" V-8 rated at 355 HP was reported to be the first. Chevy's first "1 h.p. per cubic inch" engine was the 283 cubic inch V-8, with fuel injection, 10.5 to 1 compression ratio and ultra short stroke. Chevrolet offered a "fuelie" on all of its 1957 models, even on the cheaper One-Fifty models.

Chevy's 1957 facelift was carefully detailed for a longer and lower look. Chevrolet switched from 15 to 14 inch wheels reducing overall height slightly. Width and wheelbase went unchanged, but overall length was now 200 inches. The frame was strengthened with new front braces, shocks, control arms, ball joints were revised to match the heavier bodies. Rear springs were again moved a bit further outboard for better handling and stability. Even the front brakes were revised to a heat-resistant linings.

Although Chevrolet engineering changes in 1957 were extensive, styling was even more important to sales and got even more attention. The 1957 Chevrolet was smaller than the competition, the styling was deliberately fashioned to make it look as large as possible and it had the boldest and biggest look among low priced cars. The massive new bumper and grille is just one example. Front fenders were stretched across the top of the head lights and the unique and distinct rear fins, that all 1957 Chevy fans love, helped to make the car look much larger and lower.

1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air Nomad
1957 Chevrolet Belair Nomad

A new ventilation system featuring fresh air intakes in the headlamp eyebrows feeding long concealed ducts to the interior is one of the car's more radical features that helped keep passengers cool on warm days. The new ventilation system allowed the cowl height to be reduced and led to a lower hood. On the hood the center "Hood Bird" ornaments of the 1955 and 1956 Chevrolets were replaced with twin "Hood Rocket's".

A unique feature of the '57. The new bumper and grille was dominated by a thick horizontal bar with a large Chevy crest in the center and small circular parking lamps at each end. This bar was set against a fine mesh background that was gold anodized on the Bel Air's and silver anodized on all other models. The bumper was scooped into a wide "U", then flared up and out into bomb like guards at the grilles farthest point. These guards were normally flat-faced on the Belair, Two Ten and One Fifty, but could be fitted with an optional black rubber tip. The new 1957 front end added up to a fully fresh face, more massive than the 1955 and 1956 Chevrolet, and bearing more than a passing resemblance to Cadillac. Chevy called it "unified bumper and grille styling" in one of their magazine ads.

The rear fenders were reshaped to keep up with the completion and as compared to the 1955 and 1956 Chevrolets. Tail lamps took the form of a half moon at the base of each fin just above the larger rear bumper. At each end of the rear bumper were streamlined oval housings for the optional backup lamps. Directly below were inverted half moons painted black. The 1956 concealed fuel filler returned as a side hinged panel in the driver side fin's vertical edge molding, just above the tail lamp. Along each side of the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air was an anodized aluminum body panel. These panels, the rear fins, front bumper and hood birds make the 1957 Chevrolet a popular choice for old car collectors today.

1957 Chevrolet ad - Smoothest Thing Going....That's Chevrolet!
Magazine Ad Featuring a
1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible
1957 Chevrolet ad - You Will Love Chevrolet's New Light Touch Driving!
Magazine Ad Featuring a
1957 Chevy Belair 2 Door Hardtop
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