The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air's V-8 engine could go from 0-60 mph in
under ten seconds. See more pictures of classic convertibles.
Of course, there were plenty of reasons to like the '57 Chevys. Though styling was only another facelift of '55, it looked great: longer-lower-wider thanks to prominent new tailfins, a switch from 15- to 14-inch wheels, and a big new bumper/grille. Ribbed rear-fender appliqués readily identified top-line Bel Airs, including the $2511 convertible.
Far more exciting, Chevy's 265 V-8 was punched out to 283 cubic inches and offered in no fewer than six versions with 185 to 283 horsepower. The latter came from newly optional Ramjet fuel injection, which made for near racing-level performance right off the showroom floor. Chevrolet advertised it as the first American production car to achieve the magic goal of "one horsepower from every cubic inch of engine displacement," though the Chrysler 300B's optional engine actually beat it by one year. Even a four-barrel 270-bhp model could run 0-60 mph in well under 10 seconds.
The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air produced racing performance right off the
But perhaps the main reason for the '57s' enduring mystique is that they were the last of the "Hot Ones," arguably the most attractive and roadable Chevys of the decade. As the song says, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
For more classic convertibles of the 1950s, see:
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