1956 Chevrolet Bel Air

1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe
This 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe
shows off the popular hardtop body style.

The 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air was the first of many Chevrolets to receive a face-lift. This gave Chevrolets a more conventional full-width grille, pleasing those customers who didn't favor the Ferrari-inspired '55 front end.

Distinctive two-tone bodyside treatments on Bel Airs imparted a look of motion -- even when standing still. Graceful front and rear wheel openings completed the "speedline" restyling. Single housings incorporated the taillight, stoplight, and backup light, and the left one held the gas filler -- an idea popularized on Cadillacs.

Among the seven Bel Air models was a new Sport Sedan, a pillarless four-door hardtop that looked handsome with all the windows rolled down and allowed easy entry into the back seat. Production exceeded 103,000, compared to 128,000 two-door hardtops.

Shapely two-door Nomad wagons topped the price chart at $2,608, but now carried the same interior and rear-wheel sheetmetal as other Bel Airs, lacking the original's unique trim. Only 7,886 were built. The least costly Bel Air, at $2,025, was the two-door sedan.

Seatbelts, shoulder harnesses, and a padded dashboard were available, and full-size cars could even get the hot Corvette 225-horsepower engine.

In September of 1955, Chevrolet engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, driving a disguised '56 Bel Air four-door sedan, set an American Stock Sedan record for the 12.5-mile ascent up Pike's Peak.

1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
The 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible
sold well despite the popularity of hardtops.

1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Bel Air

3,187-3,506

$2,025-$2,608

669,064


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