1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible was,
and is, a highly coveted automobile.

When the 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air arrived, Chevrolet enjoyed an all-new image practically overnight. Rather than a car driven mainly by dads and aunts, the sensationally redesigned "Motoramic" models quickly gained a reputation as "The Hot Ones."

In this landmark year, Chevy finally had a bold response to Ford in the performance battle: a lively 265 cubic inch V-8 that would nurture a whole generation of muscular engines. Better yet, that V-8 was slipped into a fresh, contemporary body sporting a rakish beltline dip and a Ferrari-inspired grille.

Chief engineer Edward N. Cole earned credit for Chevrolet's first V-8 in 35 years. Simple in construction and economical to build, the 265 cubic inch Turbo-Fire was a model of efficiency.

Instead of common rocker shafts, for instance, the short-stroke V-8 used independent rocker arms, each retained by a fulcrum ball and lock nut. That meant less reciprocating weight and greater rev potential. In basic trim, the V-8 delivered 162 horsepower, but an optional Plus-Power Package with dual exhausts hiked output to 180 horsepower.

"Try this for sighs," said the sales brochure of the Bel Air's color-coordinated interior. Even a sedan, it continued, "looks as young as you feel behind the wheel." Half a dozen Bel Air body styles went on sale, topped by a glamorous convertible and sleek hardtop Sport Coupe.

Whatever the body style, ads called Bel Air a "blue-ribbon beauty that's stealing the thunder from the high-priced cars." Sales leader was the four-door sedan, with over 345,000 built. A new Bel Air Beauville four-door station wagon ended the season with triple the sales of a comparable '54 wagon.

Those who liked their Bel Airs loaded could order everything from Touch-Down overdrive and Air Temp air conditioning to power steering and brakes, electric windows, Continental kit, and a power seat. A convertible paced the Indianapolis 500 race, piloted by general manager Thomas H. Keating, and a gold-trimmed hardtop rolled off the line as the 50-millionth car built by General Motors.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Wagon
The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Wagon
sold triple the units of its Ford counterpart.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Bel Air

3,140-3,370

$1,888-$2,262

764,852


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