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Chevrolet Bel Air

1953 Chevrolet 150 Special and 210 Deluxe

With the new 1953 Chevrolet 150 Special and 1953 Chevrolet 210 Deluxe, words like "Startlingly New!" and "Wonderfully Different!" rang true amidst the usual advertising hype.

1953 Chevrolet Two-Ten
The 1953 Chevrolet Two-Ten offered
sharp looks at less cost than the Bel Air.

Structurally, the cars largely carried on the 1949-52 design, but new squared-off, rounded-edge bodies provided a rather different look. They also served as an evolutionary link to the forthcoming mid-Fifties shape.

Among other changes, a one-piece curved windshield replaced the prior twin-pane setup. Totally fresh front-end styling, Chevrolet insisted, "accentuates the appearance of power and fleetness."

Trunk openings were larger, and shoulder room greater, so each model could hold "six big people without crowding." Inside, the driver now started the engine with the ignition key, which replaced the short-lived pushbutton.

Chevrolet issued a total of 16 models in three series: bare-bones One-Fifty, mid-range Two-Ten, and upmarket Bel Air. Two-Tens could look nearly as sharp as Bel Airs, especially when two-toned, while the One-Fifty series exhibited a bargain-basement demeanor -- right down to its bare rubber windshield moldings and virtual lack of body trim.

All Chevrolets now carried 235.5 cubic inch engines, but again, models equipped with Power-glide got more power: a new 115-horsepower Blue Flame six with hydraulic lifters and 7.5:1 compression. Manual-shift cars held a Thrift-King six-cylinder engine, delivering 108 horsepower on 7.1:1 compression. Both had full-pressure lubrication.

Powerglide gained a new automatic starting range for true two-speed operation, making it better able to deliver the promised "breath-taking acceleration from a standing start" as well as swift pickup for passing. Both Two-Tens and Bel Airs could get Powerglide for $178 extra.

Power steering was newly optional on all models, but it cost exactly as much as automatic -- one reason why it took a while to gain acceptance. As the model year ended, Chevrolet had moved more than 1.3 million cars, but its lead over Ford was narrowing.

1953 Chevrolet Two-Ten
The 1953 Chevrolet Two-Ten four door
was the year's best-selling Chevrolet.

1953 Chevrolet 150 Special and 210 Deluxe Facts


Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

150 Special




210 DeLuxe




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