(Image of a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air)
The Bel Air became Chevrolet's middle line model through most of it's lifespan. The Bel Air name was first used in 1950 on the Styleline Deluxe Bel Air, which was actually the top of the line Chevrolet, and was Chevrolet's first hardtop car. By 1955, the Bel Air label was used for the mid level line, and the Bel Air became the best selling car that year. These models sold very well, due to their short, clean looks and minimum chrome. Other manufacturers were producing larger cars, that were decked out in chrome. The tail fins were on these Bel Air's, but they were not overextended and made the car look sleek. One of the big selling points of the new bel Air series was the new V8 265 ci Turbo Fire engine. There were minimal changes on the 1956 Bel Air.
1957 brought more changes to the Bel Air, mainly the lower, longer, and wider look due to new tailfins, the change from 15" to 14" wheels, and a larger grille and bumper. The 265 ci V8 was bored out to 283 ci, and was offered in six different versions with horsepower ranging from 185 to 283 horsepower. The 283 horsepower was achieved with the Ramjet fuel injection. and gave the 1957 Bel Air racing status right off the dealers lot.
The Impala became the top option for the 1958 Bel Air, and the Impala became it's own model in 1959. The Bel Air model line was made popular by the 1955, 1956, and 1957 Bel Air's, which today are some of the most collected American classic cars today. These models sold very well, due to their short, clean looks and minimum chrome. Since this site is about "classic cars", we will only be documenting the details of the 1955-1957 Bel Air's, nicknamed the "Hot One".