Last week’s grandmamobile ’54 Plymouth Savoy scored an even 50/50 tie among you, which proves…that…some people…like…flowers. Yeah. Today’s ’57 (yes, ‘57) Chevrolet Bel Air Wagon has a higher asking price than that floral flier, but a much lower 0-60 time. Will its sleeping performance swap and murdered finish sway you toward Buy, or will its rust and customization (rustomization?) seal the deal at Pass?
The 1957 Chevy Bel Air is an American icon, right up there with the St. Louis Arch and deep-fried butter. So very few are customized as heavily as today’s example, and when you find one that’s even presentable, it usually trades for significantly more salt than $11,500, the Buy It Now price that the Alpharetta, Georgia seller has posted.
This particular copy is even more unique, because it’s a two-door wagon, or shooting brake, if you’re trying to boost your vocabulary. And that means it’s one pair of slanted B-pillars away from the Nomad, that famous longroof, crushed on Home Improvement and named for a type of civilization whose members never stop moving.
Which must have been the inspiration for this project. You see, though the Bel Air came with an option for a 283 ci/hp Super Turbo Fire V8, that didn’t quite cut the mustard for someone, who decided to drop a 488 Stroker between the frame rails and clocked it to 700 hp. So though this is supported by a 9” Ford rear end that will only you going, stopping is another matter, since this black beauty still sports unassisted drum brakes all around, which may have warranted the caveat that “This is a wild ride that should only be driven by an experienced driver.” Perhaps they should have added “with a herculean left calf.”
The good news for that calf, however, is that it will keep busy, since this blazin’ Bel Air packs a four-speed Muncie manual on a dog leg. That averages to 175 hp per gear, but period authenticity matters, right?
Outside, the matte charcoal paint looks fresh, but the chrome does not. And on the inside, everything’s not okay. The upholstery looks to have once served aboard a Seattle tug boat, so water-stained is its poor cloth, and if that’s not water, well, moving on… The dash appears to have lost a few marbles along the way, and the chrome needs an update here, too. But worse still is the rust, which has infected the wheel wells and floor pans with vigor.
At $11,500, this example runs a little cheaper than most Bel Air Wagons, but isn’t quite ready for that Concours next month, either. Speak your mind, now. Does its underhood insanity make up for its oxidized shortcomings, or would you prefer if this shooting brake obeyed its drum brakes and just rolled on by?
Vote in the comments!