The star of Chevrolet's lineup in 1950 was a 2-door Hardtop called the "Bel Air." An inspired design, during the ensuing years the Bel Air became a great sales success; it is very sought after today among astute collectors.
By 1953, the Bel Air was Chevrolet's top-of-the-line series, better equipped than the 210 or 150 models. 1953 was also the year Chevy finally introduced a one-piece front windshield and did away with the floor mounted starter button in favor of key starting.
The 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop Coupe presented here, VIN *C530043376*, is one of 99,047 manufactured. Built at the South Gate assembly plant right here in Southern California, it spent all its life in the Golden State and presents itself in excellent, thoroughly restored condition, equipped with a multidude of options.
Let's inspect this fine automobile thoroughly now, starting up front. The toothbrush-clean engine compartment houses Chevy's pre-V8 workhorse, the big, 235 cu.in. Blue Flame 115hp six, here coupled with a 3-speed manual transmission.
Engine and ancillaries have been rebuilt as necessary, a few years ago, and the car has been driven sparingly ever since. The straight six runs as good as it looks: it starts instantly, idles smoothly, and does not display any bad manners, such as smoking or (oil) drinking.
Utmostly elegant with its fully retractable side windows and skirted rear fenders, the Bel Air hardtop convertible sports the utterly desirable original color combo of two-tone Surf Green with a Woodland Green Metallic roof and side trim insert. The finish is in virtually unmarked condition, very smooth and glossy, void of any dings, dents, bubbles or any other blems. Add to this the beautiful chrome and brightwork, refinished at great cost, and the Deluxe metal outside sun visor with chrome trim, another must have period accessory, and even the fussiest collector will be happy with the looks of this amazing survivor.
Every big American car of the Fifties needs a set of wide whitewall tires. Chevy proudly displays its original steel wheels, fitted with polished stainless hub caps and excellent Remmington Cushion-Aire 4-Ply WWW tires of the size G78-15 all around. Check out the optional chrome fender mud guard and the HD front bumper ends.
Let's have a look inside now!
Bel Air's cockpit looks bone stock. Lovingly color-coordinated by GM's design studio, the car features its uncracked, original, ocean liner-sized steering wheel with full chrome horn ring and motif button, dual sun visors, factory gauges (yes, they all work) and--standard on Bel Air models--radio and heater.
We couldn't decide: either this interior is stunningly original, or it must have been refurbished with faithful adherence to originality in mind. Notice handle of the optional, driver's door pillar-mounted spot light.
Rear cloth-and vinyl bench seat. Bel Air was advertised as a full six seater "with added shoulder-level width for '53." Everything is invitingly clean. Perforated headliner, with its chrome bows, looks to be fabulously preserved. Check out the working interior lights.
Nothing spells "Here come the Fifties" like a Continental Kit, a hard-to-find, very expensive option in the day! This one's 100% complete, like new, and fully functional.
Note also the Deluxe towel rack bumper guard,heavy duty bumper ends, and chrome muffler tip with red accent.
Large trunk is lined with xxx. Trunk floor is free of rust. Weatherstripping is in very good to excellent condition throughout the car. Great care has been used to make even the smallest details look good, such as the fiberboard deck lid inserts.
Detail shot of floors shows nothing but healthy sheet metal. Note new muffler. There are no annoying oil leaks from engine, transmission, or rear end.
Are you ready for a test drive? Well, then let's go!
Monday, August 22nd, was another beautiful summer day here in San Buenaventura, and we were looking forward to a leisurely cruise in the Bel Air.
Notice the extra-cost Deluxe front bumper guard and streamline moderne hood ornament in the photo above.
Surprisingly perhaps, the Bel Air is no lumberingly slow dinosaur, but a contemporary performer, feeling equally at home around town and on the open road. Even California's crowded freeways are not a challenge for the Chevy. Abundant torque from its big six means you rarely have to shift. Braking is very good, handling feels secure. Thankfully, the car still features its factory 6-Volt electrical system; all lights and switches work fine.
Our Lady Cruiser was very happy to be behind the wheel of the Bel Air. These early Fifites cars were not weighed down by exaggerated body work and multitudes of electric gadgets; they are reatively lightweight and therefore easy to drive. Nothing's as stylish as an old Bel Air; back in the day, the '53s where rightfully billed as "The Hot Ones!"
Returning home, we can't stop smiling. Driving this immaculate Chevrolet feels like true time travel, back to an era that was fun and carefree. The car performs flawlessly; it could be used with equal pride as a daily driver or Sunday-only show stopper. Classic car insurance is very affordable, spare parts are universally available and, best of all, this vintage Chevy will never go out of style!
Here's a unique opportunity to acquire one of the finest remaining examples of an iconic American automobile, Chevrolet's flagship for 1953. It features the right colors and has been fitted with all the options one could wish for. Why restore a mediocre example when you can own one that's instantly ready to go?
We sold this Chevrolet Bel Air in Fall of 2011 to an enthusiast in Texas.