February 2011 Feature Car
I bought my first ’57 Bel Air in 2004, a 2-door Sedan. It was somewhat of a “Resto-Mod” style Tri Five. The color was the original Sierra Gold/Adobe Beige with a Chevy 350 Fuel Injected motor mated to a 700R-4 transmission with power steering/brakes, A/C, and Torque Thrust Wheels. It was a real fun car and I never had any problems with it. I kept it a few years and then, for some reason I sold it to guy in California.. I made some money on the sale, but I found myself missing my ’57.
So I started looking again and I found an all original ’57 in South Carolina. It was a pretty car with the wide whitewalls and a beautiful Colonial Cream paint job. Under the hood was the 283 “Power Pack” motor with a PowerGlide transmission, dual exhaust, and some minor options. However the car had been sitting up for some time before I got it and the gas turned to jelly and the fuel system needed repair. I had the repairs done and decided it left a bad taste in my mouth and decided to sell it. Once again, I made a little money but once again I was missing my ’57!
A few months had passed and I started my search again. This time I had my eyes set on a convertible. There is just something about a ’57 convertible!!! I found a gentleman selling one in Michigan so I had an inspector make the trip to view the car. The report was A+ and it was a documented car from a Barrett-Jackson auction from a few years back. It was a beautiful Tropical Turquoise with a white rag top -just immaculate!!! It looked just like club member Dean Schmidt’s car; except it was a convertible and completely original. And speaking of Dean’s car, that is one sweet ride! I kept the convertible for a few years, but being an original ’57, it had its “quirks”. The original PowerGlide tranny liked to “burp” every so often, and there would be a mess underneath to clean. But the fun part – it was a convertible, and I had to “drop the top” and cruise! It was a lot of fun. And the family loved it. It certainly brought a lot of attention. However, dropping a ’57 top is not as easy as 1-2-3, especially a power top. You must take the time to do it right so that you don’t get any rips or creases. I was always nervous about putting the top down, and for good reason. The last time I put it down it “pinched” just a little and a tear started. Needless to say, I was MAD! Not sure who or what I was upset with, but I was disgusted; such a beautiful car, now with a tear. Eventually I sold the car to another gentleman in California. I told him about the tear and he didn’t have a problem with it. Once again, I made some money selling the car but again I had no ’57!
I was determined to find THE ’57 for me. I finally found it down in Waco, a fully restored resto-rod ’57 2-door hardtop. I changed the wheels and the suspension a little and there isn’t too much original with this car. It is a beautiful color, Viper Red and has a Chevy ZZ4 crate motor with a 700R-4 tranny and a “Saturday Night Special” shift kit that goes with a 4.10 rear end, power steering/brakes, A/C, leather interior and more chrome than you can shake a stick at! I have FINALLY found the ’57 for me! It will be displayed in this year’s Dallas Autorama at the DACC club display.
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