1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air

If this was the 1990’s, instead of 2013, I’d be giving you a long article “ho-humming” the shit out of the little Chevy shoe-box. If you’re a younger reader then you wouldn’t understand, but for those of us who remember that time, it was the equivalent to what you see now with 60’s muscle cars. The generation that grew up with, or aspired to own 1950’s steel happened to be the ones with the buying power at the time. A 1971 Chevelle, Gran Sport, Lemans or Cutlass wasn’t an expensive car then. They were about as viable as say, a late 4th gen F-body is now, or a Fox body Mustang was 5-10 years ago. If you opened an issue of Super Chevy Magazine, you were liable to get your eyes overcome with Bel-Airs replete with loud paint, tweed interiors, lots of billet nonsense, and a TPI motor.

Thankfully for this Chevy Bel-Air, it doesn’t succumb to any of that nonsense of the past. It’s a nice clean example of a cool cruiser. As far as this model of cars go, the ’55 happens to be my favorite, styling wise. It has the short grill up front (which was apparently unpopular at the time) and the bodywork is subtle compared to the big fins and huge side chrome on the rock-and-roll 1957’s. 1955 was also the first year for the now ubiquitous small block Chevy V8 powerplant. In the Bel-Air it displaced 265 cubic inches and was rated at 180hp. It’s no rip-snorting ’55 324 Olds, but the small block Chevy’s smart design and insect-like infestation into other GM brands in the mid 70’s ensured it would be the V8 to survive the longest. As far as the design of the Bel-Air, it’s generations came and went like pop songs and by 1958 it was a new design, only to be used for a year and redesigned again in 1959.