Chevrolet Bel Air Reviews

1959 Chevrolet Bel Air 2 door sedan 6 cylinder from North America

Year of manufacture1959
First year of ownership1989
Most recent year of ownership1992
Engine and transmission 6 cylinder Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired130000 miles
Most recent distance140000 miles

Summary:

Big fins are its best feature, and it looks good with wide whites or 22's

Faults:

Had a instrument cluster light that blinked on and off like it thought it was a turn signal, only when the headlights were on.

Seat material is weak cloth that tears easily. Also age related too. But had a 57 Bel Air that held up much better and was older.

Everything as far as switches, lights, wipers, heater controls, glove box door, turn signals has a very unreliable and clunky feel to it or doesn't work. Maybe if I had new old stock switches I'd change my tune. Doesn't take away from the dash as a work of art though.

Rust! Age related, but still, be aware that the rear foot wells on these things rust out. Rust is common around the rear license plate and where the trunk floor meets the tail light panel. Also the "C"s on the front fenders by the headlight bucket rust out. Headlight buckets are very rusty on my Bel Air.

General Comments:

Huge Tail Fins!! Love it. I have a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air 2 door sedan. The body is aqua green, with white on the top and fins. It has a 2 tone light Green and aqua green interior. I think it's beautiful, and get a lot of compliments from fellow drivers.

4 wheel drum brakes are difficult to get adjusted properly. So it doesn't stop well and fades quick. I swapped out the front drums for discs.

Windows still roll up and down fine. Door hinges are rock solid on this old car. The hinges look indestructible and makes me laugh when I look at how massive they are. Door handles on the outside and inside feel high quality.

Wipers are weak, radio is weak, turn signal switch is old worn out. Needs nos replacement switches all over the dash and steering column.

Has a floaty ride and leans in the corners too much. I'm American so I'm suppose to like it like that, but I don't. Needs sway bars to make it safer.

Big bat wing fins on the back are its best feature, they are fun. No one is making fins anymore, so I guess I'll have to keep this finned beast running.

The wheel wells on this car can handle a 22 x 10 wheel and tire with no problem. But I prefer skinny wide whites on steel wheels.

I ditched the sluggish 6 cylinder and put in a 348 V8.

I'd recommend this car to an enthusiast, but not to your average guy who hates bad wiring, rust, and crummy switch gear.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th February, 2011

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 2 door sedan 283 power pack 3 speed from North America

Year of manufacture1957
First year of ownership1992
Most recent year of ownership1994
Engine and transmission 283 power pack 3 speed Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Distance when acquired100000 miles
Most recent distance115000 miles

Summary:

Good quality interiors with solid door hinges and hardware, 283 power pack loves to rev!

Faults:

Rear motor mounts broke under hard acceleration (the car was 35 years old at the time)

Needed the brake master cylinder and wheel cylinders replaced.

First gear wasn't synchronized (sucks), so replaced the 3 speed with a Saginaw 4 speed.

283 V8 needed rebuilt, but it ran so good I drove it a year before it had to be done. So pulled motor and did a full rebuild to stock. Ran very good.

Some rust in the rear quarters and lower front fenders otherwise just normal wear.

General Comments:

This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 2 door sedan was faded original salmon pink with a white top. It had a black and silver interior in good original condition. I bought it in 1992, and it had sat in a pole barn for 20 years and had been moth balled, so no major mouse damage. The engine started after cleaning the gas tank. It had the famous power pack 4 barrel carb and it was fast. The engine loved to rev.

I loved the seat materials on this car, very classy and durable. The headliner was still in great shape as well as the carpet. The chrome is nice to look at, but expensive to redo. I just left the chrome alone and enjoyed the car as is. Electrical stuff worked, but seems weak, such as wipers and turn signals. This car's electrical system is original and old, but still works.

I liked the door hinges because they don't wear out, and the quality of the door handles and knobs is excellent.

The 3 speed manual was originally on the column but someone had put in a floor shifter. Coming up to a stop sign, you'd have to wait to come to a complete stop to get it into first. I swapped out the trans with a Saginaw 4 speed, with a much better synchronized first gear. It worked great, and made the car much more fun to drive.

I took my friend for a ride shortly after putting in the Saginaw 4 speed. I power shifted 2nd gear and the car burned rubber, but it also began to misfire. I drove home and had dad look at it. Dad noticed the distributor cap was broken. In fact the distributor was up against the firewall because the rear motor mounts broke, and the only thing holding the engine in the car was the distributor. Ha.

This was our family's 3rd Bel Air. The 1955 was a basket case we bought in 1981 for $500 and never got running. The yellow 57 Bel Air we had in Yuba City, California had dual 4 barrels and a 4 speed, then this pink 57 we bought in 92, but sold in 94. Great cars!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th February, 2011

Average review marks: 6.9 / 10, based on 4 reviews