1964 Chevrolet Bel Air Bel Air 230 CID L6 from Germany


A classic off the trodden paths


Radiator leakage.

Engine oil pan leakage.

Valve cover leakage.

Water pump leakage.

Transmission oil pan leakage.

Differential case leakage.

Worn carburetor.

Exhaust system rustout.

Worn front suspension components.

Worn front and rear brakes.

Some rustout on the body.

General Comments:

Okay, that's a pretty long list of things that didn't work properly when I bought the car in March. However, it's an unrestored 57-year-old car with unknown mileage and who knows how many previous owners, so what can you expect?

When I spotted the ad for an unusually cheap Bel Air, I just couldn't resist checking the car out, knowing full well that, unless it turned out to be a complete wreck, I'd probably buy it. Why? Sentimental reasons. When I was a three-year-old kid, my parents got their very first car, a 1964 Chevrolet Impala four-door sedan. My new '64 Bel Air is a four-door, too, so it's pretty much the same car. Suddenly, I'm a child again.

Anyway, in spite of its various issues, which are being resolved now, the Chevy drove me home from the Netherlands to Germany without any problems and made me smile all along the way.

It's a pretty plain model with the standard inline six of 230 cubic inches or 3.8 liters, respectively, of engine displacement and 140 gross horsepower (120 net), combined with Chevy's indestructible Powerglide two-speed automatic. Incidentally, I owned a 1966 Chevy Chevelle with the same engine/trans combination back in the 1980s and I loved it.

Also incidentally, both cars were assembled at the GM Continental plant in Antwerp, Belgium, for the European market. Prior to the 1970s, GM and other US manufacturers would ship CKD (completely knocked down) kits to foreign countries for export and have the vehicles assembled on location in order to save money on import tariffs. But I digress.

My 230/PG Chevelle was not exactly a racer, so the same engine in the bigger and heavier Bel Air obviously won't cut it at a stoplight Grand Prix, but who cares? Not me, that's for sure.

One of the previous owners swapped the original Rochester single-barrel carb for a (leaky) Holley two-barrel and a non-original intake manifold. These modifications are being reversed because I prefer authenticity in a classic car.

Since the Chevy is being brought back to life as I'm writing this, I can't really say much about the car's dependability yet, but if it's half as good as the Chevelle's was way back when I'll be a happy camper.

I'll fill in more details in the upcoming months.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th October, 2021

8th Oct 2021, 11:31

It was not that long ago that a bare-bones 4-door sedan with a six cylinder, like this '64 BelAir, would have been considered nothing more than a parts car, or even worse, demolition derby fodder. Now... they are not that much cheaper to buy than much more desirable models/body styles... go figure.

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


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


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