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1956 Custom Chevy Bel Air

1956 Custom Chevy Bel Air (Cars)

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Chevrolet Bel Air

The Chevrolet Bel Air is a full-size automobile that was produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1950–1975 model years. From 1950–1952, Hardtops in Chevrolet's Deluxe Styleline model range were designated with the Bel Air name, but it was not a distinct series of its own until the 1953 (65 years ago) model year. Bel Air production continued in Canada for its home market only through the 1981 (37 years ago) model year.

History 1955–1957

In 1955 (63 years ago), Chevrolets gained a V8 engine option. The new 265 cubic-inch V8 featured a modern, overhead valve high-compression, short stroke design that was so good that it remained in production in various forms, for many decades. The base V8 had a two-barrel carburetor and was rated at 162 horsepower (121 kW), and the "Power Pack" option featured a four-barrel carburetor and other upgrades, yielding 180 brake horsepower (130 kW). Later in the year, a "Super Power Pack" option added high-compression and a further 15 brake horsepower (11 kW). That year, Chevrolet's full-size model received new styling that earned it the "Hot One" designation by enthusiasts. Unlike Ford and Plymouth, Chevrolet's styling was considered crisp and clean. Bel Airs came with features found on cars in the lower models ranges plus interior carpet, chrome headliner bands on hardtops, chrome spears on front fenders, chrome window moldings, and full wheel covers. Models were further distinguished by the Bel Air name script in gold lettering. 1956 (62 years ago) saw the introduction of the pillarless four-door model, called Sport Sedan and available in both Bel Air and Two-Ten models. Engine displacement grew to 283 cubic inches (4,638 cc) in 1957 (61 years ago), with the "Super Turbo Fire V8" option producing 283 horsepower (211 kW) with the help of continuous fuel injection. These so-called "fuelie" cars are quite rare, since most Bel Airs were fitted with carburetion.

The 1955-1957 Bel Air is among the most recognizable American cars of all time; well-maintained examples (especially Sport Coupes and Convertibles) are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. They are roomy, fuel-efficient, with tastefully restrained, period use tail fins and chrome. From 1955–57, production of the two-door Nomad station wagon was assigned to the Bel Air series, although its body and trim were unique to that model. Prior to becoming a regular production model, the Nomad first appeared as a Corvette-based concept vehicle in 1954 (64 years ago). Chevrolet has since unveiled two concept cars bearing the Nomad name, most recently in 1999 (19 years ago). The 1955-1957 Chevrolets are commonly referred to as TriFives.


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