Nowadays when cars slowly turn from the true meaning of cars to just, means of transportation, maybe it’s time to stop take a deep breath and look back to a ’57 classic Chevrolet to remind ourselves about the true meaning of class and personality.
Widely known as the ultimate Chevrolet, the ’57 Bel Air was the top leader in every boy’s mind back then. It’s enough to whisper the number 57 around some classic car buffs to get them jumping up and down about the many characteristics a ’57 Chevy had. From the day that it ceased production and till now, it is considered as the last and the best of the classic Chevys surpassing even the early Corvettes. That’s why now it is one of the most hunted collectible cars of the ‘50s.
The 1957 model came with a whole lot of upgrades in engineering (including a new powerful engine that boosted horsepower) and it has been almost completely redesigned. The new bodywork and style was the smoothest and most beautiful of all ’55-’57 Chevrolets. A major change in design was the fact that they made it lower and longer. As part of the engineering upgrade, the turboglide automatic transmission combined with a set of triple turbines made it a lot more stable than most of the cars, while the new and improved V8 engine with fuel injection made it stronger and more menacing than ever.
It was so much fresher and “the cool new toy”, starting with its unique look and beautiful design, and heading to the Ramjet technologically improved fuel injection. This very technology made the headlines as the only cars with “1 horsepower / cubic inch”, which was a dream come true for Chevrolet as every car manufacturer desired this ultimate performance in engine engineering.
The facelift process was very carefully executed to realize their goal of making the Chevy look longer and lower. The switch from 15 inch wheel to 14 managed to reduce the overall height considerably. The wheelbase remained untouched, so did the width but now the car was 200 inches long. Several upgrades were added to the frame to improve its strength and stability. The front braces alongside with the shocks and control arms were redesigned to be compatible with heavier bodies. The rear suspension was modified by moving the springs further outboard which resulted in increased handling and car stability on the road. The front brakes have been improved with heat absorbing linings which enabled the car to brake faster and, the brakes themselves gained resilience.
Despite the considerable technological improvements added to the car, back then people were most interested in styling, not putting that much price on performance, so that’s what the Chevrolet engineers went for. The ’57 Chevy was smaller than other cars in the same class, so that’s why the whole styling process focused on making the car as big and as bold as possible. The massive bumper and big grille were only a few elements changed for this purpose. Front fenders have been stretched all the way to the beginning on the car, as for the rear fenders were shaped up in rear fins which were, and still are, loved by Chevrolet fans. These elements made the car look a lot bigger and lower than it really was.
New ventilation system alongside with air intakes situated in the headlamp going through hidden ducts all the way to the interior, were only a few of the unusual features that kept the passengers cool on hot days. Which made the car even hotter.