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By 1953, Chevrolet had actually revamped its lineup completely, and simplified its sedans to 3 designs: a base-level 150; mid-trim 210; and the state-of-the-art 240 Bel Air. The Bel Air was a four-model line and was hugely effective because it cost just a bit more than the base and mid-level trims.
From 1950 through 1954, all Chevrolets, including the Bel Air, boasted a straight 6 under the hood. However it was the introduction of the famous small-block V-8 together with the classically styled 1955 Chevys that made the next 3 years classics. Available as 2- and four-door sedans, coupe and convertible, wagon and even a two-door wagon called the Nomad, these "shoebox Chevys" were extremely effective.
That '57 Chevy boasted bigger and distinctively styled tailfins, a special grille, and a readily available fuel-injected V-8 engine. The light weight and reasonably compact size of the mid-50s Chevys made them favorites among enthusiasts, and are amongst the most sought-after designs by collectors. The 1958 model year boasted huge changes for the Chevy lineup, literally, as the automobiles acquired size and weight.
Chevy also dropped the mathematical classifications, with the Del Ray at the bottom, Biscayne in the middle and Bel Air slotted right listed below the Impala. A substantial restyle in 1959 cast the Bel Air a little more down as the Impala gained in stature and body styles. This was the pattern for the next several years, with the only standout Bel Air the 1962 Sport Coupe, which included a 409 cu.-in.
By the 3rd generation presented in 1966, the Biscayne was at the bottom and the Bel Air in the middle, and in 1969 it became sedan and wagon only when the two-door was dropped. When Chevy redesigned its big sedans in 1971 the Bel Air was at the bottom rung, and the name was dropped entirely when 55 chevy pictures chose to call all of its huge sedans Impala in 1976.
Metal Glass (Product) Chromium Vinyl Fabric Rubber (Material) Salmon (Color) Gray (Color) Black (Color) 3 in (Stroke) 3.75 in (Bore) 60.5 in 74 in 115 in 195.6 in 3165 pounds Rear side panels: Bel Air On front dash, passenger side: Bel Air Make & Design: 1955 Chevrolet hardtop Maker: General Motors Corporation, Detroit, Michigan Engine: V-8, overhead valves, 265 cubic inches Transmission: 3-speed manual Height: 60.5 inches Wheelbase: 115 inches Width: 74 inches Overall length: 195.5 inches Weight: 3165 pounds Horse power: 162 at 4400 revolutions per minute Pounds per horse power: 19.5 Cost: $2,166 Typical 1955 wage: $4,128 each year Time you 'd work to purchase this cars and truck: about 6 months.
I have a feeling that this will be one of the more questionable Meh Car Mondays I've done, however I believe it's one that has to take place. Uncommonly for Meh Automobile Monday, I'm going to be focusing on a vehicle with not simply a considerable following, however one that is arguably an actual vehicle icon.
It's the 1955-1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. Everyone, everybody, calm down! I can hear you. You're mad. You're specific that all of those posters with Bel Airs in front of 1950s restaurants just can't be lying to uswe have laws to avoid that sort of thing, don't we?Is it even legal to make t-shirts covered in meh vehicles? It can't be ideal? All those old cars and truck collectors can't be incorrect? Can they?Of course they can.
It's bad. It's just sort of ... there. And I preserve, in the context of mid-to-late 1950s American cars and trucks, the Chevrolet Bel Air was truly simply a meh vehicle. Sure, the Bel Air handled to do something unheard of in mehcardom, and that's to in some way defy its inherent mehness to end up being something more.
All of its primary design characteristics were things other automobiles had too, and were middle-of-the-road examples of them. It had a huge, eggcrate grille (full width by 1956), huge chrome bumpers, two-tone paint, modest tailfins, and all the heavy chrome fashion jewelry of the period. There's nothing actually striking or standout about its style, and as such it's typically close to the vague picture of what people think of when they hear "1950s cars and truck," generally in turquoise-and-white.
Sure, a small number got engines with an early fuel-injection system, and the power numbers on some of the V8 options were reputable, everything was played very, very safe and no engineering dangers or innovations were taken. It was, truly, simply fine. Commercials of the period were hyperbolic as all '50s advertisements were, like this one where a man's ghost is chewed out about the "sassy" efficiency and the "timeless charm" of the '57 Chevy, in addition to the guarantee of "genuine chrome:" These Chevys from the era were definitely on par with the lower-end offerings from the other big American carmakers, Ford or Chrysler or Nash or any of them, but it's puzzling regarding why and how these Chevys in some way got their renowned status and not, state, a 1955-1957 Ford or Nash.
The ease of access and ubiquity of Bel Airs made them easy to restore and keep going, and communities of owners grew, and on and on, which simply made for a self-sustaining feedback loop. These Bel Airs were decent, if normally unremarkable American cars and trucks of the 1950s, however they were an excellent value and did their job well.
Bel Airs at an automobile show today have ended up being clichs; can anyone keep in mind the last time they were really delighted to see a brought back Bel Air? Sure, the two-door wagons are clever, and any well-preserved automobile from that long back has some interest, however it says a lot when a classic automobile elicits a yawn.
Possibly this really isn't the car's fault itself, it's because of a specific laziness of humanity. Something works, it's unchallenging however enticing, so, what's the harm in doing it once again? And once again, and once again, and again. There's other iconic vehicles with huge followings that appear over and over again, obviously, like Mustangs or Corvettes, or air-cooled Volkswagens, however I think those cars and trucks, and even other vehicles with considerable followings, all have a little bit more going on with them to justify their getting away the meh trap due to sheer direct exposure that the Bel Air simply never had, ever.
But the Bel Air has actually somehow managed to go even beyond something that's just a great starter traditional and has fallen off into a void of full of overbearing custom, obviousness, those, and, let's face it, boredom. The Bel Air was decent vehicle, standard and possibly relatively uncreative, but driven down the dull meh blandway to the parking lot of Meh's Diner, looking like a shining chrome suppository sprinkled with neon, by the knowledgeable but incurious hands of so numerous Bel Air-smitten individuals, each doing the very same thing to the same cars and trucks, and revealing them in the same method, frequently at the very same time, in the exact same place.