My 1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible - Dual Quad

Antique Auto Club of America (AACA) awards include Junior, Senior, Preservation, Grand National second place, as well as National Award Winner of the prestigious Hershey Chocolate Town Trophy.

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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible - Dual Quad

Chevy Bel Air Convertible - Dual Quad

Acquired from the prestigious Ron Pratt collection this stunning example of late ’50s automotive art now rests comfortably on it laurels in the Ken Nagel private collection.

Assembled in St. Louis, Mo in March of 1957 fitted with the “evergreen” 283 ci/245 Hp V8 engine built February 21, 1956 in Tonawanda, NY, sporting twin Carter 4 barrel carburetors capable of feeding about 760 cfm, topped with the famous “batwing” air cleaner, Power Glide transmission, Posi Traction rear end, then sprayed glossy Matador Red with a red interior with silver seat inserts, this car was indeed sparkling from the very beginning.

For 1957 Chevrolet made a whopping 47,562 Bel Air convertibles.  By all accounts the car was an immediate success becoming an instant classic and the iconic image of ‘50s era cars.  For well over 50 years the ’57 Chevy has occupied the lofty status as the standard bearer of what the perfect ’50 automobile embodies.  Because of the very high production figures and enormous popularity thousands of examples, in a wide variety of condition we might ad, remain alive and well and are frequently seen at local cruise nights, shows and elegant concours events across the country, never failing to draw admiring onlookers.  So, how does one car manage to rise above all the rest to distinguish itself and become a nationally recognized example of the best of the best?

After undergoing a frame off concours quality restoration done by Dave Klingele for Darry Schnelle of Ursa, Illinois that brought this matching numbers car back to the moment it rolled on to the showroom floor the car traveled to 11 states where it was shown to the public at some of the most prestigious venues in the classic car world. 

The result is perhaps one of the most decorated ’57 Dual Quad Convertibles in the country.  The list of awards is truly impressive and confirms that this car without a doubt belongs on a very short list of the “best in existence”. 

  • Antique Auto Club of America (AACA) awards include Junior, Senior, Preservation, Grand National second place, as well as National Award Winner of the prestigious Hershey Chocolate Town Trophy.
  • Honored by the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA) with Junior, Senior, Preservation awards and ultimately scoring 997 points out of 1000 in concours judging.
  • Classic Chevy International (CCI) Platinum Winner
  • Chevy-Vette Fest Gold Spinner Award.

This beautiful classic Chevrolet convertible is correct in every way including the original Dual Quad carbureted 283 engine. It is equipped with over 30 GM options most notable and rarely ever found are the clever Vacuum Ash Tray that is powered by intake manifold vacuum and a Remington Electric Shaver!  It is easy to understand why Ken’s classic Dual Quad Bel Air convertible is considered to be one of the best in the country.

 

The ’57 Bel Air convertible was the showcase for Chevrolet’s styling and performance leadership. The Bel Air struck just the right chords with the public, who loved the basic car’s modern design and wide range of appearance, convenience and engine options.  What's hard to believe is that Ford out sold Chevrolets back then by 170,000 units.

 

The ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air embodies the best of fifties-era American automotive styling. Its form and details are symbols of an automotive golden age. Though based on the 1955 and 1956 “shoe box” cars, on the outside the Bel Air was distinguished with more chrome and featured a golden grille set off with a heavy chrome bar that included parking lights. Riding new 14-inch rubber, Chevrolets stood 2.5 inches longer and 1.5 inches lower than previous models. Twin lance-shaped windsplits down the hood substituted for the customary hood ornament. The rear fins were capped with chrome moldings and highlighted with anodized aluminum side trim panels. The fuel-filler door was concealed in the left rear chrome fin trim, a small but convenient detail that helped clean up exterior lines. 

 

The Bel Air was called by some a "baby Cadillac" partly because of the cost and partly because of the many similar styling cues to the Cadillac’s of the time.  A basic Bel Air convertible started out at $ 2,511.  But after loading it up with an endless list of “must have” options the out the door cost soared to $ 4,142, just $ 555 less than a Cadillac.  Among the styling features Chevy copied was Cadillac’s method of exiting the exhaust thru openings in the rear bumper.  That feature, however, was abandoned because of the exhaust residue that formed on the bumper leaving the Chevy bumper with two blacked out vestigial exhaust ports.

 

The basic Chevrolet small-block V-8 design has remained in continuous production since its debut in 1955, longer than any other mass-produced engine in the world.  In all, over 90,000,000 small-blocks have been built in carbureted and fuel injected forms since 1955.  Production of the original small-block began with a displacement of 265 cu in (4.3 L), growing incrementally over time until reaching 400 cu in (6.6 L) in 1970. Several intermediate displacements appeared over the years, such as the 283 cu in (4.6 L) that was available with mechanical fuel injection and twin four barrels capable of feeding about 760 cfm, the 327 cu in (5.4 L) (5.3L), as well as the numerous 350 cu in (5.7 L) versions. Introduced as a performance engine in 1967, the 350 went on to be employed in both high- and low-output variants across the entire Chevrolet product line.  Finally superseded by GM's Generation II LT and Generation III LS V8s in the 1990s and discontinued in 2003, the engine is still made by a GM subsidiary in Mexico as an aftermarket replacement.

 

1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible- Dual Quad

MATCHING NUMBERS!!!
Bel Air 2434
V-8 2400 Series
103,108th car assembled in the St. Louis plant
Estimated to have been assembled the 3rd week of March, 1957
Style: 57-1067DTX
Body: L20127
Paint: 802A Matador Red
Trim: 683
Top: Black
ACC: EZI Glass

Engine: 283 Cubic Inch 245 Horse Power with 2x4 BBL Carb

T 2 2I FD (2-4S) Tonawanda, NY

Built February 21, 1956

Carbs: #6-1299 Carter WCFB, #2626S (front),

#2627S (rear) Built December 27, 1956

with Choke and Bat Wing Air Cleaner

Heads: #3740997
Differential: 3.36:1 Posi Mfd. Detroit Gear & Axel
Radiator: 56 L R03 3136158 Harrison
Transmission: 1956 Nov V8 Power Glide
Distributor: #1110891 6 M 27

Generator: #1102041 7 A 8

30 AMP with PS January 8, 1957

Options:

Power Steering
Power Brakes
Full Hubcaps with Spinners
Fender Skirts with Rock Guards
Finger Nail Guard Doorhandles
Kleenex Dispenser
Lower Trunk Molding
Gold Trim Including License Plate
Rocker Panel Molding
Floor Mats
Clock
PB Radio
Vacuum Ash Tray (Very Rare)
Traffic Light Viewer
Trunk Light
Underhood Light
Continential Kit
Deluxe Heater
Outside Mirrors (Left & Right)
Day / Night Mirror
Backup Lights
EZI Glass
Front Bumper Gaurds
Remington Electric Shaver (Very Rare)
Compass
Third Note Horn
Autotronic Eye
   

AWARDS:

Antique Auto Club of America (AACA):
AACA Junir #W12806 - 6/9/01 - Rochester, MN
AACA Senior - 8/25/01 - Northglenn, CO
AACA Preservation - 6/29/02 - Cedar Rapids, IA
AACA Preservation - 8/24/02 - Torrance, CA
AACA Preservation - 11/1/02 - Bew Bern, NC

AACA National Award Winner - 2/3/03 - Philadelphia, PA

(Hershey Chocolate Town Trophy)

 
Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA):
VCCA Junior - 6/29/01 - St. Louis, MO
VCCA Senior - 8/3/01 - Middeltown, OH
VCCA Preservation - 6/20/02 - Janesville, WI
Scored 997 out of 1000 at VCCA
 
Classic Chevy International (CCI):
CCI Platinum Winner - 2/8/03 - Kissimmee, FL
Chevy - Vette Fest - 4/06 - Gold Spinner Award