I’ve always wondered.
Wonderful clean but artful styling for the times. Nice performance. Sturdy and reliable. And very popular back in the 50s/60s with the girls. Or so goes my memory.
What’s not to like?
It was the first fastest commonest car, it had a 283 engine, which was a hot engine in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.
Plus, it was very common because a lot of them were sold, thus it was also pretty cheap once it got to be 4 or 5 years old so lots of us kids bought used ones. Mine cost not more than $400. The cool kids owned and drove 57 Chevys.
Chevy sold a bunch of 55’s, but most of those were 6 cylinder, and the v8’s in 1955 were slow. 55 Chevys were mostly owned by girls and nerds. 56 Chevys didnt sell very well, there were not many 56 Chevys around. 58 Chevys were not too common either, and the 58 Chevys were too long, too heavy, and too big. The 58 Chevy with the same engine (283) as the 57 would lose in a race.
The Fords could not beat the 57 Chevy, the Fords were low class, and mostly the greasers and flunkies drove Fords.
The Dodges were for old people, Dodges/Chryslers, and the people who drove them, were just plain wierd, they had the transmission selection as a dashboard push button. You had to push a button on the left dashboard to put the car in drive, or in reverse, whatever.
Amazing how in just a few short years with the advent of the true musclecar, that impression of those cars was gone. Until the 1970’s of course. Everyone drove an “old man” car then, if you were driving American.
Chrysler had the respected 300 series, but they were fairly high-end cars - not just for old folks, but rich sporty old folks.
Then there were Pontiacs, Oldses and Buicks, which basically spent the mid-to-late 50s getting more and more oversized and overdecorated.
Also the chevy engine took a nice load and still lasted with hard driving. Add a set of lake pipes nice look and nise sound. I still think they are way better than any muscle car.
There’s a collecting “wisdom,” too - over time, certain vintages for collectible / desirable stuff become branded as the good ones, even if years before or after can be just as good. It becomes a Rule of Thumb that noobs grab onto as a sign of goodness. 1959 is the magic year for Gibson Les Pauls, even though '58’s and some 60’s shared the same characteristics. A '59 may command tens of thousands of dollars more than a similar '58 or '60 simply because it is a '59…
Look at the '57 Chevy and the '57 Ford side by side. Or the 'Vette and the T-Bird. There’s just no comparison. Chevy had the best body designers in the business creating machines that captured the eye and the heart.
Yeah. Late 50’s Chevys are valued because they were the precursors of the truly fabulous vehicles that came after - the Corvair!
(At least so sayeth this proud owner of a 62 Monza coupe!)
I don’t have the exact numbers with me but the total production run for all Chevy models that year, excluding trucks, was something like 1½ million.
My friend Bob the British Car Nut’s wife, who drives a TR-6 on her daily commute, once decided that she wanted a '57 Chevy. Bob found one in the want ads and I tagged along when they went to test drive it.
Bob and I waited at the guy’s place as she and he disappeared around the corner; they come back half an hour later and she gets out; it’s obvious that she’s not going to buy the car. The reason came out on the ride home.
“What a barge!” she said, with a disgusted face,“What a barge!”
Didn’t the TR-6 have Lucas electronics? Lucas, “The Prince of Darkness” as the company was fondly known by people that tried to drive British cars. At least, with the '57 Chevy, you could drive it at night without constant fear that the entire electric system might mysteriously quit on you.
I owned a brand new 1966 Corvair, red convertible white top with air conditioning, it was a fabulous car, it had excellent handling, small and easy to drive and park, and it had perky pickup for a small engine car. It was cute too. The Corvair was one of the best cars I ever owned.
Yeah I think the Chevys were prettier, and sleeker, they also were more dependable and had less brake downs, they were easy to fix (ever see how much room is under that hood?), cheap to fix since most used parts from 55 or 56 chevys at the local junk yard would fit. As someone else said, they sounded good.
Because the 57 Chevy was so popular back then, the same people who had them then, now want to re-buy them .
It had nothing to do with “collecting”…and nothing to do with “time”.
The 57 Chevy looked cool back then before “collecting” was a word.
We liked them then, we ALWAYS liked them. The 57 Chevy ALWAYS looked like a cool car. The 57 Chevy was born as a popular desireable car.
I dont know much about Chryslers/Dodges, because only parents had them, just like the Nash and the Willys, they were for old people.
The Pontiacs, olds, and buicks were parents cars, us kids couldnt afford them, and besides, the Chevy with the Chevy name tag was really the same car as a pontiac. We would easily buy a 57 Chevy for $400, but nobody(none of us kids) wanted to spend $600 for a Pontiac or buick which was no faster than a Chevy.
It would not make any sense to pay an extra $200 for an old persons car when we could buy the cool Chevy cheaper.
(I remember our Sheriff had a black 58 Chevy patrol car until 1964 - it was very fast, I dont know what engine he had but it was NOT a standard 283) .
Gotta agree with this. I graduated in '65 and it was a cool ride then.
Proof positive, if proof were needed, that collecting is as much or more a fetish as it is a passion.
Of course, there’s also the financial incentive - at least until something prices itself out of most people’s reach. This happens - notably when Japanese get into the market. They actually invest prestige in overpaying, because talking about what things cost is not a taboo in their culture.
Well on the Bel-Air the clean sweep of the hard top roof, without the usual post between the front and rear side windows, is absolutely classic. It’s about the only hard top I can think of that that looks as good as most convertibles.
Excellent handling? Ralph Nadar was absolutely right. The thing would roll over at 26 mph. The suspension was inherently flawed. I owned one so I should be prejudiced in favor of the Corvair but the truth is the truth. Thankfully, I survived it.
The suspension could have been redesigned and the design could have been saved. Then the son of Cal Verner, general manager of the Cadillac Division, was killed in a Corvair. GM pulled the plug.