There’s no getting around it, Tri-Five Chevrolets are a mainstay in the collector car world whether you like it or not. Matching numbers restorations and mega-dollar resto-mods of 1955, 1956 and 1957 Chevrolets seem to command the most cash on the auction block, and this1955 Bel Air falls somewhere in the beginning stages of the latter, sort of… This unrestored and rusty Chevy has its likely original Synchromesh three on the tree now connected to a recently rebuilt 307 V8 from 1970. With that transplant this car surely offers excellent cruising capabilities, assuming it does run, drive and stop. With only 5,000 miles on the motor, does this $12,500 Craigslist find out of Louisville, Kentucky, make you want to do the Tri-Five jive?
So not to bore you with what you already know, let’s just hit the basics. Chevrolet introduced an all new body style for their vehicles in 1955, finally catching on that Ford’s “Shoebox” design was cooler than fat fenders. With it, Chevy also offered a small block (265 cubic inch) V8 option for the first time. Sedans, coupes, wagons and sedan deliveries were available in trim levels 150 and 210. The highest priced coupes and sedans, as well as convertibles and the Nomad wagons, were badged as a Bel Air, making this offering top of the line. When 1955 Chevrolets hit the market they were hot, hot, hot, and they haven’t cooled down yet.
This example seems like it’d make a great driver. According to the seller it has numerous new parts that help it go and stop. You’ll find a new battery, gas tank, brakes, brake lines wheel cylinders, and a master cylinder on this fine ’55. To top it off, they’ve outfitted it with some fresh white walls wrapped around red steelies. It does seem to need a decent cleaning on the interior, but that shouldn’t stop you from hitting the streets.
it’d be unsurprising to see this Bel Air get snagged up and built into something with a $100K asking price a few years down the road, but in the condition it’s in, why not just drive it? Having a collector car, especially one as sought after as this, that you can cruise in without worrying about scratching is fairly rare. Although a bit of rust repair in the rockers may be necessary, clear coat and coast get this vote, what about yours?