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History did any of you older guys remember how cool ,57 Chevys were in the '60s?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by philo426, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. philo426
    Joined: Sep 20, 2007
    Posts: 2,064


    I bet if you told a guy in 67 that someday a 57 Belair Conv with fuel injecton would be worth 50 k someday in the future he would say you were crazy.
  2. Tri-5s were just old beaters in the 60s. Willys, Anglias, and Austins ruled the drag strip, pony cars like Mustangs, Comets, Camaros, Chevelles, GTOs, Challengers, & Chargers were blowing our minds on the street. Why fool with rusty old, poor handling beaters with 283 engines and PoweGlides when you could drive a 327, 396, 390, 383, 440, 426, or 427 rocket?
  3. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole

    Popular Hot Rodding started their Project X 57 Chev build in 1967, to answer the question of whether it was still possible to build a car to compete with the new muscle cars, or whether you should just go buy a GTO, Road Runner or Mustang like everybody else. They called it Project X because the car was 10 years old at the time.

    So, a lot of people were already writing off the 57 Chev and traditional hot rodding.
  4. joe clotfelter
    Joined: Apr 8, 2016
    Posts: 58

    joe clotfelter

    well I was born in 1950 grew up in socal saw it all did most of it. and if you want to trade places with me I am game
  5. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 11,148

    from Zoar, Ohio

    Because back during those times the 18-20 yr olds were working for gas money to take their 55-57 on the strip.
    They couldnt afford those high powered engines. We are talking early to mid 60s here.
  6. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,700


    RaginPin - Grab up some 80's ish Chevy trucks. V8,strong aftermarket support. The trucks are at rock bottom prices now. Because they are everywhere. One day we're going to look around and they'll be pulling in the $
    In the 80's, tri fives all of a sudden dried up and the values rose quickly.
  7. I lived in a smal town in northern Oregon 'till 62. As an 8th grader I remember a lot of 54-56 fords but I can only remember one 55 chevy and no 57s......we moved to central Oregon in 63 and there were probably 3, 55-57 chevs to one 54-57 ford. I drove a 55 ford but lusted for a red and white 57 chevy 2 door wagon on the local used car lot. My sister's boyfriend bought it and yanked the 235.3 speed O.D. and fitted a 270 HP, 283 and a T-10 4 speed.
    A guy named obie had a bronze and cream 57 bel air hardtop with a 283, P.G. and this thing had every option available in 57 including power seat, windows and even autotronic eye dimmer!
    In 69 I bought a 55 hardtop for $125....... a few years later I bought a 57 bel air hardtop, 283/4 speed and had it painted bright canary yellow. Swapped a $300 GTO for it. I bought an identical car as a parts car for $25...
    Just an illustration of what that stuff sold for back then.............we thought they'd never run out.
    My 57.........
    In high school [63-66] we also had a fellow student who's dad owned a successful store and the kid had a killer 57 two-ten sedan with custom maroon paint and a hotrod 283/4 speed with cragar SS's and a factory chevy fuel injection unit. Never got to see how hard it ran but it sounded fast.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
    chevy57dude and lothiandon1940 like this.
  8. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,700


    X when it had a little wilder paint job. PHR's testbed getting a set of traditional disc brakes! IMG_20160628_193830760.jpg
  9. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,700


    Rocky - how did the 8'' wheels ever fit in the rear?
  10. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,403


    Always liked them-bought this one in76--sold last year-redid it twice-wife ran it in the early 80's too MVC-001S.JPG MVC-004F.JPG MVC-005F.JPG MVC-007F.JPG
  11. Boatmark
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 307


    I have always pulled my dad's chain over using up and selling off a bunch of cars I would now kill for - New Ford's in 49', 53' and 55'. The first two base models, the 55' a loaded up red Fairlane he bought to celebrate graduating from Air Force pilot training. A wife and impending fatherhood meant a stripper four door 58' Ford was next, and then a horse trade with his mother in law sent the Ford down the road, and replaced it with her 57" Chevy Belair. (the gap between the 49' and 53' Ford's was a $15.00 40' Studebaker coupe - the budget got tight mid-college!)

    His excuse now? They were just car's. "In sixty two the Chevy was a used up used car - I sold it for fifty bucks to a kid where I bought gas, and bought your Mom the Beetle." (!!) Dad was a factory rep for a carpet manufacturer covering two states. He goes on to say "The company gave us an allowance to replace our company wagon's every 40k miles, but we ordered what we wanted local. I'd flip an extra couple of hundred to the dealer to order whatever was the largest motor available - my wagons with big motors and steep gears were much faster than that Chevy ever was."

    Not sure I wouldn't like to have one of those sleeper wagon as much as the two doors.
  12. i.rant
    Joined: Nov 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,389

    1. 1940 Ford

    In 63/64 my high school parking lot was loaded with tri five Chevys mixed with some 58-60 Chevs and a bunch of 56 Fords.
    By early 65 most were gone and replaced with factory muscle as me and a lot of my friends bought GTO's, Chevelles, Mopars and a few 442's. We were not college bound so by late 65 or early 66 many of those same cars were now for sale with few buyers as vacations to Southeast Asia were now the norm.
    Upon returning it seems there were very few 57's on the streets until the 80's when the icons started reappearing, and now everywhere again.
    I'd love to have a nice post 57.:)
  13. My brother bought a black with red interior 65 mustang 289 4 speed. It got rear ended and the other guy paid him twice what the car cost him. He still owe $150 at the bank. He was gonna let the bank have it back. I paid off the bank and beat and bonded until it looked presentable. Put on a F4B edelbrock high rise intake carter AFB carb & dual glasspacks . drove the crap out of it for 6 months. dropped a intake valve and ruined the engine. Sold the 4 speed for $75. traded the body for a 64 impala 283 stick in the floor. 4 door rusty a could be. engine knocked when warmed up. Traded it for a set of snap on tools. that was in 68. My science teacher wanted to sell a 55 two door she drove to college. She wanted $85. I looked at it. she had wrecked it and had a different color front fender. 235 stick rode and drove nice. clean inside almost new battery. Really good tires. And I passed $85 was too much money for a 13 year old 6 cyl car. I made a $1 per hour working part time patching heaps for a Honest John? car dealer. I normally drove a $35 car. I bought a 56 four door yellow and black. 235 three on the tree. Pretty good except the heater core was bad and fogged the windsheld. Paid $35 and it had a brand new Western Auto battery. Battery was named The Strong Box. Has Japanese or Chinese lettering on it? Any way It was to me a 4 door parts car. I sold the engine for $40. installed the trans in my 63 chevy PK. In the 80,s I sold the body to the crusher. I still have the 370 rear chunk. The speedometer and radio assemblys and the radiator are in my 55 2 dr wagon. We where indeed lucky to have been born in the USA and partook in the car culture we had. We where blissfully unaware that we where indeed living in the Good old Days. We never had to worry about drugs or fatal venereal diseases . All we wanted was a full tank of gas a few beers and a pretty girl to take to the drive in and cruse whatever place was happening. Take your date home on Saturday night. Beginning in 68 Around here about midnite we all showed up at the Eleven Point River bridge. Its out on HWY 62. 1/4 mile long concrete and pretty wide. Street raced until about three AM. The police never bothered us. The state cop would park his squad car at the birdell store. And someone would go get him and he sat in a parked vehicle and spectated. And I never knew of any wrecks. There where even cars trailered to that street drags. That all ended suddenly with the fake gas shortage and 55 MPH speed limit.
  14. Yes lots of times a guy that was leaving for the army would let someone have his car for taking over the payments.
    C. John Stutzer likes this.
  15. 39 Ford
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,558

    39 Ford

    In the day my crowd did not think they were anything special, my friend had a red bel air hardtop we overhauled a junkyard 283 and used a 3 speed o
    Overdrive trans. Drove it from NJ to Kew West crushing at 75-80.
    He drove it for10 years and sold it.
    We liked our 39-40 Fordcoupes much better.
    Very few 57s could catch us. They were not flathead powered of course.
    Had my 39 for 50 years now
  16. There where only two 57,s that I remember being at the school in the 60,s . A guy we called big Jim drove a really nice 57 4 Dt htp. His parents drove a 56 4 door sedan. The school owned a 57 2 door plane jane. crappy white paint job. I think it might been a army surplus. The Principal had a 55 four door. no back seat. He was a avid quail hunter and hauled his bird dogs in the back seat area. Never washed or cleaned it. smelled like dog poop. There where three 55 a guy named conners had a white 55 htp. A guy named lewellen had a 55 2 dr sedan. and A drag racer named graham whose father owned a used car lot had a 327 powered 2 dr sedan. He drove it when it wasn't broken. And he still has it. There was a 56 2 dr that was owned by a older guy He was nicknamed Moe Hunn? It had a 375 Hp 327 four speed and 308 gears. A guy named Palmer drove a tri five also. Usually a different one a time went on. you usually couldn't tell what years they was. They where stock car,s beat up so bad it was hard to determine. Many old chevys and fords met their end at the local stock car track. It was almost demolition derby going around in a circle. For a fund raiser the Agri boys bought a 55 chevy and let folks hit it with a sledge hammer for 50 cents. Called it a car bash!
    low budget likes this.
  17. My dad bought a brand new 64 ranchero and sometimes I was able to con him out of it for the saturday night drags in Bend, Oregon. He didn't know about the racing. It was a 260/4 speed car and I'd race those 55 chevys all night, hoping to win just once! The 283/4 speed chevys gave me fits...I could get 'em off the line and hold 'em off till the top of 2nd gear when it was all over. The short stroke 260 couldn't hold off the hotrod 283s. The guys with 327s [rare] would always say they were running 283s or even 265s but I became an expert by knowing where they'd pass me and how fast they were going when doing it....
  18. I bought mine in 65 for $200 with a barely running 283 Powerglide in light blue and white top
    During the summer of '65 I put in a 327 with 3 speed, new front and rear springs, new paint, SW rear wheels, black wheels, baby moons, blackwall big and little 14" tires. Great car for a few years, added T-10 4 speed, Mallory ignition, and other minor changes. It ran in the 14 second range. It was still a good car when I sold it in 1973 for only 200 because I needed a washer and dryer for new home and kids. I wish I could have kept it. It was always a cool car.
    i.rant likes this.
  19. True. I had a classmate, Calvin Plunk, who drove a beater '55 Chevy all thru high school. Had no front floorboard, passenger sat on an orange crate and it had an enormous rake stance achieved by shoving 2x4s between the rear axle and frame. Last semester of our senior year he traded it for a dark metallic green '67 390 Mustang fastback.

    This discussion begs the question; Chevys weren't the only cars sold in the 50s. You see Tri-5s all over the place in every town it seems. Where are the '50s Dodges, Pontiacs, Fords, etc.? They surely didn't crush every one of them. Really rare to se one driving around.
  20. philo426
    Joined: Sep 20, 2007
    Posts: 2,064


    I hear that they rusted really badly so bad thst the frames broke!
  21. Trivia: About 10 years ago or so, the state of Washington department of licensing had an e-mail address you could send free form questions to. So... I asked them how many registered '55-'57 cars (not trucks, but included corvettes) were registered in the state of WA. The answer at that time was 4,600+.

  22. In 67 I do not recall a single 57 on the street in my area. There were 2 brothers that had a 55 or 56 they drove to my high school that year, but after that, it was built up for street racing and no longer their daily ride.

    I personally had a 64 Tempest that I popped a 421 into, and most kids were driving 3-5 year old muscle cars or muscle-car wannabees (decals and wheels).

    There also were no roadsters - except on the street a couple of 1 piece T bucket/turtle back bodies mounted on a mish-mash of chassis.

    This part of Michigan, things rusted fast, and summer was short.

    Even into the 70s, you might likely see a 57 on the roundy-round tracks, they were popular in Sportsman Class IIRC.

    55, 56, 57 and especially 58 liked to get rust "eyebrows" around the rear wheel openings - same with Ponchos and Olsmobubbles of that time frame.

    I do not know where you guys are finding Chebbies with good rear metal - must be a special/sekrit stash.
  23. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,998

    from DFW USA


    My dad worked at a car crushing outfit in Abilene, TX in the early '70s. His boss told him one day, "Hey, give me ten bucks." That was a pretty good bit of money at the time, but he dug in his pocket and handed it to him anyway. His boss then said, "You just bought that." And pointed to a baby blue '57 Bel Air convertible with a continental kit.

    It had been in a mild accident so one of the fenders was messed up. That wasn't a hard part to find. There were several other '57 Chevys in the yard that were destined to be scrapped.

    Later that same day, he saw those blue fins and continental kit go into the mouth of a crusher being run by another guy. :eek: Fortunately his boss felt bad and gave him his ten bucks back.
  24. I wasn't around then, but pops had many stories. He turned 16 in 1959. His first car was a 55 BelAir hardtop. 265, 3 speed. He said it was more than enough to shut down 90% of the stuff on the street, save for the real hot stuff. He told me everybody sold their flatheads and started buying small block Chevys to put in their rods. He said the 57 283 cars were monsters, especially once guys started hopping them up. He said the fuelie cars made this jingling sound, so you knew not to mess with them. He sold his 55 to my uncle, and bought a 58 Vette in 59 or 60 with dual quads and a 3 speed, and put some work into it. Hurt a lot of feelings around Wilmington, Delaware with that car. He sold the 58 and bought a 59 with a base 283 and a glide in 61, and painted it to match his 58 so nobody would mess with him, thinking it was his old 58. The was a great scene around here back then. Lots of big names and fast cars came out of the area. He said by that time, the tri-fives were either used cars for kids and housewives, or were getting chopped up to go racing. He said once the W motor Chevys and Hemi Chryslers hit the streets, nobody wanted a tri-five anymore. The muscle car era basically killed them until the seventies or so, when everything was garbage, but you could get a cheap Chevy with a real V8 in it still that you could hot rod, and destroy everything coming out of Detroit.
    Joined: May 5, 2015
    Posts: 1,052


    Ever since 1968, I have had a 1957 Chevy. Most were pretty tame (standard equip with headers, alum intake, maybe cammed up a little or too much) with mag wheels, but the best one was a 2 door hardtop, 396, 4 speed, with a fiberglass tilt nose. I once traded a camper shell, that I found along the highway (must of blown off someone's truck) for a very rusty 1957 Chevy conv., 409, 4 speed which I used for a winter car and later parted out. Right now, amount the many unfinished projects I have a 2 door wagon made into a sedan delivery. The goal of these cars (tri-fives) back in the '60s and early '70s was to outrun the boys with the factory muscle cars, in town (Hampton Beach or Portsmouth, NH) light to light downtown on a Friday or Saturday night.
  26. I had a '57 Chevy Bel Air hardtop in '64. It was absolutely the worst mechanical device I've ever encountered up to and including now. The fact that I was 16 at the time probably had nothing to do with it.:rolleyes:
  27. RaginPin3Appl3
    Joined: Mar 31, 2016
    Posts: 1,172


    That really gets me thinking what car would i want to stash away now? What is going to be iconic of the 80s? The 90s? That is cheap now but people will be nostalgic of 30 years from now. Hmmm

    What'cha got in there, kid?
  28. RaginPin3Appl3
    Joined: Mar 31, 2016
    Posts: 1,172


    I dont want to get too far from the hamb here but maybe 80s iroc camaros? They get thrashed hard now and are becoming kinda hard to find in decent shape

    What'cha got in there, kid?
  29. Chaz
    Joined: Feb 24, 2004
    Posts: 5,016

    Member Emeritus

    I was there in the 60's, and 57 Chevys were respected as a nice looking , good performing car.
    LOU WELLS likes this.
  30. ken bogren
    Joined: Jul 6, 2010
    Posts: 938

    ken bogren

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