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Customs Is this '56 Chevy a Bel Air or a 210?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Lebowski, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Lebowski
    Joined: Aug 21, 2011
    Posts: 1,570


    This Chevy (first pic) is for sale locally and I'm going to call the seller on it later this morning. (I sold my '65 Bonneville last weekend.) He calls it a Bel Air but it only has one piece of stainless on the side instead of two pieces a couple inches apart with the rear color between them (second pic). My questions are do all Bel Airs look like the second one or can they also look like the first one? Is the first one actually a 210? Thanks...


    ZBoyz3 likes this.
  2. studebaker46
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
    Posts: 650


    I don't know the answer but won't the vin tell you. anyway the car is definitely neat
  3. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 18,215

    Staff Member

    the first one has 210 trim on it. I would bet it is a 210
    Dave Mc likes this.
  4. The top pic is a Two Ten. But as mentioned, the VIN is the correct way to tell. I have seen many '57 Two Tens with the Belair 1/4 insert.
    The VIN should look like this A= 150, B=210, C= Belair. The letters could be preceded with a "V" if the car was originally V-8 equipped. And followed by the model year of manufacture and a production plant identification letter.

    VC57L, V-8 equipped Belair model year 1957 built in Los Angeles.
    Fern 54, 302GMC, squirrel and 3 others like this.
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  5. From the factory, all Belairs had the external trim as per the lower photo (different paint separation and extra stainless trim around the windows. Also had different interior. However, from your photo it looks like the car for sale has custom trim. From what I have seen it appears pretty common for cars to be incorrectly advertised as Belairs (150s and 210s).
    mitch 36 likes this.
  6. barrnone50
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 534

    from texas

    I don't think they made a two door post Bel Air . I could be wrong or maybe?
  7. Lebowski
    Joined: Aug 21, 2011
    Posts: 1,570


  8. robracer1
    Joined: Aug 3, 2015
    Posts: 488


    That's a good looking 210 ^^^^^^^ and yes they made a 2 door post Belair
    kidcampbell71 and LOU WELLS like this.
  9. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,174

    from Berry, AL

    Don't y'all know all 55-57 Chevys were Bel Airs? And all the V8"s in them were Corvette engines? Y'all gotta pay attention better!

    Beautiful 56 there by the way. My favorite year of the tri-5's, seems to get less attention than the 55's and 57's.
    reagen, jcmarz, 325w and 9 others like this.
  10. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,414


    BamaMav is closer to the truth than his joke would let you believe. LOTS of people call all tri-fives Bel Airs. I would imagine the one you're looking at is a 210, as very few would go to the effort to convert a Bel Air to a 210.
  11. traffic61
    Joined: Jun 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,470

    from Owasso, OK

    Nice car! Of course, I'm prejudiced towards 210's. That sure makes me want to find another one.
  12. Lebowski
    Joined: Aug 21, 2011
    Posts: 1,570


    I just talked to the seller. He said that someone just told him last weekend at a car show that it wasn't a Bel Air. He said it has a 396 with a cam and headers and a Turbo 400 and if you punch it at 20 mph it will light up the tires. He's only owned it for 6 months but he had it completely rewired and had a Vintage Air unit installed. He wants $29,500 for it. It's in Jeffersonville, IN right across the Ohio River from Louisville. I'm probably going to pass on it but if someone wants to see the ad send me a PM or you can find the ad on Craigslist....
  13. Mine is a 210 with Bel Air trim replacing the 210 trim. So you can't be certain by the trim. Like stated above, look at the VIN.

    small photo of right front.jpg
  14. Rick & Jan
    Joined: Apr 9, 2008
    Posts: 422

    Rick & Jan

    Note the trim around the side windows on the yellow car, Bel Air, none on the Red car!
  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,148


    The trim around the windows is usually left as is, when the side trim is changed. No trim around the windows on a 150, trim along the bottom on a 210, trim all the way around on a Belair.

    But some guys do go to the trouble to add the window trim, like the yellow car
    LOU WELLS likes this.
  16. Ive got a 56 4 door it has the Bel Air dash trim. Even says Bel Air on the Title. And The Serial Number starts with a B. However the Trim appears to be 210 to me. I will get some pictures.
  17. Ok here are the pictures. It don't matter to me. Its just a surface rusted 4 door. I actually 56 chev Bel Air 001.JPG 56 chev Bel Air 002.JPG 56 chev Bel Air 003.JPG 56 chev Bel Air 004.JPG 56 chev Bel Air 005.JPG 56 chev Bel Air 006.JPG prefer vehicles without any trim.
  18. vinfab
    Joined: Apr 18, 2006
    Posts: 182


    Old Wolf, your car is a 210. The giveaways are the single trim line down the length of the body and the trim holes below the windows, and the B in the vin. The BelAir dash trim is from a 55 (embossed bowties, 56 were rectangles) and added at a later point.
    Old wolf likes this.
  19. That's what I suspected. It don't matter to me I had been trying to sell it. Couldn't get $3000 for a pretty solid running car with a good title. Have now decided to keep it. It already has a 55 front cap. Im going to fill the trim holes. possibly do a conversion to a 2 dr and add 55 ouarter panels?
  20. like others have said, the top photo is a 210 2dr sedan. The second photo is a belair 2dr hardtop ('sport coupe').

    Disclaimer: I'm a tri-five geek and have studied the documentation quite a bit.

    If no monkey business has happened with the vin tag (exercise caution with cars whose vin tag is not still attached using the factory spot welds), then the vin will tell the factory delivered trim line.

    'A...': Inline 6-cyl 150 series model
    'VA...': v8 8-cyl 150 series model
    'B...': Inline 6-cyl 210 series model
    'VB...': v8 8-cyl 210 series model
    'C...'; Inline 6-cyl Belair series model
    'VC...': v8 8-cyl Belair series model
    'D...': Inline 6-cyl sedan delivery
    'VD...' v8 8-cyl sedan delivery
    *note: the sedan deliveries were marketed through the truck line.

    Also, if the car still has it's cowl tag on the firewall, it should also confirm the factory delivered trim line of the car. The cowl tag codes are more than I care to type here, but are available in a number of printed & online reference materials.

    I said 'factory delivered' because... like has been mentioned before... some people have borrowed some stainless trim garnish to tart up a model that didn't come with the trim. Some cars are a hodge-podge of trim bits. I agree with the characterization that people will lump all three model lines into the generic description of 'Belair', when the car may not technically be a Belair.

    It's a longer story, but I had a guy jump down my throat about 15 years ago at car show when I asked a question about his recently purchased 210. He was seething with anger that I would call his car a 210, when he practically shouted it's a Belair. I asked him if his vin contained a 'B' at the beginning. He gave me a puzzled look, and then shouted it's a Belair. The car clearly was trimmed as a 210.

    Again to support the 'Belair' label being used by people to describe most/all '55-'57 chevys... I had my 210HT (like the one pictured in my avatar) at a carshow. A guy told his buddies that I was faking a 210HT since Chevy never made them - only Belair HT's. WRONG! The 210 HT was re-introduced the middle of the '55 model year and continued through '57 - they were sold in far less numbers than the Belair HT's. The reason I have a 210HT is my dad had one when I was born. The photo in my avatar is my dad's 210HT which he sold in the mid 60's.

    I'll stop now,

    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
  21. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,075


    Custom interior, 396. etc, etc, etc. I suppose it really doesn't matter what it started out as unless you were looking to restore a Bel Air back to original.
  22. El Caballo
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 5,894

    El Caballo

    Sorry you sold the Bonneville, was it for the suspension issues?
  23. waldo53
    Joined: Jan 26, 2010
    Posts: 844

    from ID

    This subject has been covered very well - but it brings to mind something that still exists to this day, even among "car guys" that should know better. And that is: a lot of folks call ANY 2-door sedan (tri-fives) a "210". Where did that come from? I keep telling them until I'm blue in the face, that a 210 is a trim package, not a body style!
    reagen likes this.
  24. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,148


    They'd have to know the difference between a body style and a trim level to understand you. Good luck with that.
    reagen likes this.
  25. Those are the same people that think any '55-'57 wagon is a Nomad.
    reagen likes this.
  26. Yep I have lots of folks who think My 55 two dr 150 is a Nomad. I don't even bother to attempt to educate them.
  27. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,225


    There are usually two issues at play here. Either a car has had Bel Air Parts added, such as dash and speaker grille adornment, or what most people do, just refer to every old Chevrolet as a Bel Air. As far as the A, B, C, model identifying letters in the VIN tag go, there's also a D, which stands for Delivery. These old Chevrolet's have been abused, various parts swapped around, some even stolen and re-tagged. Even if you can find the frame identifying numbers, they are just that, numbers and no model identifier; it's not a complete VIN. So Lebowski, that 56 is most likely a 210, with some Bel Air dash trim added to make it look less plain. it's a nice looking car, other than the greater than 15 inch diameter wheels/tires. BUY IT, and put some 15 Cragar SS or American D wheels on it. My insurance company does't have a listing for anything, other than a Bel Air, for a car (truck) as old as my Delivery, so it's been insured as a Bel Air for many years now. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
  28. Lebowski
    Joined: Aug 21, 2011
    Posts: 1,570


    I talked my wife into letting me cash in an annuity account and spend some of it on a fairly expensive ($30-50k) old car so I needed to get the Bonneville out of my side of our two car garage. I'm leaning towards a '55-60 Chevy but would like to find one within a couple of hundred miles of here. I've found some nice ones but of course they're in California, Texas, Florida, etc.... :(

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