The decline of the American automobile industry and the simultaneous decline of the city of Detroit are well known nationally and commented upon extensively here, and the gradual revival of both has been as well. Automotive metaphors for the fall and rise of the industry and the city are not difficult to find on the streets of Detroit and its environs, as I found in my first visit to the area earlier this year.
Less than 24 hours in the Detroit area passed before I found this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air in plain white, a four door post sedan rather than a more glamorous convertible, hardtop coupe, Nomad, or Sport Sedan. It is a fine representative of a bread and butter product of GM and Detroit at their peaks, and in its rough but apparently complete and restorable condition, it appears ready to rebound, much like the city itself.
The owner of this Chevy appears to be quite proud of it and to be keeping it on the road as-is for now, parking it in full view of drivers and pedestrians on the street instead of hiding it in an inner corner of its apartment building parking lot, and giving it new tires whose whitewalls still have their protective blue coating. The apartment building was a senior living facility, which makes me wonder whether the owner may be a retired auto worker who bought the Chevy as a retirement project, or even the car’s first owner since 1957 or second owner since the 1960s. Whatever its story may be, this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air appears ready to fly the flag for Chevrolet and Detroit for many years to come.