Cars like this are pure CC gold: a very original 1960 Bel Air Six Sports Coupe still rocking its original 135 hp Hi-Thrift six. Tim Finn posted this at the Cohort. If there was a shot of the interior, we’d know if it had the Powerglide or three-on-the-tree.
How do we know it’s still got the original six, and not a crate 350 or such?
There’s the original skinny little single stock exhaust. None on the other side, and if it had something a bit warmer under its hood, it would undoubtedly also have dual straight pipes out the back.
Admittedly the wheels and tires are a bit fatter than stock.
None on this side. And of course the emblem on the grille lets us know it’s a six.
Bel Air hardtops were always a bit rare after the Impala came along, and as a kid they were already noteworthy. Sixty years later, even more so. This is how we love them.
What a great car! Like a lot of people, I prefer the basic ’60-’62 Bel Air hardtop to the Impala – so much cleaner! One of my favorite “catches” at a Chevy Club show was a black ’61 Bel Air two-door hardtop; I don’t think I’d seen one before that and I don’t believe I’ve seen one since.
Thank you for this post. I don’t often get a chance to really notice how much better the 1960 restyling did to tone down the insanity of the 1959. This is a handsome car design. The amazing roof, the sporty dash, the overall style is terrific. Knowing that it also has a simple six and a simple transmission just enhances the magic.
I am always intrigued to find a Chevy with the original six.
My 65 Impala convertible has its original six. My 57 Bel Air had its original six with Powerglide.
Back in the day, my high school school friend drove a ‘60 Chevy. Silver with a red interior. It was a 283 with three-on-the-tree. Very sharp. It looked/sounded/ran well. He was always questioned if it was stock. It was.
The emblem on the hood…can you please explain, show what/how?
I thought it might have the checkered flags on the front fender, forward of the wheel, with “283” nested inside. Or am confusing that with something else?
V8 cars had a “crossed flags” grille emblem.
If it had the 283, the badge on the grille would have had this gold “V” on it:
And if it had the 348, it would have had crossed flags over the V:
The branding folks would NOT let this happen today. 🙂
Thanks for answer and photos!
The Bel Air sport coupes always seemed to be rare birds, I remember seeing a couple of 1962 Bel Air coupes in the 1960’s. That was the last year they were built which is rather sad, I always thought the ’62 Bel Air with the bubble roof was a more attractive vehicle than the Impala hardtop with the roof styled to look like a convertible top.
Likewise the four-door hardtops with the crisp roofline shared with C-body 2 door hardtops (in that generation; ’60 models were still flattops).
When I hear the lyrics of Bob Seger’s Night Moves:
“Out past the cornfields where the woods got heavy. Out in the back seat of my ’60 Chevy.”
This is exactly the car I envision him singing about, the kind of car a testosterone-filled teenager would have in mid-sixties central Michigan.
I also got this same mental flash when reading this entry.
Here’s the 6 in my ’59 Biscayne. People can’t believe how smooth & quiet this engine runs. It’s easy to work on, durable, and not fussy. No wonder so many buyers specified it. As for power, I think it does just fine in normal driving–but I’m a cruiser, not a leadfoot.
Is that the correct color for the 6 cylinder engine? And yes, I have to agree it was a very smooth running engine with its 3 on the tree tranny. My sister had that engine in her 61.
Looks like it! Incidentally, mine has Powerglide.
OMG! I just got kicked back to the summer of 1970. My brother had a 60 Biscayne for his first car then. I can now see it sitting in the drive way of our house on Innis road, with the barn in sight behind it. Two door same color as this one, 283 with 3 speed. (He ended up putting a 409 in it, with dual AFB’s on it. He got that 409 for $100) It had a wrecked fender but he found a Brookwood wagon, same color, and used the front end off it on his Biscayne. As I recall, that Brookwood was a two door? Someone correct me if I am wrong. He took it to a friends place out in the country to store when after he got a 64 Dodge Max wedge, and the last time I saw it (1986) someone had pushed it over the hill and ripped out its final engine, a 327 from a 67 Malibu. The Biscayne and my brother are both gone now. Man this is great. This is what this site should be made up of, not a 1991 Toyota as I saw on here a while back. What a great post. Thanks for posting.
Great story, thanks for sharing. I was with you all the way…until the end. Sure, most people would agree that the average 1991 Toyota is less than thrilling, but for a very long time most people would have agreed that a low-end 1960 Chevy is less than thrilling.
But the thing is, people my age (40ish) might feel exactly the same nostalgia for a 1991 Toyota that you feel for that 1960 Chevy. Myself, I have no personal connections to that car from sixty years ago; it’s just an interesting old car. But a 1995 Cavalier was the first car I called my own.
The point is, there’s something here for most everyone that’s interested in cars.
At this time, the Brookwood was the station wagon equivalent of the Biscayne, and it came as either a 2- or 4-door wagon, so the one your brother had may have been a 2-door. The more expensive trim levels of Chevrolet wagons came as 4-doors only.
1960 was the last year any full-size Chevrolet wagon was available as a 2-door. The 2-door wagon, sedan delivery, and El Camino, which must have all shared a lot of common tooling, were all dropped together at the end of the 1960 model year.
Thanks! I’m sure it was a two door the more I think about it.
Ahhh Yessss, the old “Hide the dual exhaust pipe” trick. Make ’em think you’ve only got a lowly six under the hood by not adding any exterior items or emblems that might identify the new engine.
Back in the 1970s a good friend’s mother had a 1963 Studebaker Lark 2-door sedan. He removed the original 6 and automatic, replacing it with a supercharged Avanti R2 V8 and 4 speed. He kept the last foot or so of the original tailpipe, plus he installed a pair of custom-bent dual exhaust tailpipes that hugged the rear trunk floor, exiting just under the back bumper. You had to bend down to see the ends of the pipes. And of course he kept the “Lark VI” six cylinder identification badges on the front fenders and back panel.
Because he was able to show original factory Studebaker paperwork allowing the R2 Avanti engine & 4-speed to be ordered in a Lark 2-door sedan, he could run the car at the local drag strips as a factory unmodified vehicle. That Lark did VERY well in the standings.
And yes, this was his mother’s only vehicle. She drove this car very sparingly as he did most of the driving. But it was her car, and she did drive it at times. His regular car was a 1937 Packard 120 sedan, and he also raced it at the local drag strips, but that’s another story.
My money is on the ‘Glide behind that six. The 6/PG was a popular combination for Chevrolet, and it always seemed to me that Chevy had a far lower take rate on the 3 speed than did Ford in that period of time. Besides, in a stylish hardtop, who wants to let people see you shifting gears? 3 speeds are for sedan buyers. 🙂
As a little kid, I knew three old ladies with ’59 or ’60 Chevies. I heard later that one of them regulated her speed with the clutch and not the gas pedal. After her second clutch, they put a truck clutch in it, but she lost her sight soon after. Lived to 1992 and 108 years old, however. Her family had sent her south in the Twenties because they didn’t think she’d survive another Vermont winter.
Our first second car was a new ’60 Bel Air sedan. White with grey interior. Dog dish hubcaps w/ black walls. 6 cylinder with automatic. Kind of what we would call Euro-looking. Our other car was a ’58 Buick Estate Wagon- gray with white top and red interior. Harley meets Bill Mitchell.
As Paul and the few people here who actually read the drivel I post here know: I am no huge fan of the Chevy six cylinder engine and the PowerSlide 2 speed automatic.
In this particular example I wouldn’t change nuttin’ !
Am I correct this engine would have been the 235 CI version? I see there were three sixes in those years. A 216, a 235, and a 261.
Correct. The 216 was gone by ’53, and the 261 was medium duty truck only.
Bel Air hardtops, especially the 4 door, were quite rare starting in 1959 when the Impala became a separate series. But what was really rare was the 1961 Impala 2 door sedan, the only year it was built. I don’t think I ever saw one.
A six in any Chevy post 56 is rare here Im sure you could get one new back then Ive just never seen any local assembly versions,
At the moment, I’m looking at these pictures on my phone. Zeroing in on the pictures, it appears to have a Powerglide selector lever, and it’s in “Park” position. Perhaps someone can zoom in and verify. (I am thinking the manual transmission lever was a little longer and would appear “taller” when placed, for example, in reverse when parking the car. )
The dashboard of the 1959-60 Chevrolets always seemed very “sporty” for a full-size car. The big, round instruments right behind the steering wheel look as though they could have been lifted directly out of a Corvette.
For 1961, Chevrolet went back to a more conventional “big car” dashboard with a strong, horizontal theme.
Yes, definitely a sporty look (photo). The round gauges would reappear for one year only, in the 67 models, but more subdued.
Just lovely .
So much style for so little money .
Yes, that’s the correct engine color for a passenger car ~ ‘Chevrolet six blue ‘ was a common color in foo-foo cans into the late 1970’s .
Wow .. i thought I might be the only one in oregon with a 60 bel air sport coupe.. i was at a car show in silverton OR in August 2021 when a car enthusiast said they saw me a few weeks earlier at another car show that I didn’t attend.. makes sense now
Here’s some pics
If the pics aren’t posting, try reducing their size. When I post pictures, I reduce them to a maximum of 1,200 pixels in the bigger dimension, and they usually post that way.
No had original running 283