Curbside Classic: 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air–“Nice To See You”–

“–not at a car show!”  Yes, in fact I spotted this charming 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air in a funeral home parking lot on North Main Street in Boonton New Jersey, surrounded by modern cars.  I immediately noticed that robin’s egg color with just a little patina.  Could this paint be original?


Judging from the 1955 Chevrolet paint chart, the buyer selected India Ivory over Sea-Mist Green.  With 14 solid colors and 23 two-tones, you could have ordered your new ’55 Chevy painted 37 different ways!

Everyone seems to think that American cars of the ’50s are “big”, but this ’55 seems dwarfed by its modern counterparts.

Compare the ’55 Chevy front end with the modern “Jeep”:  Who would have predicted that auto styling would evolve in such a direction?

Recently I did a post about a 1955 Pontiac I spotted, which had a jet plane hood ornament with a light-up Indian Chief’s head morphed onto the front of the jet.  Chevrolet’s jet has a eagle’s head, and it’s solid chrome (doesn’t light up).

Here’s the Pontiac version.  If you want this kind of elaborate ornamentation, you have to trade up from Chevrolet to Pontiac.  (An eagle and an Indian Chief–how American can you get?)

Here’s part of what makes cars from the ’50s so magical–the sweeping “aerodynamic” trim suggesting effortless flight;  the elegantly wrought, streamlined script (“Bel Air”); the little gold Chevrolet shield.  All suggestive of the fine craftsmanship throughout this car–yes, even in the “low-priced field” you got yourself a gem!

Interior shot.  (Not a great picture, but it was the best I could do.)

Apparently the drivetrain and some other features are not original.  But it’s for sale–for $28,000 “maybe”.  (I like the “maybe”!)

I keep hearing that younger adults as a group have little interest in cars of this era, and older folks who do are either selling them off, not buying more of them, or the cars are being sold off by estates to a dwindling pool of buyers.  You would think that would make prices come down, but I haven’t seen evidence of that.  I see lots of ’50s cars on eBay and Craigslist with what I consider to be very high asking prices.  The cars don’t sell, and they keep getting re-listed over and over.  Eventually, the laws of economics must prevail, amirite?

So that’s what I saw on the way to the grocery store this morning.  A bright robin’s egg classic to brighten your day, weeks before the start of Spring!