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Thread: Chevrolet Bel Air (2nd gen) 1955-1957

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    Chevrolet Nomad

    The Chevrolet Nomad was a station wagon model made off and on from 1955 to 1972, and a Chevy Van trim package in the late '70s and early '80s, produced by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors. The Nomad is best remembered in its two-door 1955-57 form, and was considered a halo model during its three-year production as a two-door station wagon.

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    Chevrolet Bel Air (2nd gen) 1955-1957

    For 1955, Chevrolet's full-size model received new styling that earned it the "Hot One" designation by enthusiasts. Unlike Ford and Plymouth, Chevrolet's styling was considered crisp and clean. Bel Airs came with features found on cars in the lower models ranges plus interior carpet, chrome headliner bands on hardtops, chrome spears on front fenders, stainless steel window moldingsa nd full wheel covers. Models were further distinguished by the Bel Air name script in gold lettering later in the year. For 1955 Chevrolets gained a V8 engine option. The new 265 cu in (4,340 cc) V8 featured a modern, overhead valve high compression, long stroke design that was so good that it remained in production in various forms, for many decades. The base V8 had a two-barrel carburetor and was rated at 162 hp (121 kW), and the "Power Pack" option featured a four-barrel carburetor and other upgrades yielding 180 bhp (130 kW). Later in the year, a "Super Power Pack" option added high-compression and a further 15 bhp (11 kW). "Idiot" lights replaced gauges for the generator and oil pressure. Motor Trend magazine gave the Bel Air top marks for handling. Popular Mechanics reported acceleration for a V8 Bel Air with Powerglide as being 0-60 mph in 12.9 seconds, plus a comfortable ride, and good viability. On the other hand, the horn ring blocked some of the speedometer, regular gasoline made the engine knock, and the first V8 engine off the line burned too much oil. Front legroom was 43.1". Brakes were 11" drums.

    The 1956 Bel Air received a face-lift with a more conventional full-width grille, pleasing those customers who didn't favor the Ferrari-inspired '55 front end. Distinctive two-tone bodyside treatments and graceful front and rear wheel openings completed the "speedline" restyling. Single housings incorporated the taillight, stoplight, and backup light, and the left one held the gas filler - an idea popularized on Cadillacs. Among the seven Bel Air models was a new Sport Sedan, a pillarless four-door hardtop that looked handsome with all the windows rolled down and allowed easy entry into the back seat. Production exceeded 103,000, compared to 128,000 two-door hardtops. Shapely two-door Nomad wagons topped the price chart at $2,608, but now carried the same interior and rear-wheel sheetmetal as other Bel Airs, lacking the original's unique trim. Only 7,886 were built. The least costly Bel Air, at $2,025, was the two-door sedan. Seatbelts, shoulder harnesses, and a padded dashboard were available and full-size cars could even get the hot Corvette 225-horsepower engine. In 1956 sales material there was an optional rain-sensing automatic top which was first seen on the first on the 1951 LaSabre concept car. However, it is believed that it was never installed on a car. Popular Mechanics reported only 7.4% of owners in their survey ordered seat belts.

    In 1957 engine displacement grew to 283 cu in (4,640 cc) with the "Super Turbo Fire V8" option producing 283 hp (211 kW) with the help of continuous (closed loop) mechanical fuel injection. These so-called "fuelie" cars are quite rare, since most Bel Airs were fitted with carburetion. The 1957 Bel Air is among the most recognizable American cars of all time; well-maintained examples, especially Sport Coupes and Convertibles are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. They are roomy, fuel-efficient, with tastefully restrained, period use tail fins and chrome. A second automatic transmission, Turboglide, was optional. While the original two-speed Powerglide continued unchanged, Turboglide provided a continuously variable gear ratio which made "shifting" imperceptible. The shift quadrant on Turboglide cars followed a "P R N D Lr" pattern.

    From 1955 to 1957, production of the two-door Nomad station wagon was assigned to the Bel Air series, although its body and trim were unique to that model. Prior to becoming a regular production model, the Nomad first appeared as a Corvette-based concept vehicle in 1954. Chevrolet has since unveiled two concept cars bearing the Nomad name, most recently in 1999. The 1955–1957 Chevrolets are commonly referred to as TriFives. The 1955-1957s were made in right-hand drive and shipped from Oshawa, Canada, for local assembly in Australia (CKD), New Zealand (SKD) and South Africa. All three model years had a reversed version of the '55 LHD dashboard and did not get the LHD models' 1957 redesign.
    Last edited by Man of Steel; 10-28-2012 at 07:36 AM.

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    Chevrolet Bel Air (2nd gen) 1955-1957 #2
    Last edited by Man of Steel; 10-28-2012 at 07:30 AM.

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    Chevrolet Bel Air (2nd gen) 1955-1957 #3
    Last edited by Man of Steel; 10-28-2012 at 07:43 AM.

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    Ah, yes the Tri-Fives. One of the most famous automotive molehills.

    Great pics, though!
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