Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Millbrae Street Sighting - 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe

The Tri-Five Bel Air must really be the low-hanging fruit of the classic-car world. It's beautiful, it's classic, and for the most part I'm completely sick of them. I grew up adoring 1955-1957 Chevrolets, built models of them, drew pictures of them. Now I go to shows and generally avoid taking pictures of them, because they're everywhere and they all look the same. They all end up painted blue, red, aqua or black with white two-tone, and frequently roll on American Racing Torq Thrust wheels or some other shiny billet aluminum five-spoke design. In fact, I made this same rant the last couple of times I featured one of these cars. So imagine my relief when I found this one, which is not only stock but features a uniquely 1950s color combination of Shadow Gray over Coral. I've seen only a handful of cars that wore such a color scheme, and all came from this era.

The curse of being a street car blogger is that you shoot them as they are, where they are, when they are there. Sometimes that means dealing with really, really crappy lighting. This Bel Air deserved better than the harsh partial shade of a sunny mid-afternoon day, parked close to the awning of a coffee shop. My camera flash and some retouching at home couldn't correct everything. It's a fine specimen, a first-year 265 V8 hardtop Sport Coupe. This is a brave color choice in the modern era since gray and pink is not exactly the most salable color combo. It also appears to be wearing the same dog-dish hubcaps and body-color steel wheels as lesser 150 and 210 models, a curious touch for a Bel Air that would have come with full deluxe wheelcovers from the factory. Given that these cars cross the auction block for big money all the time, it's no wonder that so many are done up in one particular way. A unique car might actually sell for less money than a generic red one. But cars aren't made to just be bought and sold like stocks and bonds, are they?

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