The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

12 January 2006

Bow-tie heaven

Kim du Toit came up with a list of a dozen icons that define America, and at the very top was the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, a car that even today is recognizable seemingly from blocks away, even by people who claim they can't stand cars.

Robert Cumberford, then on the GM design staff and now Automotive Design Editor of Automobile, said last year that the '57 came out the way it did because the promised new bodyshell wasn't going to be ready in time, and they had to do the best they could to disguise the '55-'56 bodywork. While the '55 is decidedly the simplest and arguably the purest incarnation of this generation, the '57 is clearly bolder — and no doubt this is why it gets the nod over its older sister.

And those rubber boobs on the front? Cumberford says that they were intended to be chrome, but they tended to smash the taillights of the car in front on the transporters.

As for the '58 with that fancy new bodyshell — forget about it. Almost everyone else did.

Posted at 4:01 PM to Driver's Seat

Personally, I like the '55 better. However, if someone were to give me a '56 or '57, I surely wouldn't complain. :)

Posted by: unimpressed at 5:22 PM on 12 January 2006