This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Restomod hardtop was built just the way you’d want it, but with a supercharged cherry on top
Featuring fantastic colors inside-and-out, fully sorted and deviously upgraded mechanicals, and lots of amenities including a 350 ZZ3 Supercharged V8, a smooth-shifting 700R4 4-speed gearbox, a bespoke leather-trimmed interior, and just enough attitude to let folks know the ’50s are back in a BIG way. Yes, this is the high-end Tri-5 you’ve been waiting for.
Dark Blue paint and Bel Air trim on a hardtop Tri-5 will look great forever, and the timeless color combination neatly straddles the original 1950s look with a few modern touches to make it extremely relevant today. Obviously showing off some very attractive bodywork underneath (which is an absolute must if you’re going to paint your classic a dark color), the gaps are precise, the body panels line-up great, and the doors shut flush without a Herculean effort. The deep, slick Dark Blue Metallic finish has a wonderful shine that really pops underneath our lights, and even though it’s a slightly older paint job it was completed to such a high standard that it still looks fresh today. Sure, it’s not a trailer-queen meant to be hermetically sealed and only escorted to car shows – the drivetrain itself let’s everyone know this Tri-5 was always destined to be a cruiser – but the finish is still very high-end with only minor flaws to report. It looks like the driver’s door was repainted and isn’t a 100% match, although it takes a discerning eye to spot that inequity, and with only 1509 miles on the build the curb appeal is still through the roof. We’re probably being a bit harsher than we should be because bottom-line, this Chevy is a bonafide STUNNER in person. Few cars wear dark paint better than the ’57 Chevy, and the builders of this ’57 stunner didn’t waste time with a contrasting white roof, because this Tri-5 was designed to be nasty and nothing works better than a slick, sinister shade when you want to intimidate and impress. Replacement Bel Air trim is all there as it should be, including the sharp profile spear that runs from end-to-end, traditional Bel Air panels on the quarters, and a few gold-anodized pieces (including the front grille insert) that retain the original designers’ vision while offering a bit more contrast to the overall look. The bumpers were triple plated with copper and are the perfect shiny end caps, the rocker panel trim still looks new, and the remaining brightwork was polished up to an unbelievable shine that really helps this Tri-5 stand out from the crowd.
The pros at Elegance Interiors stuffed a gorgeous, sporty, modern leather interior in this hardtop, creating a fantastic place in which to spend some time. Glyde buckets up front and the matching rear seats were covered in fine-quality German hides, french-stitched in two-tone blue-and-cream colors that perfectly complement the exterior. A custom center console was hand-made and extends to the rear seats, durable modern carpets line the insulated floors, elegant door panels were upholstered to match the seats, and the suede headliner above was hand-molded and even retains its factory dome light – albeit with an LED unit inside. Everything was new at the time of the restoration and remains in excellent condition, including the beautifully painted dark blue dash that was accented with billet chrome accents and a host of Classic Instruments gauges. The leather rim on the Budnik steering wheel was stitched to match the cabin’s two-tone theme, and it comes mounted atop a polished Ididit tilt steering column that matches all the bling from the door and center console hardware. An anti-theft system and power windows were installed, while a Pioneer multi-media head unit mounted inside the center console manages a kickin’ stereo with speakers and subwoofers stashed throughout. Even the trunk was beautifully finished to match the cabin, complete with hidden panels and matching carpets.
A thundering GM Performance 350 ZZ3 Supercharged V8 crate engine is a huge hit in this ’57 Bel Air, and it slides right into the beautifully finished and cavernous engine bay. Nicely detailed with numerous polished and chromed components, shiny valve covers, a K&N air cleaner, and matching Dark Blue pain on the firewall and inner fenders, the engine bay is dying to be shown off. Topped with a B&M 144ci Forced Induction supercharger, a Roots blower, aluminum heads, and a Holley 800CFM 4-barrel carburetor calibrated to play ball with the supercharger, it’s a stone-cold, incredibly powerful piece of machinery that transforms this Bel Air from grocery-getter to neck-snapper. A full MSD system fires it all up with ease, a giant aluminum radiator keeps the temps under 185-degrees at all times, and custom-built headers were expertly routed into an H-pipe dual exhaust system with throaty SpinTech mufflers that sound downright erotic. Remac Transmissions in Cali built up the 700R4 with a performance convertor and shift kit to handle all that power, and it spins Currie 9″ rear end filled with 3.55 posi-traction gears. Despite all that power, this Tri-5 is quite manageable thanks to Wilwood power 4-wheel discs, power steering, and a performance suspension augmented with CPP tubular controls arms, a CPP front swaybar, Williams Classic-Craft traction bars out back, and Bilstein shocks all around. The frame and chassis is nicely detailed with uber-clean floors and painted components throughout, so you don’t have to worry about hitting the road in this awesome Bel Air. Flashy American Racing Torque Thrusts wear staggered 225/45/17 front and 255/40/17 rear BFGoodrich performance radials that give it a modern stance and finish the look perfectly.
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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States