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MARCH 27, 2011: THE 5-6-7 CHEVIES…WHICH YEAR WINS THIS BEAUTY CONTEST?

By on March 27, 2011
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Sure beauty is only skin deep, but what car guy doesn’t get his head turned by a pretty set of wheels?

 

Perhaps the most popular cars ever wrapped in a bowtie were produced in three consecutive model years.

 

Few would argue that the 1955-57 Chevrolets have produced one of the biggest army of fans in the entire car world.

 

The cars are the stuff of legends in movies (American Graffiti, Two Lane Blacktop) and song (Eric Clapton’s ’57 Chevy).

 

 

Consequently, an entire car culture and industry has been built around these iconic cars. They are more popular today than they were when they rolled off the dealership lots over fifty years ago. And it wasn’t simply because people liked Dinah Shore.

 

Today a well-preserved (or restored or resto-modded) Tri-Five Chevy will command big money for its owners, most of whom would not be in a mood to sell their beloved ride.

 

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Fittingly, we have established that 567 Chevies are an extremely popular trio of hot-looking sister cars. The million-dollar question is…which is the hottest looking sister?

 

A strong case could be made for the oldest sister in this debate. A 1955 Chevrolet changed the game in 1955. It was a radical style departure from the 1954 Chevy model.

 

 

A 1955 Chevy was the first modern post war look for a Chevrolet sedan. The post war look was modified in 1949 by Chevy, but the changes were nowhere near the shift from ’54-55.

 


 

Therefore the ’55 Chevy was a completely different animal. It had a less-rounded design and it had the first vestiges of the finned look that became a huge part of the back nine of the 50s Detroit philosophy. The ’55 was a car with its fins in a training bra.

 

 

The 1956 Chevy was the middle child in the 567 family. It had a look that was very reminiscent of the ’55, but ultimately it forged its own identity in the Tri-Five biography.

 

 

The fins were slightly more noticeable with a re-configured tail- light package and some cosmetic changes to the front grille components. You could definitely see a strong family resemblance between the ’55 and ‘56, but many Chevy guys felt that GM got it just right with the 1956 model.

 

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More to the point, all bets were off with the 1957 Chevy. This little sister wanted to be noticed, and its big tail fins put the ’57 right well beyond the training bra fin stage of its older siblings. There would be no mistaking a ‘57 Chevy with the other two in the Tri-Five family.

 

 

The 1957 Chevrolet also ran with a faster crowd.

 

 

It offered the first production year of the legendary 283 engine. A bored-out fuel injected version of the earlier 265 meant that a ‘57 Chevy was a lot hotter on the street than its siblings.

 

 

But was it a hotter model overall? The question will never be scientifically answered because 5-6-7 love runs deep. It actually becomes a rhetorical question because…

 

The 5-6-7 Chevy boys will have grounds to present a solid case for all three years of these 50s beauty queens.

 

And they never break ranks.

 

Jim Sutherland

COMMENTS

ROBERT:”I’m in agreement that the tri-fives were about as good as it got,but most of the old boys thought the 56 was just an uninteresting 55, sorry guys that’s just the way it was!”

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