JULY 8, 2011:1957 CHEVY BEL AIR 2 DOOR HARDTOP…THEY DID COME IN SUBTLE

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The 1957 Chevy became an icon almost immediately.

 

Some argue that it was the introduction of the fuelie small block while others claim that it was a simple home run in 50s styling.

 

They became a force on the strip and one of the byproducts was a swing toward wild paint schemes in the 60s and 70s.

 

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These automotive legends turned bright yellow and blinding orange overnight.

 

Craig Phillips went in a different direction.

 

He’s always been a tri-five guy and he’s a self-admitted car addict so Craig caught instant buck fever when he saw this ’57 Bel Air. Craig understands the history of the ‘57 Chevys and he has no problem with a color that can be seen from the space shuttle in orbit.

 

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But this Bel Air was different–it was 2-tone pale yellow white roof combination. Clearly the paint came from a sales brochure but Craig loved it. He leans toward subtle yellow over bright yellow and this ‘57 Chevy was a great example of a more reserved paint scheme.

 

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Clearly this had an effect because the car was very difficult to photograph through the crowd that surrounded it the whole night.

 

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The car came out of the Deep South and the next step towards the subtle-ization of the ’57 was to dump the exhaust system that apparently fed right off the headers. Craig liked the 383 stroker-he just didn’t want to hear it operating at 120 decibels so he replaced the system he called “obnoxiously loud”.

 

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There was more civilization ahead for the Bel AirCraig replaced the drag strip 4:11 rear gears with a more highway friendly 3:55 setup. That turned it from a screamer at 75-80 miles per hour to a leisurely turnpike star.

 

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Craig didn’t dump the 4-speed on the floor. There’s a fine line between subtle and vanilla-Craig knows the boundaries. The car is a dream on the road and pulls down seriously positive gas mileage at 80 miles per hour in a comfortable package.

 

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Craig loves taking a 600-mile shift behind the wheel of his beloved ‘57 Chevy thanks to its front discs, tinted windows, cold air, power steering, power windows, power brakes, tilt steering and glass-like ride.

 

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There is one subtle change in his very stock appearing ’57 Chevy-he’s replaced the rear bumper with a ’57 Chevy wagon bumper “so the license plate can go on the bumper”.

 

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That’s not exactly the same as adding lime green paint or giant rear wheels to a tubbed ’57 Chevy but in Craig’s subtle world that’s all he needs.

 

Jerry Sutherland

 

For more car stories about car guys and their cars click here-https://www.mystarcollectorcar.com/

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