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.
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.
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.
Clearly this had an effect because the car was very difficult to photograph through the crowd that surrounded it the whole night.
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”.
There was more civilization ahead for the Bel Air—Craig 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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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