Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

Already the best-selling car in America, Chevrolet reached new heights in 1955 with fresh styling and a new engine. An industry rule of thumb held that introducing both a new body and a new engine in the same year was risky. Teething problems with either one would cause headaches, while troubles with both could spell disaster. Nonetheless, Chevy needed a new body because the old one was dated, and a V-8 engine was a necessity to keep up with archrival Ford.

Advertised as “The Hot One,” Chevy’s new overhead valve V-8 was just that, especially when equipped with the Power Pack, a four-barrel carburetor setup that came with dual exhausts. Rated 180 brake horsepower at 4,600 rpm, the 265-cubic inch engine was capable of 0–60 in under 10 seconds, quite a feat at the time, and was timed at speeds up to 105 mph. The public loved it, and nearly 1.7 million were sold, a record for the marque at a record moment, the industry’s first seven-million-car year.

Part of the RM Auctions event for Charlie Thomas in October, 2012 and John Staluppi in December, 2012.

180 bhp, 265.0 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115.0 in.

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel and Teddy Pieper

Be part of something big