Sunday, December 26, 2021

'57 Chevy: One Of The Most Influential And Iconic Cars Of All Time!

 

'57 Chevy Bel Air

How Did The 1957 Chevy Come About?

It starts with Chevy's need for change. For the first time since 1918, Chevrolet was willing to offer a V8 in its 1955 Chevy sedan, and with that V8, Chevy thought it would be a good time to get rid of the shoe-box look that they were recently using and try something different. 

Chevrolet Chief Designer, Ed Cole, wanted to get rid of the shoe-box look by 1956 and have a whole new look for 1957. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned and the new look never launched forcing Cole and the design team to make do with the shoe-box style for one more year, but there were going to be big changes.

To help differentiate the '57 from '55 and '56 Chevy, Cole brought in Harley J. Earl, a famous automotive designer. Earl had already had huge styling successes under his belt that not only worked out for General Motors, but also influenced the automotive world as a whole. 



The changes Earl was making to the '57 Chevy would be widely ridiculed by Earl's co-workers, automotive experts, and anyone and everyone who just couldn't see his vision the way he did. 

'57 Chevy Dramatic Transformation

'57 Chevrolet

Some of the changes were: A new dashboard, a reshaped windshield, sealed cowl, and 15-inch rims to replace the 16-inch rims. Also, Earl decided to relocate the air-ducts to the headlights, which gave the car the big distinctive chrome look in the front. Then he added the iconic quarter-panel fins to the rear to help make the Chevy six inches longer, ultimately giving the Chevy the lowered look that everyone recognizes today.

1957 Chevy Fuel Injection


Other intriguing things that were new with the '57 were a lighter front-end, a bigger engine bay, and new drivetrain options that included a fuel-injection system and a three-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. A dual exhaust was offered with all V8 options for a little more horsepower but more so for the cool sound that it would give the Chevy. 

In commercials, magazine ads, and on billboards, the Chevy motto was always the same: "Chevy Puts The Purr Back Into Performance."

1957 Chevy; New York Times



A 1957 Chevrolet Coupe And Convertible For Everyone

Different trim options helped make the car more affordable for the average family and classy enough for those who wanted the feel of something a little more luxurious.

Trim Models Were As Followed:

Base: 150 Series
'1957 Base 150 Series



Base: 210 Series
'57 Chevy Based 210 Series











Del Ray: 210 Series
'57 Chevy Del Ray 210 Series










Base: Bel Air
'57 Chevy Bel Air















Convertible: Bel Air
1957 Chevy Convertible Bel Air










Nomad: Bel Air (station wagon)
1957 Chevy Nomad Bel Air










El Morocco: custom hand-built to mimic a Cadillac
1957 El Morocco









Each version was available in a two-door or four-door body style. The base "150" series with an in-line six was not only priced very well for consumers on a budget but also did very well when it came to gas mileage compared to the V8s. 

As you went up in models, you went up in comfort and class and, of course, in price. The Bel Air and Bel Air convertible was the most popular and expensive models, and in today's market, it is the most wanted by all collectors and car enthusiast alike, even if you're not a Chevy fan, you've probably wished you had a '57 Chevy at one point or another.

Choose Your '57 Chevy Options

Each version had options that could be ordered up to make the car more comfortable and luxurious. Some of those options were air-conditioning, power brakes, power steering, a padded dashboard, power windows, and power seats. Color schemes and chrome trim options were another way to show your impeccable taste in automobile selection.    

Also, a signal-seeking radio with a power antenna could be purchased along with a separate speaker that could be placed in the back, and at that time, that's what automotive companies called surround sound. The "Automatic-Eye" was another new option. The Automatic-Eye was attached to your dashboard and could detect on-coming traffic and dim your headlights automatically - high-tech for 1957.


'57 Chevy Engine Bay


One of the things that played a part in making the '57 Chevy so desirable was the bigger engine bay it came with. This was important because it made room for the big-block engines that Chevy was making for racing at the time. As drag racing became more popular and going fast was the thing to do, having a '57 Chevy that could accommodate Chevy's big-block engines with virtually no fabrication required was a huge plus to the go-fast racing enthusiast.

Even without the big blocks, you could still make plenty of power by opting for what Chevy called the Power-Pack (283 cubic-inch engine with solid lifters, a 4 barrel carb, and dual exhaust), which would make 275 horsepower right off the showroom floor. 

Fuel-Injection '57 Chevy


Although the 283 cubic-inch motors would make 283-hp with fuel injection, that option was often overlooked by consumers at the time because very few people knew how to work on fuel injection setups. Even mechanics were having problems working on the new fuel-injection system. So, if you were buying the car to modify it and or race it, going with the carburated setup you already knew how to work on was a much smarter way to go.

The odd thing about these desirable collector cars is that in 1957, the sales of Ford's '57 Fairlane model ended up out-selling the Chevy. Maybe it was the 1957 Chevy's bold chrome front-end or the rear-fins that threw consumers off. Maybe it was the introduction of the fuel injection and the 3-speed Hydra-Matic transmission - both of which consumers were skeptical about. Whatever the case was, by the time the '80s rolled around, these were considered one of the most, if not the most, collectible cars around.

'57 Chevy Custom


Worth Every Penny

Nowadays, a meticulously restored '57 Chevy Bel-Air can go for around $100,000.00 or more, and a seller could catch even more for a convertible in the same condition. But if you are thinking about buying one, you will want to be careful and maybe even seek some professional help before doing so. There are a lot of replicas out there, and it can be very easy to be fooled.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary SLP Edition (LT4)

 

1997 Camaro SS SLP


1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary  SLP Edition

Anniversary Editions are always fun. Special stripes, badges, and performance upgrades find their way onto a limited number of stock versions of a vehicle to celebrate the special year. 

Although anniversary additions usually see minor changes, that wasn't the case when it came to the 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary SLP Edition. All of the 30th Anniversary Camaros (RS, Z-28, and SS) seen an eye-popping color scheme and 30th Anniversary badges placed throughout the interior, but a few SS Camaros (US 100 – Canada 6 – Prototype 2) got much more than just a few minor upgrades and a cool looking color scheme. Those few special Camaro SS received a stout LT4 5.7-liter engine installed by SLP.



1969 Indianapolis 500 Pace Card


Where Did The Color Scheme for the Anniversary Edition Camaro Come From?

The color scheme is a throwback to the 1969 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Camaro. Just like in '69, the '97 30th Anniversary Camaro was painted Arctic White accompanied by a set of Hugger Orange racing stripes that graced the hood, deck-lid, and roof of all of the 1997 Anniversary Editions (unless it was a convertible). 

The All-Important 330 HP Badge

They all may have looked the same and had the same embroider badges on the seats and the floor mats, but only a select few got to wear the all-important 330-hp badge indicating an LT4 under the hood.

Almost all of the Anniversary Editions came with stock engines that matched their trim package except for those few lucky SS Camaros that got to take the trip to SLP Engineering after they rolled off the assembly line.

SLP Engineering was able to get their hands on extra leftover LT4 motors that were used in the 1996 Corvette Grand Sport a year earlier. Before SLP bolted these LT4 motors into the Camaros, they broke each of the engines down and had them balanced and blue-printed. 

LT4 Camaro SS engine



On paper, the LT4 was documented to get 330-hp at 5,800 RPM and reached its max torque at 4,500 RPM. But many car enthusiasts and automotive professionals believe this motor that had 10.8:1 compression was definitely underrated.



SLP SS Camaro


More SLP Camaro Upgrades

The 1997 Camaro SS with the SLP LT4 upgrade also received a Borg-Warner T56 six-speed manual transmission, a performance exhaust, a lightweight driveshaft, Bilstein sport suspension (optional level III Bilstein suspension package), and a Torsen limited-slip differential. All those extras were good to get you from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and down the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds. 

With the explosion of technology in the auto industry, that may not seem so amazing in this generation, but back in 1997, that was the fastest production American sports car on the market. There were no American sports cars at that time that could be bought from a dealer that went that fast.

330 HP Badge SS Camaro



Identifying a 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary LT-4 SLP Edition

So how do you tell if what you're looking at or what you own is one of these rare 30th Anniversary SLP LT4 SS Camaros? Regular SS 30th Anniversary Camoros are commonly mistaken for these very rare SLP Editions, and that's because they're easy to pass off as one. 

All of the SLP LT4 Editions rolled off the line and out of the factory as an LT1 before being shipped off for the special treatment. That means even SLP LT4 SS Camaros will still indicate that it is an LT1 Camaro SS in the Vin#. 

First, to either begin or end the discussion of is it a true SS or not, look at the trim options. If it's anything other than a white SS hardtop with Huggar Orange stripes, your SS is not an SS LT4 SLP Limited Edition.  

There are a few places on the Camaro that will definitely give you the information you want if it wasn't removed post-SLP Treatment. Right above the rear bumper on the opposite side of the SS emblem, a special edition 330-hp badge will let you know if it's an LT4 SLP, but these can be easily applied to regular SS Cmaros. 

To get to the bottom of your research, you want to look inside the driver's side door and or inside the glove box to find the RPO code. This should indicate if it has been in the hands of the SLP engineers. But if you're still not sure what you are looking at, you can always call SLP Engineering, they are sure to have records of what Camaros they got their hands on.

1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary LT4 SLP Edition



If you do have a true LT4 SS 30th Anniversary Camaro in your sights, you're looking at a true collectible. These cars will eventually sell on the Barrett Jackson block like the COPO Camaros do right now. They're good-looking, powerful, rare, and fun to drive.

Happy Hunting!