Showing posts with label muscle car. Show all posts
Showing posts with label muscle car. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Chevrolet El Camino: The Most Successful Car/Truck

 Yellow SS El Camino

The El Camino History 

El Camino is a Spanish name that stands for "The Road". The name and the idea was first introduced to the public by Cadillac in 1954 at the Detroit Motorama. Even though it received some serious attention, the idea never set sail, and Cadillac would eventually drop the project after about one year.

Ford saw the potential and came out with its own version of a car/truck called the Ranchero in 1957. The Ranchero saw such a good response from its consumers, like in true competitive fashion, Chevrolet was ready to get in on the game.  

The El Camino by Generations 

1959-1960 El Camino 

1959 El Camino


In 1959, Chevrolet relaunched Caddilac's El Camino idea based on the Chevy Impala Bel Air's frame and styling. But again, the El Camino still became a hard project to get on its feet, so the El Camino got the ax again after 1960.

Experts believe the reason for the poor sales was that Ford downsized the Ranchero from a Ford Fairlane-based frame to a Ford Falcon-based frame. This ultimately made the Ranchero smaller and more desirable to drive. This left buyers heading toward Ford for the truck/car vehicle and forced Chevy to put the El Camino project back on the shelf.


235 cu.-in. I6

283 cu.-in. V8

348 cu.-in. V8


3-speed manual

4-speed manual

2-speed Powerglide automatic

1964-1967 El Camino 

'66 El Camino

(Second Generation)

During the El Camino's hiatus, GM was taking notes on Ford's progress with the Ranchero. After a few years, Chevrolet decided they had the El Camino style and design right in the sweet spot for a relaunch in 1964. With a smaller frame and style based on the Chevelle, the El Camino started seeing good enough sales to keep it in Chevrolet's lineup for a while, a long while. The El Camino stayed on Chevrolet's roster for more than two decades with 1987 being the last year for the odd but successful Spanish-named car/truck.

One of the things that helped keep the second-generation El Camino selling so well was the engine performance. Since it was based on a Chevelle, the El Camino came available with almost all the same upgrades that were available on the Chevelle, including the 327 cu.-in. motor in the first two years, then a beefed-up 396 cu.-in., starting in 1966. 


194 cu.-in. I6

230 cu.-in. I6

250 cu.-in. I6

283 cu.-in. Small-Block V8

326 cu.-in. Small-Block V8

396 cu.-in. Big-Block


3-speed manual

4-speed manual
2-speed Powerglide automatic

1968-1972 El Camino 

1970 El Camino


In this generation, the El Camino would see some major performance upgrades to keep up with the muscle era. This would include an SS396 which had an actual displacement of 402 cubic inches (6.6 liters). The next engine up was an even more powerful LS6 454 cu.-in. that put out 450 horsepower and 500 lb.-ft. of torque. Yes, this beast was powerful and could run the 1/4 mile in the upper 13-second range. 

Then 1971 came around, and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) came down hard on all of the automotive companies. Mandated lower-octane unleaded fuel pushed for a reduction in engine compression, and GM's A.I.R. system (smog pump) was added to control tailpipe emissions. No more big horsepower outputs for the El Camino, and even worse for gear heads, most other cars suffered the same fate. 

Most all the engines in the El Camino lineup suffered about a 150-200 horsepower decrease. This was a sad time for muscle cars (the end of an era). 


230 cu.-in. I6 

250 cu.-in. I6 

327 cu.-in. V8

307 cu.-in. V8

350 cu.-in. V8

369 cu.-in. V8

454 cu.-in. V8


3-speed Manual

4-speed manual

2-speed Powerglidue auto.

3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic auto

1973-1977 El Camino 

'74 Chevrolet El Camino


This would be the largest and longest El Camino of all of the generations. The new redesign used the Chevelle bodylines and Chevrolet's station wagon chassis. This was without a doubt the most comfortable driving El Camino but was also the heaviest.  

The energy-absorbing hydraulic front bumper systems early in the generation years were truly undesirable. Moving forward it seemed that not just Chevrolet, but all of the automotive companies were in the business of making fuel-efficient cars that were both safe for the people and the environment. Through these years, the El Camino would receive a lot of upgrades including suspension upgrades, standard front disc brakes, interior redesigns, a lift in ground clearance, High Energy Ignition (High Energy Ignition), some headlight rearrangements, and more.  



250 cu.-in. I6

307 cu.-in. V8

350 cu.-in. V8

400 cu.-in. V8

454 cu.-in. V8


3-speed manual

4-speed manual

3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic auto

1978-1987 El Camino 

1986 El Camino


For this new generation, the El Camino would see some different changes. The V6 Chevy and V6 Buick 90-degree engines would replace the inline-six cylinders. The 454 cu.-in. engine was dropped for an Oldisomblie sourced 350 cu.-in. diesel powerplant. You had a choice of four different trim models: Classic, Black Knight (1978) Royal Knight (1979–83), Conquista, and the SuperSport (SS). 

The 1983–87 El Camino SS was offered as a conversion (completed by Choo-Choo Customs Inc., of Chattanooga, Tennessee) to include the aerodynamic front-end similar to the Monte Carlo SS, but it did not receive the L69 engine package.

Moving on with the times, Chevrolet moved production to Mexico and added a 4.3-liter fuel-injected V6 as their base engine for 1985-1987. The El Camano ended production in '87. 


3.3 L (200 cu in) Chevrolet V6

3.8 L (229 cu in) Chevrolet V6

3.8 L (231 cu in) Buick V6

4.3 L (262 cu in) Chevrolet V6

4.4 L (267 cu in) Small Block V8

5.0 L (305 cu in) Small Block V8

5.7 L (350 cu in) Small Block V8

5.7 L (350 cu in) Oldsmobile deisel V8


3-speed manual 

4-speed manual

3-speed Turbohydromatic automatic. 

Black Custom El Camino

28 Years of El Camino Existence 

It sounds odd that a car/truck would make it through so many generations, but then again, look at the minivan. The El Camino may be out of production now, but it is not out of America's automobile history or memory.  

You'd be hard press to show up to a car show and not see at least a couple of these El Caminos, either in their stock form or customized for show or drag racing.