I have a deep affection for 1957 Chevy sedans – it was our family car in Canada from ’57 to ’63. I am surprised at the short space of time that encompasses – 7 years – when I compare it to the length of time that I have kept my own cars here in Australia it seems piddling. I got 15 years out of the Ford Ute and it would have still been going if I had cared to root out the electrical bugs. 7 years is just getting started.
Yet…we went all over Canada, the US and Mexico in that ’57 Chevy and more or less wore it out at the time. I wish I could have been more attentive in those days as there are questions I cannot answer as to the engine or drive train that I’d like to know now. I do know that when you are a little kid you can sleep sideways on the back seat for hours on a long drive. And the car track is exactly 4 feet eight and a half inches. We found that out by lowering the tyre pressure and then straddling on the main rail line of the Canadian Pacific Railroad outside of Calgary and driving along with hands off the steering wheel at 60 miles an hour. It sounded smarter at the time than it does now, eh?
Well, 57’s are seen quite a lot at Perth and Melbourne shows. I guess there is enough of a trade in their parts to allow for extensive rebuilding or maintenance with authentic bits. Of course that should not really be a hindrance to the dedicated car person – they will find ashtray springs for 1943 Hupmobile ambulances if they really need them from somewhere. Still, it is nice to have a selection of good stuff.
Every time I see a ’57 I indulge myself with the whatif’s and mentally plan how I would change what I see. It’s not disrespect for the cars or the owners as such – it is just the inveterate tinkerer and designer in me. I’ll never have the dough nor the time to do it, but the mental exercise is nearly as much fun.
I don’t think I would go though the exercise, however, with this red two-door ’57. It seems too nice and too complete to need any more fiddling. The owner tells me that the engine is a standard small block – though we didn’t get to see it open, I’m willing to bet it looked nice.
He was able to open the passenger’s side door for me, however ( That is always a kind act, hint,hint…) and the interior is just as rewarding as the outside. There is a style and flair in there that you just cannot see in a modern black/grey/silver plastic sedan. 1957 lived larger than now.
I wonder if they would let me sleep on the back seat?
Tech note: Car is a little redder than that – the Fujifilm camera mode is Classic Chrome and it dulls the colour slightly. But it’s authentic to the look of 1957.