1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

The Chevrolet Bel Air was a full-size car produced by Chevrolet for the 1950-1975 model years. Initially, only the two-door hardtops in the Chevrolet model range were designated with the Bel Air name from 1950 to 1952. With the 1953 model year, the Bel Air name was changed from a designation for a unique body shape to a premium level of trim applied across a number of body styles. The Bel Air continued with various other trim level designations, and it went from mid-level trim car to a budget fleet sedan when U.S. production ceased in 1975. Production continued in Canada, for its home market only, through the 1981 model year.

The Chevrolet Bel Air, especially its third generation design, has been considered an Icon of the 1950s. Well-maintained and preserved examples are highly sought after by car collectors and enthusiasts.

The Bel Air received new, revamped styling for the 1955 model year. The Bel Air was 3,456 lb (1,568 kg) and 15 ft (4.6 m) long. It was called the “Hot One” in GM’s advertising campaign. Bel Airs came with features found on cars in the lower models ranges plus interior carpet, chrome headliner bands on hardtops, chrome spears on front fenders, stainless steel window moldings, full wheel cover, and a Ferrari-inspired front grille. Models were further distinguished by the Bel Air name script in gold lettering later in the year. For 1955 Chevrolets gained a V8 engine option and the option overdrive. The new 265 cu in (4.3 L) V8 featured a modern, overhead valve high compression ratio, short stroke design that was so good that it remained in production in various displacements for many decades. The base V8 had a two-barrel carburetor and was rated at 162 hp (121 kW) and the “Power Pack” option featured a four-barrel carburetor and other upgrades yielding 180 bhp (134 kW). Later in the year, a “Super Power Pack” option added high-compression and a further 15 bhp (11kW). Warning lights replaced gauges for the generator and oil pressure. This was not the first Chevrolet to be installed with a V8 engine; the first Chevrolet with a V8 engine was introduced in 1917 and called the Series D, which was built for two years, and was manufactured before Chevrolet joined General Motors.

On this Bel Air we will be swapping the engine for an LS3. We will also be swapping the accessory drive and radiator.

During…

We removed the hood in preparation to pull the engine out.

Click on the pictures to get a better look!

We have completely removed the engine.

The new LS3 engine has been painted Chevrolet Orange.

Click on the pictures to get a better look!

The newly painted LS3 engine has been reinstalled in the engine bay.

Leave a Reply