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Bow Tie Facts

=== "Tri-Five" 1955–1957 V8===

The 1955 model year Chevrolet introduced its now-famous small-block V-8 — the first V-8 available in a Chevrolet since 1918. It has a displacement of 265 ci. Prior to 1955, Chevrolet offered an inline 235 ci displacement in-line 6-cylinder engine only. The 1955 model, like its engine, was all new. The "shoebox" design, so named because it was the first Chevrolet to feature streamlined rear fenders, was a watershed for Chevrolet. The lightweight car, coupled with a powerful overhead valve V-8, became a showroom draw, but also thrust the company into the arena of competitive motorsports. 1955 Chevrolets went on to dominate drag racing and became a formidable force in circle track racing. In 1956, the design was lengthened somewhat in front and given a more squarish treatment; under the hood, engine power increased and a Chevrolet Corvette engine was available for the first time in a full-size passenger car. The V-shaped trim on the tail fins was filled with a ribbed aluminum insert exclusive to the Bel Air. The fuel-injected engine represented the first time that an internal combustion gasoline engine in a passenger car reached an advertised one horsepower for each cubic inch benchmark, although the Chrysler 300B beat that by a year in their 355 horsepower, 354 c.i.d dual-carburetored engine. In NASCAR racing the 283 with its increased horsepower gave the '57 a dramatic advantage over the smaller 265 v8 the '55 and '56 had. NASCAR held the competition, especially the '55–'57 Chevys to a cubic inch restriction because of all the races the '57s were winning. This restriction stayed with the '55–'57 till they were grandfathered out of the lower NASCAR divisions in the 1970s as the '57 was still beating virtually all in their class.

"Designing a Classic Car for the Ages"

The 1955 CHEVROLET

New Look!
New Everything
(The Chevrolet Motor Division used this information in sales brochures throughout the 1955, 1956 and 1957 model years.)

Take your choice of 7 NEW Power Teams
The most engine and transmission choices ever offered by the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors Corp.
  • 123 H.P. SIX with Standard Transmission
  • 123 H.P. SIX with Overdrive Transmission
  • 136 H.P. SIX with Powerglide Transmission
  • 162 H.P. V-8 with Standard Transmission
  • 162 H.P. V-8 with Overdrive Transmission
  • 162 H.P. V-8 with Powerglide Transmission
  • 180 H.P. V-8 with Plus - Power Option (Power Pac)

1955 Production

Model 150

125,446

Model 210

805,309

BelAirs

773,382

1956 Production

Model 150

157,294

Model 210

737,371

BelAirs

669,281

1957 Production

Model 150

146,080

Model 210

669,281

BelAirs

702,651

Wheelbase 115 inch's

Average Weight

3275 Lbs.

The Approximate Cost

Was  $ 2350.00

Air Conditioning 

Automatic Headlight Dimmer

Back-up Lamps
Bumper Guards Compass Door Edge Guards
Door Handle Shields Floor Mats Gas Pedal Cover
Glare shade Heater Inside Mirror
License Plate Frame Locking Gas Cap Outside Rear View Mirror
Park Brake Warning Lamp Power Brakes Power Seats
Power Steering Power Windows Radiator Insect Screen
Radio Rear Seat Speaker Seat Pads
Seat Belts Spot Lamps Sun visor (outside)
Tissue Dispenser Traffic Light Viewer Underhood Lamp
Visor Mirror   Windshield Washer

 

On 1955 and 1956 Models only

 

Exhaust Extensions Front Fender Stone Guards Remote Outside Mirror
Self De-icing Wiper Blades Single Rear Antenna (1956-Dealer Installed) Wire Wheel Covers

Fender top moldings were an accessory to the 1956 Chevy's.

Mostly referred to as "Fender Birds" - (chrome)

Options for the 1955, 1956 and 1957 Chevy's

1955 Model Year

All 150 models (1955-1957) offered optional carpeted flooring, passenger side sunvisor and a back seat.  Models without the back seat were known as the "Business Mans Model".  In the 150 sedan delivery model, the passenger seat was an option. In the 1955 - 1957 models, electrical powered windshield wipers were optional (except for cars built in California starting with the 1957 model as vacuum powered wipers became illegal in that state.  All cars from the factory from 1958 on were equipped with electric wipers as standard equipment. Rear fender skirts and continental kits, two kinds of windshield washer pumps, manual and electrical types were offered on all models.  Two tone paint (offered on all models except the 1957 convertibles) and full under body undercoating. The 1955 model year offered two optional engines over the standard 6 cylinder, a 265 CID V-8 with a two (2) barrel carburetor with single exhaust and a 265 CID V-8 with a four (4) barrel carburetor with duel exhaust. A manual 3 speed with overdrive and a automatic transmission (Powerglide) were the optional transmissions for 1955 & 1956 models.  Oil filters were an option for all engines in the 1955 model year. A fuel filter never appeared on any 1955 model as a factory installed option.

1956 Model Year

In 1956 fuel filters and oil filters cast into the block became standard on all V-8 engines. The 1956 model year also offered a 3rd engine, a 265 CID V-8 with dual four Bbl. carburetors and dual exhaust. All cars with this engine option were shipped from the factory with a certificate in the glove box that stated that the above engine was installed by the Chevrolet Motor Division at the assembly plant where the car was made.  This was done to provide documentation for owners who wanted to race the car in circle track and drag racing as a "stock, off the show room floor car" with factory options. This was also probably done to help vehicle owners who want to purchase first class car insurance premiums from norwich union or other companies that offer similar service.

The 1955 & 56 model years had three radios listed as options.  The 1st was the manual tune, 2nd was the push button radio and the 3rd was the Wonder Bar - a signal seeking model. The only way to tell the difference between a55 & 56 radio is the little civil defense marks on the radio dial.  FCC made it a law for these marks to be on all car radio's starting with the 1956 model year

1957 Model Year

At the start of the 1957 model year, Chevrolet offered the 265 CID V-8 with a 2 Bbl. carburetor which were left over from the 1956 model production year.  The engines were painted Yellow instead of Chevrolet Orange.  (Great trivia Questions). In 1957 the 283 CID V-8 with a 2 Bbl. carburetor (190 hp) version became the standard engine, with option engines that included a four (4) Bbl. (220 hp), 2 x 4 Bbl's (245 & 270 hp) and Fuel Injection (250 & 283 hp). All motors with 220 hp and up were equipped with dual exhaust.  A second automatic transmission called the TurboGlide was offered along with the Powerglide.

For the 250 & 283 hp Fuel Injection engines a close ratio 3 speed manual transmission was available. The manual 4 speed transmission was never intended to be installed as a factory option in the full size Chevrolet for the 1957 model year, as the only shift lever made by Chevrolet Division of General Motors was for the Corvette and was of the "Short Shaft" design.  However, this transmission was added by a few dealers and used one of the few "after market" shift levers that were available at that time.

It is to be noted that it was possible for a few cars to be built at Chevrolet manufacturing plants with a 4 speed transmission option, but this has never been verified by the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors Corp.

The TurboGlide transmission was discontinued in 1961.

Other 1957 options included a deluxe heater in addition to the optional standard (cheap) heater.  Some owners were not sure what was so deluxeabout the "deluxe option" heater as the fan was located far away from the firewall and you hardly knew that a fan was working when turned on. An optional vacuum powered ash tray sucked ashes into a can under the hood. A 12 volt electric razor that plugged into the cigar lighter was also available.

Two optional horns, including one optional with an extra high note and the famous Dinah Shore horn that played the "See the USA in your Chevrolet" song. The 1957 model year had the same three radio options as the 1956 model year, but also added a fourth - a transistor push-button model that eliminated the huge amplifier that was installed under the dash, above and to the right side of the glove box.

On the 1955, 56 & 57 models, the clock, three spoke horn ring and cigar lighter were standard on all BelAir models but optional on all other models. Factory A/C was not available in the 1955, 56 & 57 convertible models orwith any solid lifter cam engine after 1955. This was a dealer installed option.