November 3, 2011 marked Chevrolet’s Centennial. What a great time to reflect on this automotive icon.
My connection to Chevrolet goes back to my childhood because all the cars that my dad owned were Chevys. The first one I remember well was a 1953 Two-Ten 2-door sedan with a Blue Flame Six engine. This car was replaced by a coral pink with white top, 1957 Bel Air 4-door sedan with a 283 V-eight engine. I remember washing this car many times and cleaning the vinyl interior with saddle soap. This probably launched my desire to own a 1957 Chevy of my own.
Yes, my first car was a 1957 Bel Air sport coupe. This iconic car would be the first in a line of my Chevrolet ownership. Next, I ordered a 1969 Chevelle 2-door coupe in LeMans blue with black vinyl top with a 307 V-eight engine before I got out of the Navy. I drove this sporty car through college, when I entered corporate America.
The Chevrolet brand served me well as company cars. The first of these was a silver with black vinyl top 1975 Malibu 2-door Colonade Coupe, followed by a two-tone blue 1980 Citation 2-door hatchback coupe and a 1985 Citation 4-door hatchback sedan.
As you can see, I owned some of the brand’s best over some 30 years. The 1957 Chevrolet is still popular in today’s collectible marketplace. The mid-1970’s Chevelles and Malibus were respected in their market. The 1980’s Citations were somewhat popular as economic models.
It was great owning one of Chevrolet’s most popular models. I salute the Chevrolet Centennial and wish the company much success in its next 100 years.
For more on our automotive heritage follow this link.
An Internet search on the term “my first car” yields over a million results. I would like to share the story of my first car and hopefully start a discussion on the topic.
During my school break in the summer of 1965, I worked at an engineering company and one of my fellow employees announced that he had a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sport coupe hardtop for sale. This was an opportune event for a genuine car nut in the making. Ever since their introduction eight years earlier, I was drawn to the styling of these cars. So, I quickly arranged a meeting to inspect this automotive icon.
Upon arriving at the meeting, I saw “My First Car” in the flesh. It was a two-tone hardtop with an India Ivory top, Canyon Coral body, and black interior with silver accents. This was one of the most popular combinations for the sport coupe. It was powered by a 283 V-8 and a Turboglide transmission. The car passed the test drive, and I purchased my jewel for only $300.
I was proud of my purchase and couldn’t wait to get home and show this gem to my buddies. That night, we cruised to the Teepee and Pole drive-in restaurants to show my cool car. We also used my car to go to drive-in movies and the weekend drag races at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Those weeks with “my first car” were ideal.
In the fall, I noticed the engine had high oil consumption. After some checking around, I found out the engine needed some major work that I couldn’t afford on my college student earnings. Sadly, I decided to sell the ’57 Chevy and look for another car.
If only I knew then what I know now. I wish I would have kept this automotive icon. Today, 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sport coupe hardtops in number 1 condition go for $77,500. If “my first car” was still in this condition, I’d be in one happy auto enthusiast.
There are thousands of stories like mine. So, now it’s your turn. Tell us about your first car.