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Why would you own a rare 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible with factory fuel injection for 14 years, and not want to drive it? Though not a junker when he bought it, the convertible took a year for the new owner to restore his prize 1957 convertible in 2007. Since its completion in 2008, it has moved 50 miles. Purchased earlier this year by another collector, and now he’s selling it. What’s going on?

Why won’t anyone drive this 1957 Chevy convertible?

1957 Chevy convertible
1957 Chevy “Fuelie” convertible | Getty

We can only imagine that this accurately restore Matador Red ‘57, including factory stamps, markings, and tags, sat for only one reason, resale. Otherwise, how do you explain the owner’s reluctance to drive it, ever? 

Far be it for us to judge, but now the new owner has sold it at the Barrett-Jackson auction last June in Las Vegas. That indicates it is no longer a car but a commodity. No longer a collector car but a money collector. 

How rare is this 1957 Chevy Bel Air?

1957 Chevy convertible
1957 Chevy “Fuelie” convertible | Getty

Even as 1957 Chevys go, this is a rare and desirable Bel Air. Chevy produced only 68 cars in 1957 with the mechanical fuel injection option. While the number of convertibles with this option is unknown, add to this that the ‘vert features a three-speed manual transmission. So this isn’t just rare, it’s a unicorn. 

Fuel injection was an unknown commodity to the general public in 1957. It was the first year the Rochester injection was available on any American-made car. So any fuel injection in 1957 is really rare. 

What happens if this Chevy convertible is in an accident?

1957 Rochester fuel injection
1957 Rochester fuel injection | GM

But it’s also a mass-produced car. Any damage, even being totaled, should this ever happen, can be repaired. For that matter, there are new-old-stock 1957 Chevy fenders and doors and frames floating around. The point is in the minuscule possibility that the car is in an accident, it’s easy to fix. 

The Chevy Corvette also had the “fuelie” option that year, as did the Pontiac Bonneville convertible. There, it was mated to Pontiac’s 347 ci V8 with tri-power. Yes, the mechanical injection had a crown of three carburetors. Wild!

Who else offered fuel injection in 1957?

Also in 1957, Bendix offered electronic fuel injection on Rambler Rebel cars. This was science fiction. But the “Electrojection” units had issues, and never actually saw a public rollout. Only prototypes ever got it.

And in 1958, Chrysler took a shot at offering Electrojector fuel injection in the Chrysler 300, DeSoto Adventurer, Dodge D-500, and Plymouth Fury. The 30-plus units ever sold were very unreliable. Most of them were replaced with dual four-barrel carburetors. 

Back to the Bel Air convertible, we’re sure it went through a frame-off, nut, and bolt restoration. So the entire car has seen every component, nut, bolt, and factory stamp recreated or restored. The territory has been conquered by many a 1957 Chevy restorer. Nothing is unknown, nor unobtainable. Hopefully, whoever bought the Chevy at the auction is driving the dog snot out of it. After all, it’s a car, not a doorstop. 

Update: 6/15/2023


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