November 23, 2012
SPENCERVILLE — General Motors executives wanted a new car for 1957, but production delays halted that hope. Chevy’s chief engineer, Ed Cole, ordered a series of changes that increased the cost of the car in 1957. These changes included a new dashboard, sealed cowl, the relocation of air ducts to the headlight pods, and the now famous ‘57 Chevy tailfins. The tailfins were designed to make the car look wider in the rear. Also, the 1957 Chevy Bel Air was the first car to have tubeless tires. Through the 60’s and 70’s, the ‘57 Chevy was a popular used car and prized as a “street machine” or hot rod. The ‘57 Chevy won 49 Grand National NASCAR races, becoming the only car to do so. Surprisingly, the ‘57 Chevy also won a vast amount of demolition derbies as well. The radiator, which is set back from the grille, made the car difficult to disable. The double lined trunk made it a common winner in the demoliton derbies during the late 60’s and early 70’s. By the 1970s, the ‘57 Chevy became a collector car.
John Radler Jr., of Spencerville, brought his 1957 Chevy Bel Air 2 door post. He has owned it for 15 years. This car was once a drag car. Radler enjoys taking his grandchildren for rides in the car, as they love it, and that makes him happy.