Classic 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air / Specs, Photos, Model History

The Car of the Year for 1955

The 1955 Chevrolet was a milestone car and represented a major move forward for the Chevrolet Division of General Motors. The automobile featured in this article is a 1955 Chevy Bel Air. This model which was new from the ground up was named car of the year for 1955. Marketed as the “Hot One” to appeal to America’s youth, the 1955 Chevy was an instant success.

1955 chevy bel air specs

1955 Chevy Bel Air

It was in 1955 that the Chevy Bel Air was equipped with a V8 engine, and won the reputation of “The Hot One” among car enthusiasts. The style of the 1955 Chevy Bel Air  is what makes it one of the most sought after classic cars  today. The design of the 1955 Chevy was considered by many to be far superior to any Ford or Plymouth produced at the time.

For 1955, buyers had the option for a new and smaller 265-cubic-inch overhead valve V8 Turbo Fire if they wanted something more than the 236 Cubic Inch Six, Chevrolet built a 150, 210 and Bel Air model.

The history of Bel Air started in 1953 when he became the new name for the high-end line of Chevrolet cars. It is in these first models appeared the unique characteristics of the car body.

The 1955 Chevy Bel Air

Collector cars from the 1950′s are thought to be the most coveted by many classic car enthusiasts. Many cars from that decade remain popular with collectors fifty years later. Among the top of that list is certainly the 1955 Chevy Bel Air, one of the most iconic cars of the era. Some would say that the 1955 Chevrolet is THE car of the 50′s.

chevrolet bel air specificationsWhen the 1955 Chevy was introduced, certain auto people were fixing up cars from a generation ago, such as the Model T, as a hot rod or track car. To compete with these improved retro cars, the major car companies had to come up with equally impressive automobiles. Thus, the 1955 Chevy was born.

The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air is today an iconic vehicle many times referred to simply as the ’55 Chevy. This 55 Chevy remains a sought after Chevrolet model for car collectors.

The 1955 Bel Air was not the first model year of the Bel Air. Interestingly enough, Often, it in many cases the first model year of a new vehicle ends up being remembered the most. In the case of the Chevrolet Bel Air things were different. The Bel Air was first produced by Chevrolet in 1950 however the 50 Bel Air was not the hit that the 55 ended up to be and therefore doesn’t have nearly the the collector demand the latter model has.

Chevrolet’s 50′s Tail Fins

The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air represents the first model year of a redesigned second generation. It introduced many features that would become popular in cars from the 1950′s. One of the things that the 1955 Chevy Bel Air did was add tail fins to the Chevy line. These fins were not nearly as large as fins would eventually get. The model years afterward would see car fins become much larger. The stylish tail fins of the 1957 Chevrolet make it a real competitor for the top spot with the 55 model.

The Bel Air design was so strong and popular that the line itself would sell in the United States until 1975. Much of the Bel Air’s appeal throughout the years had it’s roots going straight back to those second generation Chevy’s.

1955 Chevy Bel Air Specifications

Available engines on the 1955 Chevy were a 235 cubic inch Inline Six and two V-8′s, one with a double barrel carburetor and one with a four barrel. The Bel Air model came only with a V-8. Horsepower in that order was 123, 162, 180.

1955 chevy bel air dashboard

55 Chevy Bel Air dashboard

Transmissions available were a three speed manual and a Pwerglide automatic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Dimensions included a 115.9 inch wheelbase, an overall outside length of 195.6 inches and a weight of about 3,300 lbs.

New car price range for the 1955 Chevy Bel Air (excluding wagons) was $1,950 to $2,300.

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The 1955 Chevrolet Collector Car Popularity and Values

Nostalgia is one big reason that the second generation Chevrolet Bel Air’s are some of the most popular with collectors. Many of these owners are people who grew up during the 1950′s.  Some will also tell you that they believe that automobiles in general were made better during that era. Many old cars, including the 1955 Chevy, were bigger and had bigger engines. This is a big plus for collectors.

55 chevy bel air

The 55 Chevy’s small rear fin

As far as design goes, most automobiles produced during the 1950′s have very distinctive. styling. Today, many automobile models look visually the same as their competitors. In many cases today styling takes a back seat to fuel economy. The decade of the 50′s, before safety regulations and emission controls were mandated, was an era of very creative design innovation by some top stylists, such as Harley Earl and Virgil Exner to name just a few, and as a result most people can identify a 1950′s brand automobile by simply looking at the car from a distance.

As of this writing, top valuations for the 1955 Chevy Bel Air ranges from about $25,000 to $95,000. This is for a professionally restored model. The much higher valued Bel Air would typically be the two door convertible.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1965 Ford Falcon Station Wagon / All Model Details, Photos

The automobile featured in this article is a 1965 Ford Falcon Four Door Station Wagon.

1965 ford falcon wagon

1965 Ford Falcon Four Door Wagon

Ford Motor Company produced the Ford Falcon from 1960 to 1970. It should be noted that Ford Motor in Australia did produce the Falcon past 1970.

Ford also produced a two door wagon. Ford made many different types of Falcons. These included sedans, convertibles, Falcon Sprints, the Ranchero, an Econoline Passenger Van and of course the two types of wagons. The top trim level for the 65 Falcon was the Futura series.

The 1965 Falcon’s were of the second generation models. A major redesign took place for the 1964 model year which gave the vehicle a more squared and modern appearance. The Ford Mustang came out in late 1964 and was essentially built on a Falcon frame. Ironically, it was the popular Mustang that pretty much caused the Falcon to disappear in 1970.

ford falcon wagon specsThe Ford Falcon Model

When the concept of the Ford Falcon model hit the drawing boards, the goal was to create a good selling economy compact. In fact, compact economy automobiles were important class beginning that year. Styling originally took a back seat. In 1960 the engine was simply a 144 cubic inch six with 90 HP. A V-8 would be introduced to the Falcon in 1963. The Falcon first came out with two- and four-door sedan body styles to be followed shortly after with two- and four-door station wagons along with Rancheros.

Interestingly enough, in 1963 Ford turned to building a few Falcons specially for European Rally’s with the intention of changing the car’s image from stodgy to something more sporty. The result was the Ford did pretty well in Europe during 1963-64 with the Falcon capturing several wins and second place finishes.

The 1965 Falcon Wagon

On the design standpoint, the 1965 Ford Falcon Wagon carried the new more squared design introduced in 1964.

The Ford Falcon Wagon was a good looking automobile and was considered economical to own. The new car base price for the 65 Ford Falcon Wagon was about $2,300. The Falcon Wagon was advertised as giving a smooth and comfortable  ride  Ford compared the smoothness to a ride in a big sedan.

1965 Ford Falcon Four Door Wagon Specifications

Several engines were available in 1965 for the Falcon wagons. These included two L-head sixes, at 200 cubic inches, and 223 cubic inches with 116 and 138 HP respectively, and a 260 cubic inch V-8 rated at  260 HP.

Transmission choices included a three speed manual or an optional Cruise-O-Matic automatic.

Dimensions included a wheelbase of 109.5 inches, an overall length of 190.0 inches, height of 54.9 inches, width of 71.6 inches. Curb weight varies slightly by two or four door model but the average is about 2,765 lbs.

Total Ford production for the 1965 model year was 2,171,000 vehicles. Out of that number there were 186,000 Falcon model built. Out of that number there were a total of 14,900 Falcon station wagons produced. The majority were four door wagons where only 4,900 two door wagons were made.

65 ford falcon station wagonFord Falcon Station Wagons Collector Valuations

We believe that the Ford Falcon, particularly during the first half of the 1960′s, is an collector car. This is the era prior to and at the time of the Mustang introduction.

Looking at 1965 Falcons as an example, the entire line is relatively inexpensive for someone wanting to start a collection. The highest valued model would likely be the two door convertible with the top prices ranging from about $14,000 to $20,000.

The 65 Falcon Wagon top values are in a range from about $7,000 to $11,000. Both the two and four door wagons fit in this same range.

falcon wagon dashboard

Falcon Wagon dash

The Ford Falcon Sprint is a car that had a lot in common with the Mustang and at first was in netter supply at dealers than the Mustang. The Falcon Sprint is a sporty vehicle with power and compares favorably, by some, with the Mustang. Remember, they were building Mustangs on Falcon chassis.

There are many Ford Falcon enthusiasts and an excellent resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the Falcon may want to connect with the Falcon Club of America (www.falconclub.com).

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

 

The 1951 Cadillac Series 61 Sedan / Photos, All Details

The automobile featured in this article is a beautifully restored 1951 Cadillac Series 61 Sedan. The 1951 model year was the last for the Cadillac Series 61. The Series 61 was popular in as much as it offered a lower priced Cadillac but still offered the smooth Cadillac ride not to mention carrying the prestigious Cadillac badge.

1951 cadillac series 61

1951 Cadillac Series 61 Sedan

Cadillac initially came up with their Series 61 due to the Great Depression which of course put downward pressure on prices. Price point, even to sell Cadillacs, was important. Some of the independent luxury automakers that didn’t have the resources of a company like GM simply went out of business.

The New Post War Cadillac Design

New post war Cadillac design was introduced with the 1948 model. Up until that point designs had their roots in the pre war models. The 1948 Cadillac came in a Sixty-One model and a Sixty-Two Model. Among other differences, the Sixty-One Series had less trim than the Sixty-Twos.

The new post war design was spearheaded by Frank Hershey, working under Harley Earl, who is credited for the first tail fins on a Cadillac, and the 1955 Thunderbird.

These automobiles considered some of the most elegant automobiles of that period with smooth flowing lines. The new design also sported a tail fin that housed the tail lights. These new tail fins were reportedly had their origins based on the P-38 military fighter airplane. Fins would become a trademark of Cadillacs for many years thereafter. The 48 model year will always be remembered as the year Cadillac came out with tail fins which hit it’s most extravagant design in the 1958 to 1960 period.

In 1949 the most significant engineering change involved the introduction of the new overhead valve 331 cubic inch V8 engine.

cadillac series 61 specificationsThe 1951 Cadillac Series 61

A major design change occurred in 1950. These changes included a longer rear deck, a lower and heavier look and a broken rear fender line. Also, 1950 saw the new one piece windshield. The 1951 model had a minor facelift from the previous year.

As mentioned above, the 1951 Cadillac Series 61 was the lower priced Cadillac. This model also had a shorter wheelbase than the Series 62. (122 inch vs.126 inch)

Cadillac had mixed results catering to middle class buyers. No doubt a strong effort was made to accomplish this but the Series 61 was discontinued in mid-year. The most popular seller in 1951 was Cadillac’s Series 62 four door sedan. The Cadillac Series 62 was available as a pillared coupe, convertible or Coupe de Ville.

1951 Cadillac Series 61 Specifications

Standard engine for the 1951 Cadillac 61 Sedan was a 331 cubic inch V-8. Horsepower was rated at 160. Top speed for this model came in at just under 100 MPH.

Gearbox was a three speed manual or a four speed Hydra-Matic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Front suspension were independent coil springs with rear being semi-ellipical leaf springs.

Dimensions and weight include a wheelbase of 122.0 inches, an overall length of 211.5 inches, width 80.123 inches, height 61.69 inches and a curb weight of about of 4,000 lbs. The Hydra-Matic model about 4,100 lbs. New car price for the 51 Cadillac Series 61 Sedan was about $2,700.

Total 1951 production of the Cadillac Series 6

was about 4,700 vehicles. Out of this total 2,300 Series 61 Sedans were built.

You may also enjoy the additional Auto Museum Online articles found on the links below…

The Classic 1955 Cadillac Coupe deVille

The 1958 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1950 car fins

Distinctive tail fin with enclosed taillight

Reference material for this article included, GM Archives, The Book of Collector Cars, American Automobile History, NADA.

1951 Cadillac Collector Cars and Values

We believe that basically all Cadillacs from the early 1900′s through the 1950′s make good collector cars. The 1948 Cadillac can be considered a milestone car in as much as it represents the new post war design.

Cadillacs from 1950 through 1956 are especially popular starting with the significant design change of 1950. Cadillacs had the distinction of looking unique. During this period when you saw a Cadillac you knew beyond doubt that it was a Cadillac. The 1955 classic Coupe deVille is an excellent example.

1951 cadillac design

Taillight in fin styling

In general, values for very good conditioned and better 1951 Cadillac Series 61 range from about $11,000 to $25,000. The top price in this category is a professionally restored model. Interestingly enough, the Two Door Coupe appears to garner $5,000 to $10,000 more than the sedans. For the 1951 model year the Cadillac Series 62 Convertible comes in at the highest valuation in a range of $50,000 to $90,000. Again, this range goes from very good to excellent. The higher prices are not considered daily drivers.

An excellent website for Cadillac enthusiasts is ...http://www.cadillaccountryclub.com/   Here you will find information ranging from classics to the new Cadillac Escalade. For a list of Cadillac Car Clubs see website…http://www.carclubsworldwide.com/cadillac-car-clubs.php

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)