The 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air was a part of the first generation Bel Air's. The Chevy Bel Air name did appear as part of the 1949 to 1952 Chevrolet Styleline models. During that time the Bel Air model was part of the Styleline Deluxe cars. In 1953 the Chevy Bel Air came out as a new series rather than just an individual model.
The first post World War Two designs came along in 1949. This was the case with almost all automakers since it took a bit of time after the war's end to nail down new styling. The new Chevrolet Styleline models were a big departure from the 1946 to 1948 cars which still had the Pre War look.
The 1953 and 1954 Chevy Bel Airs came out with more modern styling. Fender protrusions shrunk, as did overall heights. The engine gained aluminum pistons and full-pressure lubrication. The main differences between the 1953 and 1954 models were a more powerful engine and a new oval grille for the 54 models. Two tone colors were pretty popular for both the 1953 and 54 models.
The 1954 Chevy Bel Air was really an evolution of the 1949 new post war design. Beginning in 1955, the Chevrolet Bel Air would take on an entirely different look.
The 1954 Chevy Bel Air, just as with the 1953 model, was offered in three styles. These were the high end "Bel Air Series", the "210 Series" and the economy "150 Series". The 150 Series had very little aluminum trim and used rubber floor mats.
Promoting the 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air
Chevrolet advertising of the time claimed that the Bel Air models were far and away the best looking cars on the road for the money. The one piece curved windshield and the new grille were emphasized. Chevrolet also offered new wheel covers as standard equipment on all Bel Air models.
Both the 1953 and 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air's were quite well known for their roomy trunk space. Probably one of the largest trunks on a non luxury automobile.
Some of you, perhaps not many, may remember the singer Dinah Shore touting the new 1953 Chevy Bel Air as "a glamorous new star". Dinah Shore may well have been Chevrolet's best pitch lady throughout the early days of television in the 1950's. The song "See The USA In Your Chevrolet" was sung to millions of viewers each week. Chevrolet did know how to promote their cars.
The new inline six Blue Flame 125 is considered my many to be one of the great engines put out by Chevrolet. It wasn't really replaced until 1963 so it had a good long run.
Chevrolet also put a lot of promotion toward the new "Blue Flame 125" engine with it's new Hi-Lift cams which were said to increase horsepower. It was claimed that the new lifters allowed better breathing in the combustion chamber thus more power.
Chevrolet Heavy Duty trucks in 1954 also offered the Blue Flame engine as an option. The truck version was a 261 cid engine in a modified block. Both the 235 cid and 261 cid's were also used on GMC trucks.
1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Specifications
Engines on the 1954 Chevrolet's were the 235.5 cid Inline Six with the "Blue Flame 125" Inline Six being offered on those models with Powerglide transmissions. The "Blue Flame 125" delivered 125 horsepower. The 1953 models came with a 235.5 cid Inline Six delivering 115 horsepower. V-8's would not be introduced on the Bel Air's until 1955.
Powerglide automatic transmissions were offered as an option on all three Bel Air models.
The 1954 Chevy Bel Air had a wheelbase of 115.0 inches and a weight of about 3,400 lbs. The vehicle's length was 195.5 inches.
Some interesting options for the 1954 model included a power seat, power front windows and power brakes.
The 1954 Chevy Bel Air Collector's Car
The 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air makes a very good automobile for restoration projects. For one thing getting hold of one will cost less than a 1955 to 1957 second generation Bel Air. The 1954 Chevy Bel Air is perfect for the cost conscious restorer and/or collector.
For the restorer, the pricing for a non restored 1954 Chevy should be reasonable, especially when compared to what the 1955-57 models command.
Parts for the 1954 Chevy Bel Air should be relatively easy to find. A lot of these Chevy models have survived over the years. The biggest cost if there is rust would be bodywork where sheet metal would need to be added. The other larger expense item, outside of rebuilding the six cylinder engine, would be new upholstery and panel updating in the interior.
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As of this writing, auto auction selling prices for the 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Sedan can range from $6,000 to the high $20,000 range, perhaps in some cases even more. Everything depends on whether the car is restored and to what degree of restoration.
(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)