1956 Chevy Bel Air Convertible / Photos, Specs, Styling Details, Engines

Here is a terrific looking 1956 Chevy Bel Air Convertible. The 1956 Chevrolet was the middle year of the popular Tri-Five Chevy’s which spanned the 1955 through the 1957 model years. The year 1956 represented the fourth generation of the Bel Air.

1956 chevy bel air
1956 Chevy Bel Air Convertible










The Birth of the Chevrolet Bel Air

The Chevrolet Bel Air model was produced by General Motors from 1950 to 1975. The Chevy Bel Air made it’s debut for the 1950 model year under the Deluxe trim level. During the early 1950’s Bel Air styling had minimal changes. Restyling did occur in 1953 which made the Bel Air look somewhat alike to that years Cadillac. Also in 1953 the popular Bel Air name was now made a part of an entire series of top of the line Chevrolet hardtops, sedans and convertibles.

The Tri-Five Chevys

The Chevrolet Tri-Five automobiles were designed under the watch of legendary auto designer Harley Earl. The engineering of these models was headed by Ed Cole.

The Tri-Five Chevy’s came out with an all new more modern design. Three series were offered. The top of the line Bel Air, the Nomad, the 210, and the 150. The Tri-Five Chevys represented three of the most legendary years of Chevrolet history. The popularity was due to more powerful engines along with the new great modern design.

The new 1955 Bel Air came out with plenty of exterior chrome and bright trim and the interior was loaded with extra features such as three spoke steering wheel with a horn ring, floor carpet, arm rests and an electric clock just to name a few. The new 1955¬† Bel Air took on the name “Hot One“. This marketing nickname for the 55 Chevy really took off when Chevy car dealers put these models on their showroom floors on Thursday, October 28, 1954. What the public saw up close for the first time was an entirely new car unlike anything before it and in addition to this new younger look was the switch to a 12-volt electrical system.

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The 1956 Chevy Bel Air Styling

The Chevrolets of the 1950’s had some beautiful styling,The 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air got even better. It is a stylish classic that’s a real head-turner.

Some of the new styling for 1956 included a full width front bumper, a fuel cap that was located behind the drivers side tail light, more engine horsepower and a longer overall length. The restyled grille design looked much better, side trim was brighter and the parking lights were integrated into the fenders. The rear small fins were a bit more pronounced than in 55.

The three Chevrolet models in 1956 were again the Bel Air, Two- Ten and One-Fifty and in all there nineteen different models offered. Most auto buyers in 1956 were looking for bigger automobiles with increased horsepower. General Motors understood this and their 1956 Chevys delivered. They not only delivered with their engine options but with an even more modern styling compared with the previous year’s model. One year later of course Chevy cars would do another restyling in a major way.

The 1956 Bel Air being top of the line had the most standard features along with the largest amount of exterior bright trim. Added to the Bel Air models for 1956 was a four door hardtop called the “sport sedan”.

1956 Chevy Options

Among options available for the 1956 model year were…air conditioning, electric seat and electric window controls, heavy duty clutch and heavy duty rear suspension, power steering, power assisted brakes, Powerglide automatic transmission.

56 bel air convertible









1956 Chevy Bel Air Specifications

The 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air offered several engine options. This was the 235 cubic inch Blue Flame inline six with 140 HP. Also three configurations of a 265 cubic inch Turbo Fire V-8 with horsepower of 170, 210, 245.

Transmissions for the 1956 model year included a three speed manual and a two speed automatic.

Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drums.

Dimensions for the 1956 Bel Air included a 115.0 inch wheelbase, 197.5 inch overall length, 74.0 inch width. Curb weight 3,525 lbs.

Total 1956 Chevrolet production was 1,574,740 units. They built  699,000 Bel Air models and only 41,268 Bel Air Convertibles.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

The 1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible

1955 Chevy Bel Air Nomad Wagon

References for this article includes..GM Heritage Center Collection..Hemmings Motor News..Book of Collectible Cars by the Editors of Consumer Guide..American Cars of the 1950’s by Auto Editors of Consumer Guide.

The 1956 Chevy Bel Air Collector Car

It goes without saying that Chevy Tri-Five models have been and still are popular collector cars. Original restored examples in excellent condition receive good bids. The Tri-Five Chevy’s are also very popular with custom builders and modifiers and chances are you’ve seen examples of these at local car shows.


1956 bel air









Current auction and sale prices for restored 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible example in excellent and original condition and relatively low mileage range at about $70,000 to $100,000 plus. The hardtop models generally have sold under this range with a few exceptions.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)