1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe “Fuelie”
Unrestored fuel injection factory survivor.
The present owner has owned this unrestored, factory-original survivor fuel-injected sport coupe Bel Air (one of 1530 passenger factory-built fuelies) since December 1999. It is in excellent original mostly unmolested condition. This is a 283 c.i., 250 H.P. turboglide numbers-matching car. It was assembled In Kansas City, Missouri in May 1957. It has been driven 62,000+ miles up to the present time. The engine has never been rebuilt (hence the original patina in the engine compartment) and runs great. It has a black exterior with a red/black interior. The paint is mostly factory-original and the interior is still in excellent, beautiful original condition. This is a rust-free automobile and as far as I know the car has never been hit. It is a very straight car and as we all know a black exterior is not very forgiving as it will highlight flaws such as imperfect body work, waves, wrinkles, etc.. It still has the original rubber trunk mat with the embossed encircled “57″. The previous owner, because it had gravel chips in the rocker panel area (the 2nd owner’s house [in Nebraska] was next to a gravel road), had it repainted below the side trim. However, the majority of the paint is shiny original because the car has always been garaged. There are a few minor wear spots (mainly primer showing through the original paint) in several places as a result of constant waxing. Also, there are some gravel chips on the front part of the hood and there are minor scratches here and there. Overall, the exterior paint is in beautiful original condition. Under the hood there are several factory assembly line yellow chalk Xs (see pic) on the hood latch cover. I have been told by several Chevrolet experts that these Xs were most likely an alert to the assembly line workers that a fuel injection system was to be installed in this car. The rear spiral shock absorbers seem to be original to the car. The engine suffix pad has the stamping F418GF and this translates to Flint,
April 18, turboglide fuel injection. All of the fuel injection components are original to the car. As far as the owner knows the Rochester 4520 fuel injection unit has never been rebuilt. It has always run well
with minor tuning done every now and then. The 2nd owner, who bought it in late Fall 1957 (the first owner was a young man and for whatever reason his father made him return it to the dealership), said that he was informed that this car was a factory demonstrator to promote the sales of fuel injection passenger cars and because of this they made sure that it had the best components installed to keep it running flawlessly. After the factory reps were done the car was sent to a dealership near Omaha, Nebraska where it was sold. The 2nd owner was asked if he had the original dealer paperwork for the car but it ended up getting lost or misplaced. He did a notarized “Verification of Authenticity” for the present owner regarding his history with the car. He had also written a note to the previous owner detailing pretty much the same info. These documents go with the car. This car still has all of the ORIGINAL peripheral FI components:
– Vacuum wiper motor with the Electro-vac switch.
– Metal clip (on the firewall) to hold the electric choke “pig tail” fuel injection-only
wiring harness/connector for the air meter.
– Air intake hose bracket that is attached to the driver-side radiator support. Most of
these original brackets ended up missing or tossed aside in about 99.9% of the
original passenger car fuelies so this is an extremely rare, very hard-to-find item
and very, very expensive if ever available. This item is definitely NOT a repro.
– Electro-vac (with the original Trico string tag) affixed by clutch head screws to the
– Passenger-side exhaust manifold with no choke tube hole drilled- fuelies only.
– Original metal band to attach the air intake hose to the air cleaner.
– 3/8-inch fuel line.
– Original air cleaner with repro 4-inch flex air hose.
– Original fuel filter.
– Original 906 distributor.
– It has a later model fuel pump but a correct long-screw fuel pump goes with the car.
Also, the 2nd owner took out the turboglide many years ago and replaced it with an overdrive 3-speed manual trans. (the overdrive cable is disconnected and I don’t know if it ever was connected). However, he did keep the turboglide and somehow it managed to go with the car from owner to owner. I just recently had the turboglide rebuilt with NOS parts. There are hardly any trans. guys that know anything about rebuilding these turboglides but I managed to find a fellow (he passed away shortly after he finished the rebuild) that was rebuilding them down in Oregon. A fellow that lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada and who owns a restored factory-built ’57 BA sport coupe fuelie is doing a ’57 Chevy fuel injection factory-built survivor passenger cars directory. He has spent a few years trying to locate the real factory built ones and needless to say he has come across many phony replicas. He said that he’s come up with approx. 35 factory survivor fuelies (out of 1530 built) in various conditions. He said that 3 of these are very nice unrestored originals – one BA sport coupe (this one) and two BA sport sedans. So as far as he knows, this is the only very nice unrestored survivor BA FI sport coupe known in existence.
Several years ago a fellow that lives near the owner was restoring a factory original BA fuelie sport coupe and he would come over from time to time to photograph, measure and take notes because his car was missing a lot of the FI items when he bought it many years ago. The present owner was told by the previous owner that several individuals, who were building replica fuelies, would come over to his place for reference purposes.
It should be stressed that this car is a factory-built fuel injected survivor, NOT one of the many phony replicas that are prevalent in various car auctions, car shows and/or for sale at various venues from time to time. Quite a few years ago a fellow from California, who had a brother residing near where I lived, learned that I had an original fuelie. It turned out that he’s a respected authority on factory fuel-injected ‘57 Chevys. He contacted me because he wanted to see for himself if this really was a factory fuelie and not a clone. He spent several hours inspecting the car from top to bottom and he told me that this car was definitely the real thing! For anyone that is truly interested in this car I will provide contact information for this gentleman. The odds of finding an unrestored factory-original fuelie 1957 Chevrolet passenger car survivor such as this one are pretty much next to zero, especially one in this condition. So it is obviously an extremely rare car. All pertinent paperwork and names of previous owners of the car go with the sale.