The Bel Air name is closely associated with the Chevrolet Tri-Five series, which rolled off the assembly line from 1955 to 1957. However, the Bel Air badge has a more extensive history. It made its debut back in 1949 when Chevrolet introduced it on two-door hardtop versions of the Styleline and Fleetline models.

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1959 Chevrolet Bel Air

Changing Fortunes

The Bel Air continued its production long after the Tri-Five series was discontinued, but it eventually lost its top-tier status to the Impala and the Caprice. By the late 1960s, it had transformed into an entry-level model primarily targeted at fleet customers.

The Appeal of Third and Fourth Generation Bel Air

Despite not possessing the same glamour as the Impala, the third- and fourth-generation Bel Air still presents an attractive option for classic Chevy enthusiasts on a budget. Yet, locating an early fourth-gen Bel Air that’s remained unaltered and untouched is quite a challenge, as many of these cars were neglected after a few years of use. The 1959 two-door sedan featured here is one such unfortunate case.

A Neglected Classic

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This particular Bel Air spent more time parked in a yard during the 1970s than cruising on public roads. While we don’t have information regarding why it was abandoned, it appears to have been in Turkey, far from its US origins. The owner may have struggled to find replacement parts, leading to its abandonment.

Unsurprisingly, the Bel Air is in deplorable condition. The lower body panels show rust, some chrome trim is missing, and almost all of the windows are shattered. The interior has also suffered extensively from exposure to the elements.

Nevertheless, it’s somewhat surprising that most of the car is still intact. Peeking inside the trunk reveals that the Bel Air might still boast its original paint. The engine, however, is likely seized after more than four decades without a drop of fuel, and its condition remains a mystery since the hood remains closed during the video.

The engine’s identity is also shrouded in mystery. This Bel Air could be equipped with any of the three powerplants Chevrolet offered during the 1959 model year. As with all Chevys of that era, the standard option was a 235-cubic-inch (3.9-liter) inline-six producing 135 horsepower.

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For those seeking more power, several optional 283-cubic-inch (4.6-liter) V8 engines were available. The Turbo-Fire produced 185 horsepower, while the Super Turbo-Fire cranked out 230 horses. The same engine was offered with Ramjet fuel injection, producing either 250 or 290 horsepower that year.

Chevrolet also provided a 348-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) Turbo-Thrust engine, delivering between 210 and 315 horsepower depending on the carburetor and transmission configuration. However, it’s possible that this Bel Air no longer has its original engine.

So, what lies in store for this two-door sedan? Unfortunately, the video doesn’t provide any information on that front. The car is being hoisted out of the yard by a crane and loaded onto a trailer pulled by a Mitsubishi pickup truck. Whether it’s destined for a restoration shop or a junkyard remains uncertain, but we can only hope that this Bel Air is given a second lease on life. After all, these 1959 models, with their nearly horizontal rear fins, are far too stylish to be consigned to the scrapyard.


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**Q1: What is the history of the Bel Air name?**
A1: The Bel Air name originated in 1949 when Chevrolet introduced it on two-door hardtop versions of the Styleline and Fleetline models. It gained significant recognition with the Tri-Five series produced from 1955 to 1957.

**Q2: What happened to the Bel Air’s status over time?**
A2: The Bel Air lost its top-tier status to the Impala and the Caprice and became an entry-level model for fleet customers in the late 1960s.

**Q3: What is the appeal of third and fourth-generation Bel Air models?**
A3: These models offer an attractive option for classic Chevy enthusiasts on a budget, but finding one in original, unrestored condition is quite challenging.

**Q4: What is the condition of the 1959 Bel Air featured in the story?**
A4: The car is in terrible condition, with rust on lower body panels, missing chrome trim, shattered windows, and a deteriorated interior.

**Q5: What is the engine situation in the featured Bel Air?**
A5: The engine’s condition is unknown, and it could have one of three powerplants Chevrolet offered in 1959, including an inline-six and various V8 options. It’s possible that the original engine is no longer in place.

**Q6: What is the fate of the two-door sedan in the story?**
A6: The video doesn’t provide details about the car’s future. It is being removed from the yard but whether it’s headed for restoration or a junkyard remains uncertain.

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