Member’s Feature
Arnold Neil & Darleen Simpson Member # 66
1957 Chevrolet One-Fifty
Truro, Nova Scotia

Story & photos by Gary Porter

The 1957 Chevrolet is one of the great icons of the 1950's. The basic design originated in 1955 but was reworked for ‘57, making it look almost brand-new. 1957 Chevrolets were 2.5 inches longer than the year before and 1.5 inches lower due in part to new 14-inch wheels.

However, Ford and Plymouth both had new cars for 1957, giving them an advantage over the restyled Chevrolet. The result was that 1957 Fords outsold 1957 Chevrolets for the model year by some 170,000 vehicles and Plymouth moved into third place. Interestingly, Chevrolet outsold Ford by 128 vehicles for the 1957 calendar year. All manufacturers saw a decline in production and sales in 1957 as the American economy was headed into a recession.

Although Chevy's '55 sales bested its '54 totals by 415,677, Chevy's '56 car sales dropped 209,024 from the '55 record total. The trend continued in 1957, with a further decline of 98,469. Despite all this, Chevrolet still enjoyed almost 25 per cent of the market.

There were a total of 1,561,655 Chevrolets built in 1957. The One-Fifty series was the base model often used for commercial purposes such as taxis and, police, military and light delivery vehicles. One-Fifty series produced 160,364 vehicles or just over ten percent of total 1957 production. A little less than half of the One-Fifty’s produced were model 1502, the two door sedan at 71,135. This represents only 4.55 percent of all ‘57's.

But wait a minute, Arnold and Darlene’s ‘57 was built in Canada. Statistics show that 79,318 Chevrolets were built in Oshawa. While that figure hasn’t been broken down as to exactly how many of each model were made in Canada, an educated guess, taking 4.55 per cent of Canadian production, gives us about 3,600 One Fifty two door sedans. To put this in perspective, the rarest ‘57 is the Nomad with 6,103 made. This makes Arnold and Darlene’s ‘57 fairly rare
There are a number of differences between Canadian built ‘57's and their U.S. built brothers. These differences include:

--Canadian built cars had one piece front bumpers and all 57 rear bumper ends below the back-up light were blank.

--Canadian produced cars were painted in enamel, not nitiocellulose lacquer.

--Electrical components such as starters and generators were manufactured in Canada by McKinnon Industries of St. Catherines, Ontario and are identified by a green tag.

--Many of the cast components (ie: Blocks, Head, Wheel Cylinders) were made in Canada and are easily identified by the "CANADA" cast into the piece

In 1956, Goodspeed and Davison, the Truro Chevrolet dealership had a fire. A carpenter from Upper Stewiacke helped repair the fire damage. In 1958, this ‘57 One-Fifty was still on the showroom floor. The carpenter took it as payment for the work he had done. This became his daily driver, which he drove year round.

In the early 1980's, Arnold had a ‘55 Two-Ten two door and used to see this ‘57 around Truro. Despite it’s exposure to winter driving, it was still in fairly good condition. For a year or two Arnold attempted to buy the car, but the owner wasn’t interested in selling. However, as fate would have it, this person lost his license and decided to sell the ‘57, which had traveled only 42,000 miles up to that point. Arnold was there when it came up for sale and with a little haggling, the ‘57 was his for $1,350.00.

In the 25 years that Arnold and Darlene have owned the ‘57, they have made repairs and improvements while keeping the car stock. The original 235 cubic inch I-6, which makes 140 horsepower, is still under the hood as well as the column shifted three speed and the 3.55 rear end..

Arnold and Darlene replaced the interior with a reproduction one from C.A.R.S. Ronnie Dorey was called on to repaint the car in original Onyx Black. A set of radial wide whitewall improves drive ability.

Arnold and Darlene have been members of the Classic Chevy Club of Nova Scotia for more than 25 years having joined in May 1983.. They are also active members of the Golden Age Car Club and Ecklers Classic Chevy. They have no immediate major changes planned for the Chevy, although a repaint may occur in the future.

However, Arnold still has the original bias ply spare. The ‘57 now shows 82,000 on the odometer having traveled to most of the major car shows around the Maritimes as well as attending a Classic Chevy Club convention in Boston in 1991.