Member’s Feature - 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
Wilbert & Nancy Ball, Member #36
Hunt’s Point, Nova Scotia

by Gary Porter
2007 is a milestone year for a number of automotive icons. It marks the 75th anniversary of the 32 Ford, the 40th anniversary of the Camaro and for members of the Classic Chevy Club, one that is near and dear to our hearts, the 50th anniversary of the 1957 Chevrolet. It therefore seems appropriate on this auspicious occasion to feature at least one of the club’s many 57's.
Wilbert and Nancy have been continuous members of the Classic Chevy Club of Nova Scotia since October 1981 and have owned their 1957 Bel Air since 1977. This car was purchased from one time club member, Skip Collier. At that time he regularly traveled to the southeastern United States in search of old cars to bring home to enthusiasts who sought dry rust free cars rather than trying to repair the older cars found locally which had not fared as well in our climate. The ‘57 was originally owner by a farmer in South Carolina who sometimes carried bales of hay in the trunk. In 1977 he traded the well cared for ‘57 on a new car. The new car dealer then sold the car to the owner of a small used car lot just north of Charlotte, North Carolina. The ‘57 was only on the lot one day before Skip snapped it up. At that point the ‘57 had gone some 78,000 miles and sported black paint with a white top. Under the hood was a 265, two barrel with a three speed column shift.

Also back in 1977, Wilbert was struck with ”57 fever”. Car enthusiasts are often afflicted with this ailment or one of its various strains, such as Corvette fever or Camaro fever, etc. While not fatal, the only known cure for “57 fever” is to acquire a ‘57. Sometimes a second or third ‘57 is necessary to get the fever under control.
Having missed out on one ‘57, when Wilbert and Nancy spotted this one for sale at the Halifax Antique Car Club show in the fall of 1977, they weren’t long becoming its proud owners. Judging by the fact that Wilbert and Nancy have now had this ‘57 for 30 years, the cure for “57 fever” took the first time.

Wilbert and Nancy soon started sprucing up the ‘57. All of the chrome was replaced or rechromed, tinted glass was added all around, along with a few dress up items such as skirts, spinners, bumperettes and trunk molding. In 1980 the car was repainted all black in acrylic lacquer, which still covers it today. A southern built .040 over 327 has replaced the former 265, although cosmetically, appears to be an original 283 power pack.
Over the years Wilbert and Nancy have put approximately 55,000 pleasurable miles on their classic primarily within Nova Scotia. Wilbert indicates that on at least one occasion the ‘57 did go to Moncton.
What does the future hold in store for this ‘57? Well, after 27 years of polishing, the black lacquer is getting a few thin spots. Wilbert felt that new paint may be a good retirement project. However, as those who are retired know, somehow you have less time to do things after you retire than when you worked. That new paint may still be some time off now that Wilbert is retired.