The 'tri-Chevys', 1955-56-57, are the archetype of American collectibles, combining the distillation of great 1950s style along with rugged durability. All are based on the same hull, which was updated every year, starting with the all-new 'Motoramic' 1955 that introduced the immortal smallblock V8 - still going strong 55 years later - and bookended by the 1957 that pioneered fuel injection on the hot 283cu in version. They were available with two or four doors, with either six-cylinder or V8 power, and for all three years, the top model was the Bel Air Sport Coupe, as here. 1956 cars brought with them more chrome, and more power under a 4in-longer bonnet, topped with a new, stylised jet-plane ornament. 'The hot one', with up to 205bhp from the new Super Turbo Fire 265cu in V8, had become even hotter.

Retaining its original body and chrome, this 1956 has been sensitively upgraded, at great expense. It was purchased by its previous collector owner at auction at Pebble Beach in 2004 and shipped directly to the UK, where it has been little used since. It retains a smallblock engine but this is now a freshly overhauled and yet to be run-in replacement 350cu in (5.7-litre) Hi-Po with four-bolt main bearings, roller rockers, milled aluminium rocker covers and air filter housing, Edelbrock Hi-Rise aluminium inlet manifold with Holley four-barrel carburettor, and Sanderson ceramic coated headers feeding into a new custom built stainless steel twin exhaust system. It is coupled to a recently refurbished (circa 500 miles ago) Turbo 400 automatic transmission with B&M Mega Shifter and a high stall speed (2000rpm) torque converter plus limited-slip differential. Boyd Coddington Junk Yard Dog 17in alloys shod with 235/45x17 tyres get the power down, and other desirable features are an 'Ididit' chrome fully adjustable steering column operating Flaming River power rack-and-pinion steering, ventilated front power disc brakes and H4 Halogen headlamps. Behind the Easy-Eye tinted glass is a new black leather tuck and roll interior with seat belts, Sony face-off stereo, Vintage Air air-conditioning system and a billet Chevy custom black leather steering wheel. The vendor describes '432 UXC' as being in "excellent" condition with regard to its engine, automatic transmission, electrical equipment, interior trim, bodywork and paintwork. While he adds that "This car has just had over £17,000 spent on all the right things which money can buy, and is surely one of the best '56s in this country for sale at present".

Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions

Chevrolet Bel Air 1956 Sport Coupe

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