Friday, June 5, 2009

Classic Chevy's - 1955 Chevrolet - Part 1

A nation of drivers were home bound starting in 1942 with the beginning of the United States involvement in WWII. Automobile production was halted that year as manufacturers geared up to make airplane, trucks and tanks and what ever else was needed for the war effort. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the big three auto makers, GM, Ford and Chrysler began to reinvent the automobile. The 1949, 1950, 1951, 1953 and 1954 Chevrolets received only modest facelifts and were called dull but dependable. However, in 1955, 1956 and 1957 appearance and engineering was changed radically by Chevrolet. Who was responsible for the new Chevy's? Chuck Jordon, Harley Earl and especially Edward Nicholas Cole, Chevrolet’s Chief Engineer.

In May of 1952 General Motors, Chevrolet stylist and Ed Cole began a three year run on what the old car collectors 50 years later would call the best of the 1950s Classic Cars. The first Chevrolet produced during this new era of low price dream cars, was the 1955 Chevrolet. It was introduced as the "Hot One". A national love affair was about to began.

Chevrolet shed its dull old image in 1955, replacing it with all new "Motoramic" styling. "Don’t argue with this baby" warned one Chevrolet ad in 1955. Chevy did have a lot to boast about that year and it knew it. Completely redesigned, with lots of styling, accessories, and a powerful new V-8 it was generally the most changed Chevy since WWII.

p10001731p10001531The 1955 Chevrolet had 3 different models, Bel Air, Two-Ten and One-Fifty, and 16 new body styles! The Bel Air Convertible, Sport Coupe 2 door hard top, 4 door sedan, 2 door sedan, Beauville 4 door station and the Nomad 2 door station wagon. The mid level Two-Ten Sport Coupe 2 door hard top, Delray Club Coupe 2 door, 4 door sedan, 2 door sedan, Townsman 4 door station wagon and the Handyman 2 door station wagon. The lower cost models were the One-Fifty 4 door sedan, 2 door sedan, 2 door utility sedan and the Handyman 2 door station wagon. Even more appealing body colors were available in 1955, with 14 solid color options and 21 new two-tone combinations.

The new 1955 Chevrolet offered a V-8 engine for the first time in 35 years. It was named the 265 cubic inch "Turbo-Fire" V-8 which delivered 162 horsepower with a 2 barrel carburetor and 180 horsepower with a 4 barrel carburetor. Also available was Chevrolet's old reliable 235 cubic inch six cylinder that developed 123 horsepower. Transmissions included a 3-speed standard, 3-speed with overdrive and the Powerglide.

The new Chevrolet's were smoother, lower and longer looking. A grand total of 1,704,667 1955 Chevy's were produced, setting a production record in 1955. In response to this large demand only one question remained. What would Chevy do for an encore? The answer was the 1956 Chevrolet (Part 2).

Steve Farber is an author and auto related web site publisher. Learn more about the "Hot One's"! GM's Classic 1955 Chevrolet, 1956 Chevrolet and 1957 Chevrolet at his three web sites by viewing lots of seldom seen "Vintage Chevy Ad" pictures of body styles, body colors, interior colors. Plus, engine specifications, prices and production figures.

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