To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' Arizona event, 22 January 2021. Estimate: $60,000 - $70,000
Many awards, including 1990 AACA National 1st Prize Senior recognition
265 cu. in. V-8 engine; two-speed ‘Powerglide’ automatic transmission
Signal-seeking ‘Wonderbar’ radio
Frame-off restoration in its factory-correct color combination
Proudly following in the footsteps of Chevrolet’s new-for-1955 second-generation Bel Air, the model received a facelift for 1956; it is easily identifiable by its full-width front grille and further chrome detailing. Other changes included a revised taillight, brake light, and backup light cluster at the rear. Notably, the fuel filler was hidden behind the left rear light cluster, a feature first seen on Cadillacs of the era. These changes clearly resonated with the public and in 1956, Chevrolet’s market share improved from 16 to 28 percent.
This attractive Bel Air Convertible benefits from a very well-kept frame-off restoration, one which retained its factory-correct color combination of Ivory White and Matador Red over a matching vinyl interior. Just after its restoration in the late 1980s, this Bel Air received a national recognition, including, but not limited to, an AACA National 1st Senior Award in 1990, AACA National 1st Junior Award in 1993, and also a Danchuk Platinum Award bestowed in 1994.
While in the previous owner’s care, the car was prominently featured in a 2003 Microsoft training video; a copy of a handwritten letter from Bill Gates thanking its then-owner is included in the file. Acquired by the consignor in 2010, this Bel Air is replete with a bevy of factory-correct options and tailormade improvements, including power steering, brakes, windows, seats, dual spotlight mirrors, and a traffic light viewer. Over the past ten years, the current collector owner has always kept the car on a regular maintenance and driving schedule.
The consignor believes the 265-cubic inch V-8 engine and “Powerglide” two-speed automatic transmission are original to the car. The engine is equipped with a four-barrel carburetor. Inside, the slate of power features and color-matched vinyl interior is further improved by the presence of a desirable “Wonderbar” signal-seeking radio, electric dash clock, and chrome-dressed tissue dispenser. This Bel Air exhibits an abundance of brightwork; the set of chrome wire wheels wrapped in wide whitewall tires are accentuated by a set of rear fender skirts. A perfectly matched continental kit rounds out the exterior aesthetic oeuvre of this attention-grabbing midcentury convertible.
This 1956 Bel Air Convertible is now offered for sale accompanied by awards records, a history file, and CD shop manual. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/az21.