They say it's a women's prerogative to change her mind. When Buda, Texas, classic Chevrolet collectors Doug and Marilyn Pederson purchased this '57 Chevrolet Bel Air in 1990 as a frame-off restoration, they were content to keep the 220-horse, 283/Powerglide-powered ragtop as it was-black and a fairly nice restoration.
Now, black's a nice color, but not exactly what Marilyn had in mind. So, the couple decided to change the color of the car entirely in 1997. Marilyn decided on the relatively rare factory shade of "Surf Green." Since several years had passed since the initial renovation, the Pedersons decided on a complete redo. With a color change already on tap, the interior color of the Bel Air would also have to be changed. Improving the quality was also an underlying factor.
Mike Dourorack from the Stainless Shoppe in Austin, Texas, performed all of the paint and bodywork on the '57. Every trace of the black paintjob and any previous paint was scrubbed from the '57s body before the car was bathed in the correct factory hues. The stock color-coordinated two-tone green interior and white factory vinyl power top is the handiwork of Ed Limauen of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
As '57 Chevys go, this one's fully equipped. Along with the aforementioned 220hp small-block and Powerglide, the ragtop boasts a laundry list of high-demand options. The list includes a 3.23:1-geared Positraction rearend, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seat, factory Wunderbar radio, factory power radio antenna, underhood and trunk courtesy lights, back-up lights, a "day/nite" rearview mirror, and power windshield wipers. Though not factory, the Bel Air was also equipped with a Vintage Air factory climate control system (not stock, but air conditioning is a must-have accessory in Texas). Adapted to work with the factory dash controls, the Vintage Air unit looks right at home.
In a restoration world hell-bent on data plate "correctness," how successful was the Pederson's black-to-green Bel Air transformation? To date, the '57 has won a Platinum Certificate (registering a total of 19 points) at the 1999 Classic Chevy International Convention in Orlando, and the Surf Green Bel Air also won the Cruise of Champions category at the 1999 edition of "Hot August Nights" (Reno, Nevada). In addition, it's won awards at the 1999 Good Guys Texas show (Coolest Classic) and a Best of Gold award at the 2000-edition Super Chevy Show.
If you think the accolades were the primary reason for building the car, you'd better think again. Dan and Marilyn say one of the things they enjoy most about their car is the ability to enjoy the company of others with similar interests. If it wasn't for the friends they've made and the good times they've had because of cars, the two would probably choose another hobby. Us too!