Plain and simple, the 1957 Chevrolet, more than any other car ever produced, qualifies for the title, "America's Hot Rod." There are a number of reasons why that statement is true, but suffice it to say, there is no other car so quickly recognizable, and so universally lovable as the '57 Chevy.
Watching the assembly and mock-up of Project American Heroes featuring the impeccable Cars, Inc. body and the incomparable Roadster Shop Tri-Five chassis brings to mind the varied reasons for the broad appeal of the 1957 Chevrolet. Since this Tri-Five Chevy is not a "five" or a "six," but a "seven," it seems only natural to consider the top seven reasons to love the 1957 Chevy:
Reason 7: The colors and two-tone combinations offered in 1957. The classic '57 styling came together at the height of the nutty '50s pastel colors. Even the names of the colors stir the imagination, names like Larkspur Blue, Colonial Cream, Canyon Coral, Dusk Pearl, Coronado Yellow, India Ivory, and my personal favorite, Tropical Turquoise. The '57 had the unusual ability to pull off any single or two-tone combination without looking bland or bling.
Reason 6: The "fins" actually worked. Although most finned '50s cars have all the styling impact of an '80s hair band 25-year reunion tour, the flawless execution of the '57 fins make the car memorable, yet understated and simple.
Reason 5: The 283/283 fuel-injected engine enjoyed status as the high-tech motor of the year. Was there any other car where you could say the size of the engine and not have to remember the horsepower rating? Was there ever a 292/292? Was there ever a 347/347? Was there ever a 361/361 (do Mopars even count?)? Never. But 283/283 ... you simply said the size of the motor twice, and you had the horsepower rating ... the majesty of the '57 Chevy.
Reason 4: The gas filler location in the fin. There's nothing better to ease gas price pain than opening up your left side taillight to fill up the gas tank.
Reason 3: The '57 Chevy was easily the meanest looking car ever with the simple removal of the front bumper. Though some may not believe it, the next big thing, already coming on strong, is the straight-axle, gasser-style street machine, and the '57 Chevy is tied with the '55 Chevy for second best gasser look car on the planet (sorry, but nothing beats a '41 Willys for best gasser car ever).
Reason 2: Reproduction parts availability through Cars, Inc. The aftermarket has done an incredible job in supplying all the parts needed to build these cars no matter how bad the initial starting point. Cars, Inc. is among the leaders that have made Tri-Five Chevys great restoration projects.
Reason 1: Project X. Granted, you're reading Super Chevy, so you might think this is some shameless plug for the longest running, most legendary yellow '57 Chevy that has been around for some 40 years from Popular Hot Rodding. However, when all is said and done, nothing fueled the love for 1957 Chevys better and longer than the monthly anticipation of seeing upgrades, road tests, or new motor installations that had been performed on Project X.
Now it's time to catch up on the progress of Project American Heroes. The ragtop is coming together with some of the finest parts and components available through the aftermarket. Seeing the Smeding Performance 572 and TCI 4L80E trans settle into the engine compartment were among the highlights. Doug Leetzow and Tom Gottschalk were on hand at The Roadster Shop to bringing the '57 one step closer to completion. It won't be long until we slide behind the wheel for a shakedown cruise.
Don't forget: This car is being built and auctioned to support Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and their families. If you'd like a make a donation to this worthwhile cause (or find out more information about the project, the car and its mission), please visit this special website, www.projectamericanheroes.org. Thanks in advance.