Thursday, August 27, 2009

1956 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-door Sedan

"It's the new 1956 Chevrolet - with bold new Motoramic styling . . . frisky new models . . . more of the dynamic action that's zoomed its way into America's heart!"

Upon its introduction in 1955, Chevrolet's new lineup had an bomb-like impact: in that year almost one out of four cars sold in the U.S. was a Chevrolet. For the 1956 facelift, Harley Earl's designers didn't slow down: the restyling costs alone summed up a whopping $40 million. A new full-width frontgrille, the restyled rear end and flashier side trim spears significantly altered Chevy's look, and kept it in tune with the times.

"The hot one's even hotter!", praised the advertisement, and under the hood, the 1956 Chevrolets lived up to their new reputation. While the engines remained the same but delivered more punch through a higher compression ratio, subtle changes on suspension and chassis improved ride quality and cornering stability. A welcome midyear upgrade was the optional implantation of the V8-engine from the Corvette.

Between the iconic 1955 Chevy and the flamboyant 1957 model, the 1956 Chevrolet is often overlooked. But it shouldn't: with this model, Chevrolet could expand its market share from 22 to almost 28% - not bad, if you consider that they sold 12% less cars than in 1955.

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