Monday, November 18, 2013

1953 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

"Here is convertible smartness beyond compare in the low-price field. Interior appointments include a striking new upholstery treatment with trim to harmonize with the exterior of the car. A touch of a button sends top up or down. Available in a wide choice of colors."

Did the Chevy bottom out? (Spoiler: it didn't.) The load of seven people transformed this Chevrolet Convertible into a veritable low-rider, but its cautious driver could avoid a loud smack onto the tarmac.

The 1953 Chevrolets carried essentially the same chassis and mechanicals as all their predecessors since 1949, but their attractive restyling made them look more angular and quite a bit lower, too. Which they actually weren't, as you can see here: bar of all chrome trim and painted in a matte white paint that takes away the play of highlights and shadows, the Chevrolet's "new" outline still looks fairly stout. True package advancements should come only in the latter 50s.

That said, looks can be deceiving: the buying public nonetheless perceived the 1953-1954 Chevrolets as being "all-new" models. Vibrant color schemes and bright chrome trim clearly helped to distract from their stodgy proportions. No less than thirteen exterior colors were available, and eleven two-tone color combinations could be ordered on top of that. Harley Earl and his GM design team had skillfully managed to add that little extra "bling" that made these Chevrolets look so outstanding in the eyes of their customers. In their class, doubtlessly, they were setting the standards in automotive fashion, and the rest of the industry only could follow.

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