Car Collector's Corner: 567 Chevys, Which Year Wins The Beauty Contest?

J Sutherland
by J Sutherland

Sure, beauty is only skin deep, but what car guy doesn’t get his head turned by a pretty set of wheels? Perhaps the most popular cars ever wrapped in a bowtie were produced in three consecutive model years. Which is the best vintage?

Few would argue that the 1955-57 Chevrolets have produced one of the biggest army of fans in the entire car world. The cars are the stuff of legends in movies (American Graffiti, Two Lane Blacktop) and song (Eric Clapton’s ’57 Chevy).

An entire car culture and industry has been built around these iconic cars. They are more popular today than they were when they rolled off the dealerships over fifty years ago. And it wasn’t simply because people liked Dinah Shore.

Today a well-preserved (or restored or resto-modded) Tri-Five Chevy will command big money for its owners, most of whom would not be in a mood to sell their beloved ride.

So we have established that 567 Chevys are an extremely popular trio of hot-looking sister cars. The million-dollar question is…which is the hottest looking sister?

A strong case could be made for the oldest sister in this debate. A 1955 Chevrolet changed the game in 1955. It was a radical style departure from the 1954 Chevy model.

A 1955 Chevy was the first modern post war look for a Chevrolet sedan. The post war look was modified in 1949 by Chevy, but the changes were nowhere near the shift from 54-55.

A ’55 Chevy was a completely different animal. It had a less-rounded design and it had the first vestiges of the finned look that became a huge part of the back nine of the 50s Detroit philosophy. The ’55 was a car with its fins in a training bra.

The 1956 Chevy was the middle child in the 567 family. It had a look that was very reminiscent of the ’55, but ultimately it forged its own identity in the Tri-Five family.

The fins were slightly more noticeable with a re-configured tail- light package and some cosmetic changes to the front grille components. You could definitely see a strong family resemblance between the ’55 and ’56, but many Chevy guys felt that GM got it just right with the 1956 model.

All bets were off with the 1957 Chevy. This little sister wanted to be noticed, and its big tail fins put the ’57 right well beyond the training bra fin stage of its older siblings. There would be no mistaking a ’57 Chevy with the other two in the Tri-Five family.

The 1957 Chevrolet also ran with a faster crowd. It offered the first production year of the legendary 283 engine. A bored-out version of the earlier 265 meant that a ‘57 Chevy was a little hotter on the street than its siblings.

But was it a hotter model overall? The question will never be scientifically answered because 567 love runs deep. The Chevy boys will have grounds to present a solid case for all three years of these 50s beauty queens.

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J Sutherland
J Sutherland

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  • Geggamoya Geggamoya on Feb 25, 2012

    I say -57 simply because one of my earliest memories is buying a Majorette -57 chevy pro-street diecast model. Wanted one ever since, though i would skip the red with yellow flames paint-job of the model.

  • Wstarvingteacher Wstarvingteacher on Feb 25, 2012

    Own a 57. Experienced all three. Like them all. Wasn't a whole lot of differences that relly meant much. Little bigger engine. Little more weigjt.

  • Tassos Jong-iL The Peninsula of One Korea.
  • Eric No, I just share my opinions. I have no use nor time for rhetoric from any side.
  • Redapple2 Jeez. This is simple. I 75 and 696 area. 1 nobody -NOBODY wants to work in downtown Detritus. 2 close to the tech ctr. Design and Engineering HQ. 20 miles closer to Milford.3 lower taxes for the employees. Lower taxes for Evil GM Vampire.4 2 major expressways give users more options to suburbs. Faster transport.Jeez.
  • Clark The Ring (Nürburgring) is the only race track I've driven on. That was 1985 or 1986 with my '73 Fiat Spider (and my not-so-happy girlfriend). So I made the Karussell (today: Caracciola Karussell, which I believe the author meant; there is another one: Kleines Karussell).
  • AZFelix This article takes me back to racing electric slot cars with friends on tracks laid out in the basement. Periodically your car would stop due to lost connections or from flying off the track and you would have to dash over to it and set it right. In the mean time your competitor would race ahead until faced with a similar problem. It seemed like you were struggling harder to keep from losing than trying to win. Fun times.“History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” Mark Twain