1953 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

“Startlingly New! Wonderfully Different!” is how Chevrolet described the new models for ’53. This 1953 Bel Air Convertible with green leather interior is a loively example of the new look for that year. The new, redesigned look for ’53 looked fresh and exciting compared with the models that had served from 1949-52.

The reality was it wasn’t a totally new car and shared some internal parts and the chassis was the same. Looks wise there was a definite nod in the direction of its predecessor. Nevertheless it was a move in the right direction.

Bel Air now indicated the level of trim rather than a body style as it had previously, and it was top-of-the-line! Standard features included; rear fender skirts, chrome gravel shield and rocker panel trim, front and rear floor carpet (the 150 and 210 rubber matting), twin sun visors, two-tone cloth upholstery.

rear view

More distinctive, more glamorous than ever! The beautiful, new upholstery harmonizes with a variety of solid colors and two-tone combinations, is how Chevrolet described the new interiors in the Bel Air.

Stunning green dash / interior

Presented here in Surf Green, guitarists among you will know this is an iconic color that appeared on guitars back in the fifties and is still popular today.

side view of a 53 Chevy Bel Air convertible with the top up
side view with the top up

Power comes from the original 115 horsepower, 235 inline six paired with a powerglide automatic transmission. The latter would have cost the original owner of this car an additional $178 as the standard transmission was a 3-speed manual.

235 cubic inches chevy engine from 1953
235 cubic inches

1953 saw the introduction of one-piece curved windshields. Previously they were flat and made from two pieces and joined in the center.

The 1953 Bel Air had a wheelbase of 102″, an overall length of 167.3″ and width of 69.8″.

There were now 13 Chevrolet models available spread over 3 series; The 150, 210 and the Bel Air.


Option Price
Power steering $178
Heater and defrosted (under dash) $40
Air-Flow heater and defroster $90
Windshield washer $12
Autronic-Eye headlamp dimmer $50
Push-button AM radio $65
Signal seeking AM radio $135

For the 1953 model year, Chevrolet produced 514,760 Bel Airs with 24,047 convertibles (model number 2434) at a base price of $2,175.

This ’53 Chevy is currently for sale on eBay. (follow the link for even more photos)


1 thought on “1953 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible”

  1. I own an all original ‘53 Bel Air with 42k actual miles. It’s the most comfortable seating and ride of any of the other classics I’ve owned.


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1953 Chevrolet Bel Air

Facing a revived Ford Motor Co. that was determined to sell everything that it had on its lots, in the pipeline and everywhere else, Chevy entered the 1953 sales year with a problem. It needed some new product quickly, but the Korean War had pretty much halted everything from Detroit in its tracks.

Indeed, Ford, it was reported, was selling re skinned 1952 models and was forcing everyone of its sales points to move product.

Chevy needed something new and fortunately designer Ed Renner saw something and did some tweaking with existing designed below the beltline so that – while you could definitely see Pontiac’s influence as well – the 1953 Chevy Bel Air emerged as the top of the line vehicle with new rear quarters that were more bulbous that the earlier pinched hatchback style edition. Further, the front end featured single lens lights that were fared nicely into the leading edge of the finders and met the line of the hood nicely. The hood, of course, bore the telltale Chevy hump at the time and at the front of the hood was the stylized Chevy symbol. The hood, by the way, featured a large overhang that bore the famous bowtie.

1953 Chevy Bel Air

Renner’s rendition of the top-of-the-line that included not only a convertible but two hardtop models also featured an chromed oval. The rear decklid was rounded and fit nicely the the restyled rearend.

You had to give Tom Keating credit for giving Renner his head in restyling what was essentially a four-year-old platform into something that was new-looking, Ed Cole, Chevy’s engine guru who made Caddy’s new eight a potent powerplant, made his first appearance about this time and he certainly helped the launch by scrapping the existing six and adopting the 235-cubic-inch Six across the line with its 105 horsepower. This was to become the “Blue Flame” six that powered (or underpowered as the case may be) the original 53 Corvette. The standard transmission was a three-speed manual with the two-speed corporate automatic also available. There was another version that turned out 115-horsepower when mated with the Powerglide automatic that featured aluminum pistons and more modern pressurized lubrication system.

Mechanically, the Bel Air was built on a 115-inch wheelbase, featuring upper and lower A-arms and coil spring suspension up front and the 50s typical drum brkaes all around (one hard stop and they wend into terminal fade). The rear end was a live axle with semi-elliptical rear leaf springs.

Bel Air led the way and was quite a fresh look for an old vehicle and try as it might, Ford could not force its way to number one at the time as Chevy won this sales war and if you look at the lines they pointed the way to highly popular, million-selling Bel Airs of the mid-1950s, although the lines were cleaned up and leaned up quite a bit,still the 1953 Bel Air pointed the way.