Revell 1/25 '57 Chevy Bel Air 2 door sedan

KIT #: 85-4251
PRICE: $18.35 at GreatModels
DECALS: At least two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2 in 1 kit; stock or bling


The 1957 Chevrolet was introduced in September, 1956 by General Motors. It was available in three series models: the upscale Bel Air, the mid-range "two-ten", and the "one-fifty". A two-door station wagon, the Nomad was produced as a Bel Air model. An upscale trim option called the "Delray" was available for two-ten 2-door sedans. A fourth designation was also available in limited quantities, the Chevrolet "El Morocco", a custom hand-built Chevy mimicking the Cadillac of the era. It is a popular and sought after classic car. These vehicles are often restored to their original condition and sometimes modified. The car's image has been frequently used in toys, graphics, music, movies and television. The '57 Chevy is an auto icon.

Initially, General Motors executives wanted an entirely new car for 1957, but production delays necessitated the 1955-56 design for one more year. Ed Cole, chief engineer for Chevrolet, dictated a series of changes that significantly increased the cost of the car. These changes included a new dashboard, sealed cowl, and the relocation of air ducts to the headlight pods, which resulted in the distinctive chrome headlight that helped make the '57 Chevy a classic. Fourteen-inch wheels replaced the fifteen-inch wheels from previous years to give the car a lower stance, and a wide grille was used to give the car a wider look from the front. The now famous '57 Chevy taifins were designed to duplicate the wide look in the rear. Bel Air models were given gold trim: the grille, front fender chevrons, hood, and trunk script were all rendered in anodized gold. The base engine was an inline 6-cylinder called the Blue Flame Six. The engine was smooth running and more fuel-efficient than the V-8. Carburetion came from a single one-barrel carburetor.


Based on the earlier 150 utility sedan release, this is the first Bel Air two door sedan to be offered. Window post sedans are a bit of a rarity among model kits with most manufacturers building the hardtop versions. Not everything about this kit is new. The chassis still has 1997 stamped on the underside along with 'Made in China'. Of course, this will need to be removed by the contest modeler, who will also have quite a few ejector pins to worry about under the hood and in some other spots.

There are several bags of sprues (including a teeny red one for tail lights). The clear sprue and chrome sprues are separately bagged. One chrome sprue has the grille, headlights and other body bits while the others are mostly wheels, engine parts and the hub caps. The other bags are sprues in white with one containing the body, one with chassis components and the chassis, another with the hood, engine and some other bits and a fourth one with what seems to be all new parts for this version. It has the bench seat, plain door inner panels, rear seat, and the new interior pan. There is also a vinyl sprue that has the standard skinny tires of the time. Molding on all the bits is very nicely done and I'd show you the sprues, but not only are there a lot of them, but I'd rather not remove the body and chrome bits from their protective bags. One thing for sure, when you take out all the sprue bags, you'll not be able to get them back in to where the box closes flat! I found it interesting that things like door handles, the V on the front and back of the car and the fin tips are all chrome parts. I'd have though it easier to mold those in place to be painted later.

You do, of course, get the option to build either a standard car or the custom version. This means different wheels and really, that is about the only option available aside from installing the rubber tipped bumper guards as shown on the box art.  A very nicely done set of instructions is provided that gives you clearly done assembly drawings with each part identified and any painting information provided.   A superb decal sheet is included with this one that gives you all the interior matting and the various additional custom flames for the non-stock version.  A nice part of the decals is that some of the script and instruments are decals.


I am sure that car fans will be just as pleased with this as they were with the less common 150 utility sedan. We can only hope that this will encourage Revell to issue some of the more mundane car types.


May 2010

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