Review of the
The New Chevrolet Bel Air of 1954 was in many aspects
the same car as the 1953 model. The only difference was small trim parts
that were altered. You can really compare the concept of re-launch an
old vine in new bottles – just like in today’s “new car” in certain
makers’ brochures. Maybe Chevrolet could ride in the lead a year more,
but things were to chance in the coming years. Later the war on new
inventions and design were in full blaze!
The early modern Bow-tie design of the Bel Air was a design that looked
in to the future with a good feeling and therefore it was no wonder the
car was a success immediately.
The model maker of Sun Star is giving us an opportunity to own both a
1953 and 1954 in 1:18 scale and also the choice between Sports Coupe and
Convertible. Sun Star has really shown they believe in model cars that
lay so close to each other, that there is a market for both.
The differences as stated above lay in the trim parts witch Sun Star
have made very well.
The major parts are as follow: Hubcaps, bumpers, ornaments, side mirrors
and taillights. Otherwise the models are near identical. The colors of
1954 are new and more saturated than the previous year and this model
here whore the Fiesta Cream. A fine classy color even through it’s not a
two-tone although the wide Bow-tie trim line has the Bel Air emblem on white
One feature that is different on the 1954 model is the missing carpet!
Maybe Sun Star made the 1954 model first and later the 1953. You can
also see the license plate is more realistic on the 1953 model.
Sun Star have made a fine model here, all the parts are well made and
fits okay too. The paint work and prep work is as good as it comes. If
you open the hood the beautiful Blue Flame strait six live in the engine
bay. Sun Stars models always give us access to the trunk and a quick
look reveals a nice floor mat and a spare tire – somehow they have
forgotten to give the tire some tread marks!
The Chevrolet Bel Air is a bulky car, and one can easily think that Sun
Star have made it even more voluminous. But no; the size is fairly correct. Try to erase
you memory of all the lowered Hot rod you have seen in the past.
The model is good when we remember to balance it with the purchase cost.
And Sun Star seldom let you down on the quality – So I will recommend
this 1954 Chevrolet Sports Coupe to you…..You must admit its look so
I will give this model
3 out of 6 stars ******
Below here are pictures of the model,
historical description, old brochures, technical data and some movie clips for
the real car. So please enjoy!
The 1953-1954 Chevrolet Bel Air provides an excellent
example of a popular practice in the Detroit of the 1950s called
re-skinning -- making an old car look new without changing its basic
structure by applying different outer panels. Nobody did this better at
the time than General Motors, and the 1953-1954 Chevrolet Bel Air proved
Swift managerial changes in the late Forties had ushered in Thomas H.
Keating as Chevrolet general manager, brimming with confidence about the
future and filled with expansive plans for it. By 1952, the division was
hard at work on an all-new V-8 for an equally new group of 1955
passenger cars. Meantime, they faced the problem of how to extend the
sales life of the basic 1949 platform, then looking pretty long in the
tooth. Re-skinning was the obvious answer.
The result appeared for 1953 as the most changed Chevrolet in five
years. Singer Dinah Shore, Chevrolet's TV spokesperson in those days,
introduced it as "a glamorous new star," paused while the camera cut to
a close up, then gushingly asked: "Isn't that about the prettiest thing
you ever saw?"
We tend to laugh at this commercial now, but the 1953 Chevrolet did look
pretty good in its day.
Stylist Carl Renner dressed up the old bodies with fresh sheet metal
below the belt, one-piece windshields (replacing twin-panes), and a
prominent oval grille whose three vertical. "teeth" provided a familial
resemblance to the forthcoming Corvette sports car. Rear ends on
hardtops and sedans gained a bulkier, more "important" look, and
introduced body side two-toning on Bel Air rear fenders. Artful die
changes also reshaped rear side-window openings.
Model-wise, the sole remaining Fleetline fastback sedan disappeared, and
the lineup was reordered. At the bottom came the low-price One-Fifty,
replacing the previous Special; DeLuxe gave way to the mid-range
Two-Ten. This year's top-of-the-line series took the Bel Air name from
Chevrolet's 1950-1952 hardtop coupe, which now became a Sport Coupe with
two sedans and a convertible as running mates. Lower-series offerings
comprised sedans, pillared club coupe, and Handyman wagon, plus
One-Fifty business coupe and Two-Ten Townsman wagon, convertible, and
On the mechanical side, Chevrolet scrapped its smaller "Stovebolt" six
and adopted the 235.5-cubic-inch Powerglide unit for all models. Higher
compression boosted it to 105 horsepower with stickshift or 115 with
Powerglide. The latter version received aluminum pistons (replacing cast
iron) and insert-type rod bearings plus a more modern, pressurized
lubrication system. Manual-transmission engines would get these changes
for 1954, when the six was retitled "Blue Flame." All this reflected the
presence of new chief engineer Edward N. Cole, who'd arrived from
Cadillac in May 1952 after working on that division's milestone 1949
The 1953-1954 Chevrolet Bel Air arrived none too soon. Ford, determined
to regain sales supremacy, launched an all-out production "blitz" that
year as the industry shifted back into high gear with the end of the
Korean hostilities. Forced to sell cars they hadn't ordered, Ford
dealers resorted to heavy discounting. Chevrolet had no choice but to
follow, and the race was on, though Chrysler Corporation and the
independents ended up the losers.
For 1954, Ford again face-lifted its new-for-1952 bodies, but stole a
march on Chevrolet with a new 239-cid overhead-valve V-8 and ball-joint
front suspension. Chevrolet replied with more chrome, a wider grille
with more teeth, new taillights, brighter colors, new interior trims,
and a fortified six running 115 horses with stickshift (same as that
year's 223-cid Ford six), or 125 with Powerglide (versus the Ford V-8's
The One-Fifty business coupe was renamed Utility sedan, while a spiffy
two-door sedan called Delray replaced the Two-Ten convertible and
hardtop. Finally, the Two-Ten Townsman was upgraded into a Bel Air,
bringing the series up to five separate models. New options, most often
installed on Bel Airs, included power brakes ($38) and power front seat
and front door windows ($86 for either).
Despite Ford's hard press, Chevrolet had added just enough pizzazz in
1953 and 1954 to remain "USA-1," producing nearly 1.35 million cars for
1953 (about 100,000 more than Ford) and 1.166 million for 1954 (about
20,000 ahead). The Two-Ten emerged as the volume leader in both years,
but the Bel Air finished a creditable second, rare for a flagship line
even in those heady days.
The Bel Air's success also indicated that buyers were ready for more
upmarket Chevrolets with colorful "living room" interiors; chromier,
two-tone exteriors; and ever more convenience options. Indeed, the
1953-1954 Chevy pointed toward the future more than anyone probably
realized at the time.
As collector cars, the 1955-1957 Chevrolets will probably always
overshadow the 1953-1954 models, but the latter -- especially the Bel
Airs -- are being discovered by enthusiasts as very pleasant cars with
significance as the last of the low-suds "pre-classic" Chevrolets, an
important transition in the make's history. That’s reason enough to
include on any collectible car list -- that and the bow-tie badge they
The 1953-1954 Chevrolet Bel Air had the performance to keep Chevrolet
ahead of Ford in the race for number one.
Engines: ohv I-6, 235.5 cid (3.56 × 3.94) 1953: 105/115
bhp (manual/Powerglide); 1954: 115/125 (manual/ Powerglide)
Transmission: 3-speed manual; 2-speed Power-glide optional
Suspension, front: upper and lower A-arms, coil springs
Suspension, rear: live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs
Brakes: front/rear drums
Wheelbase (in.): 115.0
Weight (lbs): 3,230-3,540
Top speed (mph): 90
0-60 mph (sec): 15.0