1959 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Sedan, 4-door, Series 1600
Original cost: $2,388.14 with options (In 1959: Average car cost, $2,200.00; average household income, $5,010.00; average home cost, $12,400.00; gallon of gas, 25 cents)
Base price: $2,048.88; options on this car: Powerglide automatic transmission, $154.70; 2- speed wiper/washer, $12.55; deluxe heater, $57.75
On loan from: Myron Smith, Lincoln, NE
Previous owner: None; original owner
Number made: 525,461, 4-door sedans
Engine, etc.: V-8, 283 cid., 185 hp; 3,649 lbs.; 119” wheelbase; color: Gothic Gold; roof: Satin Beige
Mr. Smith bought this car at the Lambrecht auction held in Pierce, NE in September, 2013. It was “brand new” having never been sold by Lambrecht Chevrolet Co. It has 2.8 miles on the odometer.
Ray Lambrecht’s business model was unusual. He only rarely sold used cars and, at the end of a model year, if new models hadn’t sold, he just stored them. For safety reasons, he believed in selling only new model year cars to families. He stored the unsold cars in a building until its roof collapsed at which point the cars were moved to an open field and left there.
Mr. Smith bought this car during the auction of Lambrecht cars conducted by Van Der Brink Auctions. The five unsold 1959 Chevrolets brought from $11,000 to $19,000 each.
Mr. Smith cleaned the exterior, replaced the faded rear seat and two of the tires with matching ones.
The paint is original as is the overspray inside the engine compartment. Many of the parts were apparently painted as units with paint going on the whole unit instead of just the intended part.
He does not intend to start the car because running it would burn off the original paint on the engine parts. The car in its original condition can serve as a model for others restoring 1959 Chevy’s.
Mr. Smith has been collecting Chevrolets since 1974 and said this is only the fourth V-8 Sport Sedan he has seen.
The 1959 Chevrolet was totally restyled from the previous year’s model. It had dramatic horizontal tail fins and the longest wheelbase available in low-priced cars. Thinner doors increased space available in the interior. The wraparound windshield and thinner pillars eliminated blind spots.
The Bel Air was the mid-price model and came in a hard-top and sedan. More than a third of the cars this year had 6-cylinders. Five transmissions were available including automatics and two manuals.
http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Chevrolet/1959_Chevrolet/1959_Chevrolet_Brochure/dirindex.html (Original 1959 Chevrolet brochure)