Back in the Fifties, General Motors was producing some of its finest-looking cars. Everyone wanted a Bel Air but only the well-heeled could stump up for one of the best-looking Chevys of all time. But a solution was at hand; the same car was offered — albeit stripped of most of its luxurious amenities. That car was the 150 and it was a massive hit with the police, small businesses and, more importantly, hot rodders.
It was the economy model of the Bowtie and made its debut in 1953, replacing the Styleline Special. It was spartan (you had to pay extra for things like carpets, the ashtray and even mirrors...) but although it may have started life looking rather bland, by ’57, it was one of the most stylish, affordable cars you could get.
Featuring the premium Bel Air’s stainless steel grille and front and rear bumpers, the 150 was a massive sales success and it was easy to see why. It had ample power and looked very similar to the flagship but was yours for half the price. GM offered it that year with a host of engines. There was something for everyone; the base was the 235 cubic inch “Blue Flame” inline-six, which made 140 horses. Next up was the 265 cubic inch “Turbo-Fire” overhead-valve V8, which was rated at 162 horses, but then came four 283 cubic inch V8s with varying outputs. The “Super Turbo-Fire” had a healthy 185, the “Super Turbo-Fire” with four-barrel carb made 220, the “Super Turbo-Fire” with dual four-barrel carbs had a very potent 270, but by far the most popular was the “Super Turbo-Fire” fortified with Rochester Ram-Jet fuel injection. It gave the Chevy 283 horses and was by far the favourite for those with a penchant for speed.
In total, Chevrolet produced 56,266 four-door saloons and around 75,000 two-door versions in 1957. Today, they’re still be less valuable than the mid-spec Two-Ten and the top-of-the-range Bel Air but some original, low-mile cars have exchanged hands for as much as Dh200,000. Cars that are a little worse for wear — but restorable — go for considerably less, just as they were intended to when brand new...