The Backstory of The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Shows The Enthusiasm Behind Collector Restorations

Chevrolet

Collector cars can sometimes become even more special when you are aware of their backstories and the restorers that made them.

This is the case with two vintage Tri-Fives that will be offered for sale at the Scottsdale Auction with No Reserve: Lot #1007 is a stunning custom 1957 Bel Air convertible, while Lot #1357 is an original restored 1957 Bel Air hardtop.

Patrick’s Classy Cars of Phoenix, Arizona, restored both vehicles. Patrick, who was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, traveled to Arizona “straight from the altar” in 1987 with Jill, his high school love, pulling a U-Haul trailer loaded with all of their belongings (a car he still owns).

 

Lot #1357 – 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom Convertible | Photo Credits – Barrett Jackson

 From the age of 10, Patrick began assisting his “Chevy guy” dad, who had an auto repair shop. The young couple chose Arizona as their destination since Arizona was a popular destination for the restoration industry and because he knew from the beginning that he wanted to work with classic cars.

Patrick chose to start out on his own after just over a year of work with another Arizona company.

As a result, Patrick’s Classy Cars was founded in November 1988. Patrick is a specialist in 1955 to mid-1960s Chevy convertibles, continuing his father’s passion for the Bowtie brand, although Tri-Fives has always been his “calling card” at Barrett-Jackson.

Patrick is enthusiastic about his work.” It’s important to look after these vehicles on Earth, repair them, and buy and sell them, he says. We destroyed enough of these darn vehicles in the 1970s and 1980s, so I think it’s fantastic to see them back on the road. My responsibility is to make them the best they can be for the other person.”

Interior of Lot #1357 | Photo Credits – Barrett Jackson

 One of each type of Chevrolet that is built and restored by Patrick’s Classy Cars will be present at this year’s Scottsdale show.

A deep gloss black 1957 Bel Air convertible is the Resto-Mod, Lot #1357. It is well equipped with modern technologies, says Patrick. “LS3, tilt, bucket seats, cupholders, and all that nice stuff.

With that kind of vehicle, you cannot go wrong. No, in fact.

Additional contemporary features include keyless entry, an automatic trunk release, power windows, power steering, air conditioning, Dakota Digital VHX gauges, and a 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, CD/DVD, and USB capabilities.

Behind the unique power reverse-opening hood lies a 430-horsepower LS3 engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission  connected to a polished-aluminum driveshaft and Jet Hot-coated dual exhaust.

The modified Bel Air rides on an Art Morrison GT sport chassis and has chrome front and rear suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes, and Coilover shocks.

The interior of the vehicle is covered in black Italian leather, with black suede accents, a leather-covered remote-controlled center console, and a polished tilt column with a Billet Specialties steering wheel.

Under the unique power reverse-opening hood of Lot #1357 is a 430hp LS3 engine | Photo Credits – Barrett Jackson

 

Patrick’s Classy Cars’ second model differs from their normal convertibles in the following ways: Sierra Gold’s 1957 Bel Air hardtop is lot #1007.

The 283 ci V8 Power Pack engine, automatic transmission, front bumper guards, spinner hubcaps, and even a tissue dispenser are features of the beautifully restored original car.

This restoration received a lot of effort from Patrick and for a good cause. That was the final vehicle he and his wife Jill bought together in 2016.

Patrick initially intended to buy the car for the parts, but he changed his mind and chose to rebuild it. “I told my wife that I could paint and put the car back together in 8 weeks. It’s a simple car to do,” he says. Suddenly we both fell ill.

Lot #1007 – 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air | Photo Credits – Barrett Jackson

 

Tragically, Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Patrick was diagnosed with leukemia. Everything “fell apart,” says Patrick. The week before my bone marrow transplant, I lost her.

I was never allowed to say goodbye or do anything. It was horrible. I made the decision to send that car to Barrett-Jackson in her honor this year once I was healthy enough to return to work because I never got to say goodbye.

Interior of Lot #1007 | Photo Credits – Barrett Jackson

 Patrick firmly thinks that returning to work was a key factor in helping him in recovering from his illness as well as from the grief of losing his wife. Other than my wife and kids, my shop is the only thing I’ve ever had, he said.

“My store means the world to me. I gave it nourishment, cared for it, and raised it from infancy; it was my baby. If I had stayed at home, curled up on the couch, and floundered in self-pity, I think I would have died a long time ago.

We have no doubt that Patrick’s loving wife, Jill, will be smiling with pride when these two unique ’57 Bel Airs leave the Barrett-Jackson auction block and make their way to their new homes.

What a beautiful backstory of a car collector. Do you like classic cars? What’s your favorite? Please let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to spread the news so that we can hear from more people.

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