Reviewed and Photographed by Peter Brown
For 1955 the Chevy Bel Air was all new, with Corvette-inspired styling cues. It was destined to be a classic, and now the Danbury Mint has trotted out this venerable old tool for a refreshing and a repaint to honor the car's 55th anniversary.
This anniversary edition is distinguished by a small gold plaque underneath, an all-new color scheme (the first monotone Bel Air ever done in 1:24) and best of all--the removal of the continental kit.
The Calypso Coral paint on this model is flawless. The cloth convertible top is nicely detailed, and the fit of the hood, doors, and trunk is excellent. Fender skirts are removable.
The Bel Air script is a decal, but the emblems are separately cast parts. Beautifully replicated full wheel covers mounted on body-colored rims complete the deluxe appearance. Also, note the dual side mirrors, and the telescoping antenna.
Out back this model really shines, with the long-awaited omission of the continental spare tire. It's about time. Additional details include reverse and tail lights in clear and translucent red plastic, mounted in chrome surrounds, and a separately cast Chevrolet crest and trunk lock.
For comparison, we've posed it with DM's 1955 Nomad in matching Calypso Coral with a charcoal gray metallic roof. Looks like a pretty good match to me :-)
Check out that jet plane hood ornament! Depending on the angle and the light, sometimes the nomad looks a bit darker, and sometimes the Bel Air does, but they are actually the same color.
Realistic scissor-type hinges under the hood reveal the wonderful detail of miniature labels, full plumbing and wiring, and details like the lettering on the battery and the throttle return spring.
Open the doors, with their hidden hinges and snap-shut latches, and feast your eyes on a wonderful, two-tone interior. The dashboard has readable gauges, finely picked out buttons and controls, and you'll find carpets, pedals, and even a headlight dimmer switch on the floor. Seating is nicely done in pleated vinyl, with seatbacks which tilt forward. Working sun visors round out the well-apppointed cabin.
Door panels are covered in matching vinyl and feature separately cast handles.
Check out the opening fuel filler door. Inside the trunk there's a realistic ribbed "rubber" floor mat, a removable spare, a jack, and readable jacking instructions.
It's a great looking model in this iteration, and one that will please a lot of collectors.
Coming or going (but especially going) this is the nicest 55 Bel Air convertible to come from DM yet. There's no new technology here, but a few well-chosen changes make this one a welcome addition.