1955 Chevrolet

The 1955 Chevrolet: An Automotive Icon

The 1955 Chevrolet was a huge success for car dealers. It was produced from 1954-1955. One of the reasons for the remarkable popularity of the 1955 Chevy was that the 1955 model year was a year of many firsts for Chevrolet and this was considered a huge turning point for the truck maker. Keep reading to read about why the 1955 Chevrolet is one of the most recognizable vehicles in the world!

The 1955 Chevrolet has been made appearances in hundreds of Hollywood films over the years.  Want a good, famous example? It was in American Graffiti that Harrison Ford made his first appearance in a movie driving a black 1955 Chevy that challenged John Milner (Paul Lemat) in a yellow 1932 Ford 5 window coupe.

Perhaps the big, popular characteristic for the 1955 model year was a drastically new body design. Although Ford had already decided on a “shoe box” body design (with no external fenders) in 1949, Chevy was slowly doing the same through the early 1950s. In 1955, Chevy caught up with Ford with their body design by leaping to a genuine shoebox look. This look had smooth straight panels on both the sides and hood, wrap-around glass on the truck’s windshield, and triangular tail lights that jutted outward. And that new look, combined with new engineering and power, made the ’55 an instant hit and an important success.

The next trait that was a huge hit was the available V8 engine. In 1918 Chevrolet had produced an earlier car with a V8, which was a 288-cubic-inch V8, but it remained in production for only one year. This new 1955 265-cubic-inch overhead valve V8 was designed to be lighter, smaller and more powerful than previous V8s in the automobile industry. This is what the Sales Manager at Lynch Chevrolet of Mukwonago of Mukwonago, WI, a full-service car dealership, told us.

The 1955 Chevrolet also offered many other firsts for the Chevrolet brand, including changing from a 6- to 12-volt electrical unit. And new options like air conditioning, power seats, power windows, power brakes and power steering were available. Never before had so many options been offered for a car for this low of a price.

The 55’s top trim offering was the Bel-Air. This trim had more chrome than the 150 or 210. The Bel-Air 210 could be purchased with or without a post between the front and rear passenger windows. The Bel-Air was available in a convertible, with the same longer rear deck as the sport coupe. The convertible was offered only in the Bel-Air trim.

Chevrolet kept putting the same body and chassis on their vehicles for the 1955, 56, and 57 model years. These years are sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, and are often referred to by the nickname of “tri-fives.” The nickname “tri-fives” was given because there were three 1950s model years of the vehicle. These fantastic trucks were produced in Australia, Canada and the United States.