We’ve all got that one car we’d want to buy if we won the lottery. Most of us only get close to that fantasy and pine over what we’d really want by looking at magazines or drooling over the real-life versions that we see at car shows. Antonio Gonzalez, however, was not going to be deterred from buying the ’57 Bel Air convertible he’d been fantasizing about since childhood. After selling several Impalas and another Bel Air he finally had enough cash to be a contender. Then months became years of perusing the Internet to find the right car. After looking at every posting on every website he could think of he finally found something that seemed to have some possibility.
Eventually Antonio struck a deal with the owner in Las Vegas to pick up the car that was originally from Los Angeles, and that he is now the proud owner of. It was in fair condition, and needed the typical revitalizing a car nearly 60 years old would require, but at least he had his dream car and could begin the process of accessorizing it to his liking. Antonio wanted to keep the stock aesthetics, as this car came from the factory lookin’ good, but of course make it a lowrider.
Everything you see on the car was done by Antonio. For suspension mods, he installed RideTech airbags all around. To accommodate smaller 13×7 Zeniths, he had to swap the stock rearend for a Buick Regal version and four-linked it. Four dumps, two switches, and four solenoids keep the air running to each corner. It all rides on 5.20 Premium Sportways. A Baer disc brake conversion up front helps the ’57 come to a quick stop.
Powering the Bel Air is the venerable 283 it came with. It’s one of the few Bel Airs out there that also sports the rare three-speed Turboglide transmission option, brand new for that year. Antonio has also spent a great deal of time finding factory accessories to adorn his ’57 with (some of which haven’t been installed yet), including a continental kit, spotlights, compass, bumper guards, and rear chrome strip. He’s still on the search for more, so we’re sure he’ll be scouring the web and car shows to complete his to-do list.
The interior still has the upholstery that Antonio bought the car with, which was already in great shape. It’s also still outfitted with the stock radio. The car came with black paint, but Antonio reshot the car in PPG black to get the tuxedo on this Bow Tie looking good again. Antonio named the car “Tranquilo ’57,” which if you don’t know means “just chillin’.” As he puts it, “The car looks good just standing still.”
Catching this dream wouldn’t have been possible without help from his dad and Carlos Munoz for keeping him focused on turning it into a reality. We hope you enjoy many happy years with it.
Vehicle Year/Make/Model: 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible
Vehicle Nickname: Tranquilo ’57
Owner: Antonio Gonzalez
Car Club: New Mexico Car Club
City/State: Gallup, NM
Engine: 283 V-8, Turboglide transmission
Body/Paint: PPG black by owner
Suspension: RideTech airbags, four-linked Buick Regal rearend. Four dumps, two switches, and four solenoids.
Sound System: original
Wheels/Tires: 13×7 1993 cross-laced Zeniths / Premium Sportway 5.20s