There’s always that one girl in high school who caught your eye. It was your first love — even though you probably never talked to her, and years later you’d go on to obsess and always remember her. While I’d rather not mention mine (because she’s since become a behemoth of some sorts) I will, however, talk about America’s favorite girl — the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air.
It’s safe to say that the Bel Air has become America’s sweetheart and is one of the most recognized icons of the car world. With its elegant rear fins and anodized aluminum side trim panels, it comes as no surprise that this would be the car I would lose my virginity in — at least in terms of being the first lowrider I rode in. So when it came time to do a feature on this car, let alone any ’57 Bel Air, it’s safe to say that I’ve got fond memories of hitting Whittier Blvd and listening to Blue Magic’s Side Show.
So when we had a chance to check out this beauty owned by Yoshitaka Torii, it definitely brought back some memories. Seeing it sitting pretty at the show made our photographer want to see more and it certainly did not disappoint. It’s a show car built to drive, and the attention to detail on the hardtop coupe was great. With its front wires exposed and the skirts ghosting out the rear, it provides the car with a certain elegance and sense of mystery that just makes you want to stare.
These cars, as with any lowrider, resonate a feeling that simply makes you feel good. They’re nostalgic, a tribute to a time when life was simple, and also indicative of an era where the family unit and relationships revolved around love, respect, and longevity. It’s not to say that these values no longer exist, it’s just that they’re harder to find. In short, if I were to compare it to the car culture it would hold true that the good relationships and the ones who truly cherish it are much like lowriders — they’re hard to find and rare to see, but when you do, you appreciate it. As for the rest? Well it’s much like the rest of the cars we see on the road — plentiful, non-memorable, and not built to last.
We’ll see you all in the next issue and in the meantime keep the drama like your bass…low.
Vehicle Year/Make/Model: 1957 Chevy Bel Air
Vehicle Nickname: My Jewel
Owner: Yoshitaka Torii
City/State: Miura City, Kanagawa Japan
Engine: 1997 Chevy 350 built by URA and mated to a Turbo 350 transmission
Body/Paint: Metallic Blue painted by New Jack
Suspension: New Jack Auto Custom installed 8-inch cylinders with Adel Hydro Air and four-switch and four-solenoid setup
Interior: House of Lowriders
Gauges: Dakota Digital
Audio: Alpine 7618 head unit, Earthquake Amps, Kicker mids, highs and bass
Wheels/Tires: Dayton 13×7 reverse wires with Cooper Tires