1957 Chevrolet Bel Air – Fire & Desire

When your wife pushes you to buy your dream car, she's definitely a keeper

Ask any married man and he’ll be quick to tell you that a happy wife equals a happy life, but deep down inside we also know that right or wrong, your wife will always be right. Just ask Larry Zamora of La Junta, Colorado. His wife pushed him to buy his dream car, which all started when he saw a listing for a 1957 Chevy Bel Air located in Las Vegas. With excitement, Larry showed his wife the listing and while they both agreed that it was priced a bit high, her final response was: “This car is like a child; if you wait until you’re ready you’ll never buy it!”

Those words were enough to make Larry head on over to Vegas to inspect the car. Once he arrived, he did a once over and recognized the fact that the Bel Air needed a new home. “The paint was fading, the top was falling apart, and the chrome was dull,” Larry tells LRM. “It was clear that this was going to be a project for me,” but despite any former apprehensions, he purchased his dream car, loaded it up, and took the 13-hour road trip back home to Colorado.

Not even a few days later, Larry had already upgraded the transmission by swapping the two-speed Powerglide to a 700-R4 that he bought from a friend. A complete throttle-body fuel-injection system from a Chevy truck was added. The rear end was switched out with a 1983 Chevy Monte Carlo so Larry could add wire wheels to the classic Chevy. The next step was to replace the convertible top in the Bel Air. The rack was sent off to Skim in Texas for chroming as well as many other parts. The new convertible material was purchased from Megakron and after problems with two different shops Larry decided to replace the top on his own.

As the Chevy was coming together, it was time to focus on the exterior. Larry brought the Bel Air to a local body shop for a color change. He decided on Torch Red because that color was his favorite and it resembled the fire he possessed for his new purchase. Once he received the Chevy back, he turned his attention to the interior, making sure the restored look was achieved and colors matched. He added a Vintage Air unit for those hot days in Colorado, as well as a sound system to make sure he can be heard from blocks away. The last step was putting on the perfect wheels that would match. He turned to Phillipa Green of Utah Lowrider Connection to color match the 13-inch wire wheels.

Larry wishes to thank his wife, Soledad, for pushing him to fulfill his dreams. Without that extra push he’d still be browsing car ads. He wants to thank his daughter, Yolanda, his brothers, and a special thanks to Huggy for all the help. It wasn’t an easy road to get his dream car but it’s certainly one that fills his family with pride. The fire that burns inside Larry burns bright in “El Fuego.”

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Vehicle Nickname

El Fuego

Owner

Larry & Soledad Zamora

City/State

La Junta, CO

Body/Paint

Torch Red done by Ron Montano of Ruby’s Auto Body in La Junta, Colorado; chrome plating bumpers; dash and convertible rack by Skim in Krum, Texas

Engine

265 V-8 with throttle-body injection, 700-R4 transmission, added disc brakes and power steering, aluminum radiator

Suspension

Stock

Interior

Restored seats and carpet, Vintage Air, power windows

Sound System

Retro stereo head unit, 4×6.5 Alpine components, 350-watt Alpine amplifier

Wheels/Tires

13×7 100-spoke wire wheels powdercoated by Phillipa Green of Utah Lowrider Connection, Uniroyal 155/80-13 tires