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Old 05-13-2006, 11:06 PM
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How to move forward with a 56 Chev Bel Air

Looking for some answers from all of you professionals on this board.

Question 1: I just purchased a stock 56 Chev Bel Air 210 with almost entirely original equipment and interior. It has a 265 V8 motor and the previous owner said that it would be OK to use low octane (87) unleaded gasoline straight from the pump. Does anyone know if the unleaded gas is OK for this motor or should I be using a lead additive?

Question 2: I would like to do something with the motor since it needs a little work. Which of following would bring more value to the car if I decided to sell it in the future?
A. Rebuild the original 265 V8 with stock components?
B. Replace the motor with a rebuilt 327 or 350?

Question 3: Would adding an aftermarket AC unit or front disc brakes increase or decrease the value of the car if everything else was kept stock?

Thanks for any help you can give to me. I need to make these decisions soon and would appreciate any advice you can offer.

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Old 05-13-2006, 11:16 PM
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You'll need hardened valve seats in the heads to run straight pump gas.

I would put the discs on there but keep all the original equipment if you plan to sell it. Stock cars have to be close to perfect to bring real money. It's a lot more fun and a lot less time consuming and labor intensive to drop in a 350. Is your car an auto or standard?

I'm building a 56' bel-air as we speak and have picked up a few useful tips if there is anything I can help you with.
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Old 05-14-2006, 07:37 AM
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I own a '56 BelAir as well and have a great affection for the tri 5 Chevrolets. Value is impacted by so many variables including condition and how desirable modifications are.

Last week end I attended an auction in rural Illinois that was featuring an original 55 2 door 210, a hot rodder 55 2 door 210 and a near complete amatuer restoration of a 56 2 door 210. All were post cars.

The original 55 with some rot above headlights, by rocker and below tail lights with a poorly running 6 cylinder went for $8,500.

The hot rodded 55 nice 10 year old paint, disc brakes, 327 and four speed brough $16,000.

The restoration job needed front fenders painted and installed, 265 engine, everything else was done and on the car or in a box waiting installation. It brought $23,000.

The stock restored was most valuable but the most time and money had been spent on it too. For investment the original unrestored brought the estate the most money. But for me the hot rodder 55 would be the most fun and most desirable.

I don't think you'll hurt the value by adding air or disc brakes. Think in terms of the fun / usability factor for you and the value of that.

And remember to have fun!
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Old 05-14-2006, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kansas
Looking for some answers from all of you professionals on this board.

Question 1: I just purchased a stock 56 Chev Bel Air 210 with almost entirely original equipment and interior. It has a 265 V8 motor and the previous owner said that it would be OK to use low octane (87) unleaded gasoline straight from the pump. Does anyone know if the unleaded gas is OK for this motor or should I be using a lead additive?

Question 2: I would like to do something with the motor since it needs a little work. Which of following would bring more value to the car if I decided to sell it in the future?
A. Rebuild the original 265 V8 with stock components?
B. Replace the motor with a rebuilt 327 or 350?

Question 3: Would adding an aftermarket AC unit or front disc brakes increase or decrease the value of the car if everything else was kept stock?

Thanks for any help you can give to me. I need to make these decisions soon and would appreciate any advice you can offer.


Welcome to the site

Since we don't know your intents and purposes from your information I would suggest this.

First, for fuel, run the engine as is. It takes 20,000 miles or so to beat out valves with bad gas. I would wait until it requires head work to mess with valves and seats. That might be 50 more years.

Second, the cars stopped adequately for 50 years with the brakes they have. What do you intend to do with the car?

Third, AC is a convenience. I wouldn't be without it, but adding the holes for installation might deter the next restoration buyer. Driving 30 minutes to a show does not require AC.

You need to figure out how many miles per year you intend to drive, whether you are going to be a hot rodder, vigorous driver, or just drive to a few shows or cruises.

You asked...

Grandpa always said, "Anybody can restore a car. It takes a real man to cut up a good one and make a hot rod."
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Old 05-14-2006, 01:04 PM
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you should get hardened valve seats in your heads.I did and my 55 purrs like a kitten
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Old 05-14-2006, 01:37 PM
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use a lead addive, it will help valves seats
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