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1957 Chevrolet Introduction Day at Capitol Chevrolet

October 19, 1956, was the day that one of the most popular 1950s cars, both then and today, the 1957 Chevrolet was unveiled. Earlier we posted a photo of the outside of Capitol Chevrolet located at West 5th Street and Lamar Boulevard in Austin, Texas on the very same day when both the street in front of it and the parking lot where jammed with cars on unveiling day.

Today’s post contains two photos of the inside of showroom with visitors checking out the various new 1957 Chevrolet models on the floor. Note the used car lot outside and informative displays on the left-hand wall of the new optional “Turboglide” three-speed automatic transmission and the new “Ramjet” Rochester fuel injection system which in conjunction with the enlarged 283 V-8 produced one horsepower per cubic inch of displacement.  

Tell us what interests you in these photographs courtesy of The Portal to Texas History.    

1957 chevrolet new car introduction day1

34 responses to “1957 Chevrolet Introduction Day at Capitol Chevrolet

  1. Look at all the hub-bub the ’57 Chevy, ( or any new car at the time) generated. I highly doubt the new ( fill in modern car name here) would generate that kind of interest today. ( most people in showrooms today, are watching Wendy Williams waiting for their car to be fixed) I’m one of the 7 people in the US that never cared for the ’57 Chevy. I thought the ’57 Ford was a much better style. Can’t you just read the woman’s thought’s by the window ( with arms folded, that’s never good) ” Can we go now?”

    • I can’t say that I don’t like the ’57 Chevy but I do agree that the ’57 Fords, especially the top of the line models, had much better styling.

    • Howard, make that 8 people. While I never hated the `57 Chevy, I too feel the Ford that year was far and away a better looking car. (And it outsold Chevy that year!) Today, `57 Chevys are merely a cliche; so common, and always associated on any topic dealing with the 1950’s as an era. Heck–even my Mom knew what a `57 Chevy was a mile away; and we never owned a Chevrolet product in our family.

      • I was 14 in 1957 and thought the 1957 Ford Sun Liner was the end of the world. I remember the advertisements with the cowboy standing next to the car and the top of the door only came up to his about knees, emphasizing how low they were. Boy did I want one of convertibles.

    • Ah, the All-Heralded 1957 Chevrolet. A four-wheeled collection of copied styling elements: ’56 Ford Customline side trim, ’55 Buick grill, and Chrysler-esque fins out back. And I’ve never understood those silly wind-split thingies near the leading edge of the hood. If I had to pick a “tri-five,” it’d be the ’56.

      OTOH, as a 13-year-old budding car nut who happened be from a family of Ford lovers, I vividly remember being thunderstruck when either “Mechanics Illustrated” or “Popular Mechanics” did a several page spread on the 1957 Ford . The picture that stuck in my mind is that of a ’56 Ford parked next to a new 1957, showing how much lower was the new model; one person stood on the driver’s side and held hands across the roof with another on the passenger’s side. Wow! (On the other side of that coin was a HUGE transmission tunnel that made sitting in the center of the front seat nearly impossible.)

      But the ’57 Fords were junk. My best friend’s Dad bought a new Fairlane 500 Town Sedan (Coral Sand over Mocha) and within a few months the doors were rattly and hard to close and the padded dash had started to sag. Chevys seemed much more solid and better built; I’ve ridden in 15-year-old ’57 Chevrolets when the car doors shut as firmly and quietly as a new car’s.

    • Yup, count me among the heretics also. While I was a juvenile “Chevy-Guy” most years, the ’57 just seemed like a glopped-up ’56 to me. The Fords (the long-wheelbase versions) were far more stylish and just seemed “newer” than the Chevys. I didn’t care for the “bulgy-eyed” headlights but that was about my only criticism. Of course, over at the Plymouth dealer’s lot things were really sleek and a white and gold Fury hardtop nearly cause me to swivel my head off when it passed my school bus stop! That was quite a year for the “Low-Priced Three”.

      • Agree with you Charles, 1955, first year new body style best, next two years were”changed for change sake” and could not hold a candle to 1955, especially the Nomad!

    • Actually, the ’57 Ford outsold the ’57 Chevy that year.
      However, one of my army friends owned a ’57 Chevy hardtop with at V-8 and 3 on the tree. I had the opportunity to drive his car on our base and it was a beautiful car to drive.
      Rog

    • I don’t know how much time lapsed between these two photos, but that woman is in both of them in the same location. At first I thought that maybe she was an employee of the dealer and was there to help customers with anything that they needed. That is unlikely because in 1956 there weren’t women working the floor of a new car dealership. Another clue is that she has her purse with her, which if an employee, it would be locked away in her desk. No doubt, as you guys have surmised, she is waiting patiently (or not) for her man to get finished looking at the cars.

      • Hi Charlie, judging by the high heels, fancy dress and small “goin’ out” purse, I’d say a deal was struck before they went out on the town. Just a “quick” stop to check out the new Chevaleighs,,,,fine, I’ll be by the door,,,

  2. Perhaps it is only an optical illusion but the tail lamp lenses on the convertible appear to have already been fitted with blue-dot reflectors.

    • Then as now, when they molded the red lenses, a portion of it was made reflective. This made it easier to see at night when flashed by headlamps coming when parked. I will say this: those round ‘dots’ are right where blue-dots should be mounted!

      • Henri, I agree with Will. The sun is strong, and must add that when not turned, on Blue Dots are darker than the red lens background.

  3. What I find interesting is that the only person smiling of all the people in both pictures, is the salesman . Dour bunch to say the least.

      • Yes, but Ford outsold Chevrolet in 1957. And, the stunning new 57 Plymouth (Suddenly, it’s 1960!) was coming on strong. Those Chevy salesmen had to work a little harder that year.

  4. Howard, count me as number 8… When we went down to Walker Chevrolet on our bikes, we had already seen the new Plymouth’s a day or so before, so we thought the 57 Chevy was “copying” the Plymouth’s fins, ha ! Yes, I know better now, but hey, I was 9 then ! I was always a 56 Chevy guy for “pretty” and a 55 for “tough looking” . Hmmm, I have a Ford, a Mazda, a Studebaker, and a Mini now, and just sold my Anglia…wonder what happened ?
    Great photo David, and I’m with HENRI, that sure looks like blue dots !

  5. I too did not like the 57 chevy when it first came out. Because I thought the tail lights looked too much like the 56 Plymouth tail lights except the lens and the chrome was reversed. Later on I owned a 57 chevy covert, and a 56 Plymouth convert at the same time. Loved them both. My dream car would be a red and white 55 chevy covert.

  6. I noticed how long the womens skirts were and how short were the men’s sleeves. Hot day in Texas and a hot Chevrolet.. The new three speed Turboglide transmission was a big improvement over the old two speed Powerglide. Of the three models of this tri-five series, I felt the 1955 was sporty and handsome, the ’56 ordinary and the ’57 Beautiful, particularly with the tasteful use of chrome trim.

  7. Notice how the women are all well dressed, not fancy, but well adorned. I think the one on the right was thinking, “If he gets that convertible, what am I going to do about my hair?”

    I have had a ’56 Chevy, buddy had a ’55 that went from a stovebolt to a 327 (later stolen), back to a stovebolt hooked up to the 327 4-speed and modified (good fun!!) and a ’55, ’57 and ’59 Ford. Though a Chevy man, I grew to love the lines of the ’57 Ford, but still think the ’55 Ford is the most pleasing with the right paint and wheels….

  8. I believe that the taillight lens on those had a round design in the glass in the center that may be giving that illusion. Is the aluminium fluting on the convertible just not evident in the lighting or is that a less frequently seen 210 model?

    • I too believe it is the lighting. I also think that is what causes the sailpanel to look smooth ( can’t hardly make out the Chevrolet script ) Also note that the stainless trim atop the fender extends the length of the trunk lid, as a Bel Air. The 210 trim only covers a foot.

  9. I never could warm up to the froggy headlamps on the ’57 Ford. However, 1957 was the only ’50’s year (don’t
    quote me on this one) that Ford out-sold Chevrolet! I think Chevrolet got it right that year. Maybe those cute
    rubber appendages on the front bumpers swayed me or those significant fins that seemed so masculine did it for me. Anyway, back in the day if you had a Ford, you didn’t want to be looking for a comparable Chev. to drag on
    El Camino Real. In the 2008 NADA value guide a ’57 Fairlane Conv. in # 1 condition would garner $59,500. A
    ’57 Chev. Bel Aire in the same shape without F.I. goes for $135,100.

  10. I’ve never considered myself a “foot man,” but those two young ladies in picture 2 sure know how to model and walk in heels! I wonder if the dealership hired some models to help sell the cars, like they did at car shows…

  11. Our family really wanted to get a new Chevy in ’57 (to get rid of that terrible ’53 Dodge Hemi V-8 that dad bought new) but dad just couldn’t swing those $97.00 a month payments at that time. We struggled with the Dodge for 3 more years, then gave it away and replaced it with a pretty fair running ’52 Oldsmobile.

  12. The influence of the ’55 Arkus-Duntov V-8 was amazing, as was this breakthrough in engine technology — (in a Chevrolet !!!) When 57 rolled around, — Chevrolet KNEW very well what “ENGINE options” could do for sales: A ’57 business coupe could be had with options that would make it go 100 MPH in a quarter Mile!!! In family car’s use, the horsepower came in handy at vacation time — on the mountain passes.

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