A Celebration of the Chevrolet Centennial – 1957 Bel Air & 2011 Equinox
October 4, 2011 10:33 am ET
Guest bloggers Eric Dolis & Rob Verdi of Fred Mackerodt, Inc., reflect on how the times are changing…
This year, Chevrolet is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and with a strong 2011 product portfolio, there’s plenty of success to commemorate…
Since 1911, Chevrolet has found its way into the hearts and homes of customers. And Tara O’Grady’s family is no exception. To honor her Granny’s spirit and keep a family tradition alive, Tara has set out to recreate the cross country drive that her Granny took in a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air – but Tara will be modernizing a little… making the trip in a 2011 Chevrolet Equinox.
In honor of Tara’s trip, we’d like to share some fun facts about 1957 versus 2011…
When you think about the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, a late 50’s “Hot Rod”, you think street racers and young John Travolta types combing their greased hair and causing trouble. These Chevrolet “street machines” were very popular, and drag racers were in heaven once the 1957 Bel Air offered fuel-injection as an option.
Now spring ahead to 2011, where you see a very different car and vehicle class, one that people probably could not fathom in the 1950′s. The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox is a “cross-over” that boasts a fuel-efficient 32 mpg highway. The Equinox is a great family car that focuses more on comfort and fuel-economy, rather than the raw style and power of the old hot rods.
In 1957 the Chevrolet Bel Air would have set you back around $2,571.00 for the base model, versus $23,805 for a base model of the Chevrolet Equinox. So let’s face it, vehicles were cheaper 60 years ago, but were they safer?
It was during the late 1950’s that safety finally started to become a priority in vehicles. The 1957 Chevrolet improved the vehicle’s balance by adding weight distribution. Other safety features added included the high level ventilation, automatic signals for stopping and turning, 11 inch break drums and a modern anti-dive suspension system. Although these were positive improvements, vehicle safety had a long way to go. One would think that because of the size and weight of the vehicles back then, they must have been safer, but this was certainly not the case. The 1957 Chevy weighed nearly 3,500lbs of pure steel, but did not offer a life saving “crumple zone” that vehicles of today provide. And airbags? Those didn’t come around for another 20 years, right before seat belts became the law in the 1980′s. In this case, it goes to show, bigger is not always better.
But, safety aside, who wouldn’t want to live in the 1950′s? Back then you could get a gallon of gas for $.24 cents and a drink for a nickel! We certainly wouldn’t mind driving cross country with those prices! If you did drive cross country during the 50’s, you could have been one of the first to eat at a McDonald’s restaurant, or pass one of the first colored TV’s in a store window. You could have even sent your loved ones postcards from every city you visited… and for only 3 cents!
So, no matter the decade, we feel a trip like this is a one is a lifetime experience, and we hope one day we can join Tara O’Grady and say, “We have experienced the USA in our Chevrolet!”