Chevrolet, officially named the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Company but most often referred to as Chevy, is an American automobile division of the American manufacturer General Motors (GM). Louis Chevrolet and former General Motors founder William C. Durant started the company on November 3, 1911 as the Chevrolet Motor Car Company.
Production of the 1957 Chevrolet series models began in September 1956, and the series included 2-door and 4-door sedans and sports coupes, a 2-door convertible, 2-door and 4-door station wagons and a 2-door delivery van. Trim came in 4 options, namely 150, 210, Del Ray and Bel Air.
The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air production included 62,751 Two door sedans, 254,331 four sedans, 166,426 two door hardtop Sport Coupe, 137,672 four door hardtop Sport Sedans, 47,562 Convertibles, 27,375 four door Townsman station wagons and 6,103 of the very popular sporty two door Nomad. Factory prices for the ’57 Chevy Bel Air automobiles ranged from $3272 to $3470.
The iconic ’57 Chevy is now one of the most popular and sought after classic cars for collectors, enthusiasts and modifiers. As Chevrolet said in the advertising of the time – “ ’57 Chevrolet. Sweet, Smooth and Sassy!”
Box Notes from the Manufacturer
To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Chevrolet, AMT/Round 2
released this special set in a collectors tin with additional goodies packed in. The following is the blurb on the bottom of the tin:
“Eternal Beauty. The 1957 Chevy Bel Air returns with its distinctive lines and ageless glory! The Bel Air is considered by many to be a true American automotive icon – and now AMT reintroduces this eye-catching 2-door “shoebox” hardtop hobby kit tin celebration of Chevrolet’s 100th anniversary!
AMT’s 1957 Chevy Bel Air is a 1/25 scale assembly kit, featuring photo-etched parts and scale ignition wiring for super-detailing. It includes over 100 parts molded in white and clear with chrome accessories, vinyl tires, colourful decals and instructions for assembly. The completed model is over 7” long and accurately captures the Bel Air’s passionate styling with its unmistakable “tail fin” design.
This Special Collector’s Edition Kit comes packaged in a collectible “100 Years of Chevrolet” tin package with stylized band and the complete 1957 Chevy bel Air kit. It also includes an EXCLUSIVE retro-styled booklet with illustrations and photos from GM’s Historical Archive inside!”
The Kit Parts
Contents are contained in a beautifully presented metal case with a heavy paper band holding on a removable lid. Parts bags inside are protected by a cardboard inner sleeve.
119 White parts over 10 sprues plus body and floor pan
27 Chrome parts on 1 sprue
8 Clear parts on 1 sprue
2 Clear Red parts on 1 sprue
5 Vinyl tyres
23 Photo-etched nickel parts on 1 fret
1 sheet of Chrome Bare Metal Foil
1 decal sheet
1 length of ignition wiring
The parts are supplied in sealed bags, with 5 white sprues in each of 2 bags, the body and floor pan together in one bag, and everything else in individual bags.
The moulding is very good on all white sprues with just a small amount of flash and a couple of mould lines to deal with, nothing that a little knife and sander work won’t deal with. Both the hood and trunk lids have very slight scuff marks that will be easily polished out. The floor pan detail is excellent and virtually no flash on a complex mould.
The main body has a couple of concerns with what looks like a very fine flow line down the back of the RHS door. It is barely visible and running my fingers over it I cannot feel it, so hopefully a light sand and a coat of primer will sort it out.
Of much more concern is a pair of defects in the very bottom of the chrome trim mould part of the RHS (circled in red in one of the images). It looks as if the part has just been torn off a sprue. The location should help to hide repairs and I think a good fine filler and primer will sort it out nicely.
The chrome sprue is definitely the nicest I have seen in any of my Tri-5 series kits. There are no visible blemishes and the finish is beautifully even and glossy.
The decals look very nice and with virtually no excess carrier film.
The Photo-Etch fret is nickel finished so it will need a good polish to achieve a chrome look. Combining this with the need to sand off existing detail on the body parts and I think I will mask and paint rather than use the PE. The only exception to this might be the grille section and name badges which are very fine and the lack of bright chrome finish won’t be so obvious.
The inclusion of a small Bare Metal Foil sheet is a nice touch, but once again the finish is quite dull when compared with the kit chrome, and I would rather not add a third different “chrome” to the finished build.
The 5 soft vinyl tyres are very clean with no seams and very minimal flash to clean up. The mould detail in the tread and manufacturer detail (B.F.Goodrich in this case) is excellent.
The instruction sheet is a fold-out affair that is fully 640mm x 490mm, or slightly larger than a A2 sheet.
There are 10 stages, with several being broken up further into A, B and C sub-stages.
Colour call-outs for the parts are clearly marked with the key being for generic colours, no mention of any paint brands. Also included are very useful original colour combination cross-reference notes and engine wiring details (see photos).
I haven’t done any test fitting yet, this will be covered in a full build review to follow.
The sequence for construction follows the traditional pattern of engine, front end chassis, underside, rear end chassis, interior, engine bay, main assembly, exterior detail. Parts are all numbered on the sprues as well as in the instructions, and an additional feature here that I haven’t seen before is a notation where a part will fit in future stages, including the future part number. Very handy for test-fitting early in the process before things might get too tight.
Stage 1, the engine assembly comprises of 25 parts plus wiring and decals.
In Stages 2 and 4 there are 28 parts added to the chassis to make up the front end, dual exhaust and rear end. The chassis part is supplied separate from the floor pan, as is the 2-piece fuel tank, which makes painting and detailing the underside very easy.
Stage 3 is assembling the wheels with the white-walls being a styrene insert, and the outer rims chrome with a further chrome spinner detail. There is a call-out to paint a small outer section of the chrome rim in the main exterior colour which will need some neat masking or steady hand-brushing.
Stage 5 is the interior. The only thing to note here is the really nice fabric and trim detail all parts. The detail is clear and defined and masking to get a great looking interior should be easy.
Stage 6 covers painting and additional detailing of the main body part including the glass and optional PE parts.
Stage 7 is the assembly and detailing of the main engine bay parts such as the firewall, inner front guards and ductwork.
Stage 8 installs the radiator parts and wheels.
Stage 9 finishes off the engine bay with battery and hoses.
Stage 10 (A, B & C) takes us to the end with exterior parts such as bumpers, windscreen wipers, lights, and the openable hood and trunk (or bonnet and boot for some of us).
Having built several Tri-5 series kits as well as a few other cars of similar vintage, this kit looks to be a step above in terms of crispness of parts and construction features, as well as optional extra inclusions. I would have liked to have opening doors in addition to the hood and trunk, but I won’t be going down the path of modifying to achieve that myself. Overall, I am very happy to have this kit in my stash and I am very much looking forward to getting it on the bench.
On comparison, this kit is identical to the 1957 Bel Air “Car Culture Series” boxing released 4 years later in 2016 by the same company.
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