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Theatrical screen ad for the 1955 Chevy.
Originally a public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
The 1955 Chevrolet (sometimes referred to as ’55 Chevy) is an automobile that was made by Chevrolet in 1955. It is considered a huge turning point for the manufacturer and a major success. It was available in three models: the 150, 210, and Bel Air.
The ’55 Chevy was the first successful Chevrolet with an optional V8 engine. Chevrolet had produced an earlier car with a V8 in 1918 (Chevrolet Series D), which used a 36-horsepower overhead valve 288-cubic-inch V8, but it remained in production for only a year. In 1955, Chevrolet decided to fit its new car with an overhead valve V8 engine design, which was similar to the 1949 Oldsmobile “Rocket 88” V8 engine which was an earlier GM success. Chevy’s new 265-cubic-inch overhead valve V8 was designed to be smaller, lighter, and more powerful than previous V8s in the auto industry, and would come to be known as the “Chevy small block”.
However, the new small block engine in the ’55 Chevy had some early teething issues. Some problems existed with cracked pistons, there was no integrated oil filter, so an external bypass filter was offered as a factory or dealer option. Those who did not order the engine with the “oil filter option” dealt with a high frequency of oil changes. Even with the oil filter option, only part of the oil was actually filtered (the oil going through the thermostat). This issue was corrected for the next year when a full flow oil filter system was added to the engine. Additionally, to keep performance and mileage levels high required spark plug and ignition points to be replaced on a regular basis. But other than those issues it was an easy to maintain engine. The small block Chevy V8 became so popular that Chevrolet still sells it today as an over the counter replacement engine or better known as a “crate engine”. There have been various changes made to the engine to modernize it since its introduction in 1954 however the basic design of the original 265 remains in place…
Additionally, Chevrolet drastically changed its body design. The 1955 Chevy had smooth straight panels on the sides and hood. This was a major departure from previous years for Chevrolet. Although Ford introduced what would be the first “shoe box” body design in 1949, GM and Chrysler were slow to catch on, only slowly replacing some of their bubble-like hood and side panels with flatter one’s each year, without achieving a full shoebox look by 1954. But in 1955, Chevy designed the entire car with the full shoebox look. Along with the flatter straighter panels, the ’55 also had modern que’s like wrap-around glass on the windshield, and triangular tail lights that jutted outward. This new look, combined with new power and engineering, made the ’55 an instant hit with the buying public and a critical success.
The car’s popular “shoe-box” body style and chassis were carried over to 1956 (with changes to some of the front and rear aesthetics and bottom body line), and then carried over to 1957 (where the body was lengthened several inches in the rear and more drastic aesthetic changes were made).
The ’55, ’56 and ’57 Chevy’s are extremely sought after by collectors, enthusiasts and hot rodders, and the three model years are often referred to by the given nickname of the “tri-fives”. Collectors will pay premiums for 2 door models, and even more for the Bel Air version, especially the two-door hardtop (2 door, no side post). Today, 1955 Chevy two door hard tops command top dollar…