Tri-This 1957 Chevy Bel Air
Article from Street Rodder Magazine
by Eric Geisert
“For many years both music and film have had a tremendous influence on hot rodding. The Beach Boys’ song Lil’ Deuce Coupe or George Lucas’ American Graffiti movie from 1973 are great examples of how the mediums shaped the hot rod hobby (after all: how many clones of John Milner’s yellow Deuce coupe have been built?).
Rob Riggio, who lives in Chino, California, was in his mid teens when that film came out, and he was really impressed with the Plymouth—so much so he wanted to see if he could find one for his first car. He went home and described what he saw to his father, explaining the big fins and wide chrome trim running down the side. And his dad came up with the answer to what he was looking for … a 1957 Chevy!
Rob eventually found out Christine wasn’t a 1957 Chevy, but he liked most of the cars from that era anyway and, when he was 17, he had located a second-owner Bel Air for sale and decided to buy it. The motor and trans were out of the car, and everything from the firewall forward were off the body, but Rob saw through what was missing to what it could be.
He worked with his father on dismantling the rest of the car, and ended up putting it on a rotisserie for a full restoration. Rob got to know every nut and bolt during the process, and was justifiably proud after painting the chassis and prepping the body for paint. The car went to a body shop for color, but the painter didn’t bother to mask off the chassis so, after they got the car back, they found overspray all over the work they had done. So the car came apart again to be fixed, and there it sat for the next 20-plus years.”