Chevrolet’s Bel Airs had the performance to keep them ahead in the race for number one with Ford.
Chevy added more chrome, a wider grille with more teeth, new taillights, brighter colors, new interior trims and a fortified six running 115 horsepower with stick shift or 125 horsepower with Powerglide.
The One-Fifty business coupe was renamed Utility Sedan and the Two-Ten convertible and hardtop replaced with a spiffy two-door sedan called the Delray. Lastly, the Two-Ten Townsman was upgraded into a Bel Air, bringing the series up to five separate models. Mostly installed on Bel Air’s, power brakes, power front seats and front door windows were new options.
Chevrolet had added just enough pizazz in 1953 and 1954 to remain “USA-1”. The Two-Ten emerged as the volume leader in both years but the Bel Air finished a credible second. This was rare for a flagship line even in those heady days.
The success of the Bel Air also indicated that the buying public was ready for more upscale Chevrolets with colorful, “living room like” interiors, more chrome, two-tone exteriors and even more convenience options. The 1953 through 1954 Chevys were pointing toward the future more than anyone probably realized at the time.
Although 1955 through 1957 Chevrolet’s will probably always overshadow the 1953 through 1954 Chevy’s, the latter, especially the Bel Airs, are being discovered as very pleasant cars with significance as the last of the low suds “pre-classic”.