1957 Chevrolet Bel Air – reader’s car

Ebony Cassar's two-door pillarless '57 Chevy Bel Air

Photographers: Greg Forster

This article on Ebony’s Bel Air was originally published in the August 2018 issue of Street Machine magazine

IT WOULD seem that Ebony Cassar’s fate was predetermined after growing up immersed in her family’s hot rods and street machines. Ebony and her hubby Daniel now own the Fast Lane Speed Shop in Ballarat, and her past is filled with rides that many would be envious of, including her most recent purchase: a two-door pillarless ’57 Chevy Bel Air.

Tell us about your automotive upbringing.

I grew up with a car-mad dad and three older brothers who were all into different styles of cars. My dad [Robert Forbes] started the Ballarat Road Rodders in 1970 along with some mates and one of my mum’s brothers. So, my childhood was filled with going to hot rod runs across Australia.

What was your first cool car?

For my 21st birthday my brothers all gave me money and with that I bought a mint XY Falcon, which I purchased from Dad within minutes of him owning it. My brother Damien then straightened up the XY before having it resprayed for me. I’d drive it to every hot rod run I could get to, and on Friday nights I’d hang laps down the main street of Ballarat. Seven years later, I sold it to my sister and her hubby.

So, how’d you get into Chevs?

In ’88, I fell in love with them after Dad imported a ’56 from the States for my brother Damien. Years later, I got Dame to import a ’56 wagon for me; I loved that car so much! Unfortunately, we had to sell the wagon to fund the deposit for our house build. A couple of years down the track, I bought a pale pink ’57 four-door, which was soon sold to move house once more.

When did you get this ’57 Bel Air?

Early last year, I finally got my own car again! I bought it in Ballarat from a friend who’d imported it six years ago. It’s in mint, original condition, with beautiful Sierra Gold patina paint. This is my third Chev with patina. The interior was reupholstered in the late 90s and still looks good, even though I have the rear covered with three child seats. The running gear is all factory, including the 283ci and auto, as well as being left-hand drive. People often ask how I go driving it, but having owned left-hooks for so many years, I hardly notice the difference.

Have you done any mods to the Chevy?

Daniel checked over the whole car from front to back, then changed the front brakes to discs and added a power booster. He also upgraded the power steering and converted the old vacuum wipers to the more efficient two-speed electric.

Do you cruise it much?

I take our children to kinder and school in it; the six-seater is useful with four kids. And they love the Chevy as much as I do! Now I’m happily enjoying having my own car that I can take my family to hot rod runs in – just like my parents did with me.