Recently I featured a detail shot from the front of a rough 1957 Chevy Bel Air, an icon of American motoring. Today the feature is on the tail end of the 1956 Bel Air in much better shape.
The 1956 edition of Chevrolet cars is sometimes overlooked – classic ‘middle child’ syndrome. The 1955 was a complete departure from previous Chevs. The 1957 was more ornate in design, and many argue it’s the prettiest of the 3 years. The 1956… well, some see it as less special, a warmed over 55 holding place until the 57 arrived.
That’s really not true, as we’ll see in an upcoming book review. The 1956 actually incorporated a number of upgrades and revisions over the 1955 car. Styling-wise the 1956 is distinct from its siblings, longer and some say cleaner. On distinctive feature was these one-year-only taillights, a bullet style that resembled those from Oldsmobile and predates the exaggerated 1959 Cadillac bullets.
This car was shot in Syracuse at the Nationals in 2014. I used my Nikon D3200, 18-55 Nikkor zoom lens, set at ƒ/9.0, shutter speed of 1/250 second and ISO 100. Compareed to the original (below) it can be seen there was a good amount of processing the image, which was done in Topaz Adjust, to warm up the colour as well as reveal the details of the image.
One of the iconic American classic is the 1957 Chevy. Known as one of the ‘shoebox’ or ‘Tri-Five’ Chevies (along with the 1955 and 1956 models), it is among the most recognized and popular cars ever. General Motors introduced the new longer, lower and wider models in 1955, and when Chevrolet offered the new 265 cubic inch V8 (in addition to the old stovebolt 6 cylinder engine) in its handsome cars, it scored an instant hit. Chevrolet sold 1,775,952 of their full-size line (models 150, 210 and Bel Air) in the first year, followed by 1,623,376 for 1956. For 1957, Chevy sold a total 1,555,316 cars that year for well over 4,000,000 cars over 3 years (numbers taken from here). The old 6 engine was still the base offering, but the small block V8 was now 283 cubes, and the hottest ticket was the optional fuel injection which made 283 horsepower – 1 for each cubic inch!
This particular coupe was found in the hotel parking lot when I attended the 2014 Syracuse Nationals car show. Clad in primer and showing a number of scars from age, it fit in with a number of other rat rods and ‘unfinished’ cars that showed up. The crest has been shaved from the front of the hood, and much of the chrome on the grille and headlight bezels is rough, but the hood windsplit ornaments looked pretty fresh, and the 3 trim ‘D’s on the fender show this to be a top of the line Bel Air.
I shot this car with my Fuji FinePix S1500, which has a fixed lens. The settings were ƒ/5.0, 1/300 second shutter speed using ISO 64. It was an overcast evening, so there wasn’t much in the way of the normal June evening sunset. The original image capture is below, and you can see how using adjustments in Topaz Adjust really helped to bring out the details in the paint and chrome that the camera seemed not to show at first. The cracks and runs in the paint, the amount of pitting in the chrome, even the uneven quality of the primer is revealed in post processing.
Another trip back to 2014 and the same hotel parking lot in Syracuse. This time, it was early morning, with lots of Nationals attendees yet to leave for the Fairgrounds. Among the cars I found was this 1973 Plymouth Cuda in what appears to be a colour called B3 Basin Street Blue. While not quite the hot musclecar it had been just a couple years earlier, the Cuda for 1973 was still a good looking pony car, and it find it a treat when I find one. This example was in fairly decent driver condition, as the chips in the paint will attest.
I shot this picture with my Fuji FinePix S1500, which has a fixed lens. The settings used were ƒ/5.0, shot at 1/320 sec., ISO 64. The original shot is below, and as you see it was fairly even in tone, which I expected given that it was an early morning and slightly overcast. I used Photoshop for cropping and Topaz Adjust to try to make the image more dramatic by adjusting the levels as well as bumping up the graininess in the image. As always, the above image is available as a 20″x16″ poster from email@example.com.
In 2014, some friends and I made the trip to the New York State Fairgrounds for the annual Syracuse Nationals car show. What an amazing event! This car show takes in over 8000 cars (double the size of the Fleetwood Country Cruize, and was impressed with that!), and takes the whole weekend if you want to see as many of them as possible. As you may expect with a show of this size, the weekend turns Syracuse into a huge custom and classic car show, as hotel and restaurant parking lots fill up with the show’s attendees. It’s really like a huge cruise night.
We stayed out in East Syracuse, and our parking lot was filled with hot rods, musclecars and cruisers. One vehicle that came through our lot was this 1956 Ford F700 Big Job truck with a pickup box on it. The Big Job trucks were the heavy-duty commercial line based off the regular Ford F-Series truck line. As you see, this truck had seen it’s share of hard work, and would certainly have fit the ‘unrestored’ category. I personally am a fan of the old-fashioned chromed logos, and I decided I wanted to capture this big bold badge on the hood of this Ford.
I shot this in the evening, under the roof that covered the hotel entrance. I used my Nikon D3200 and my 18-55mm Nikon lens. I left the camera on auto, and the camera chose ƒ/4, 1/40 sec exposure and ISO 100. As usual, I used Photoshop and Topaz Adjust to crop and edit, to bring out and emphasize the details such as the rust and the pitting on the chrome. The above image is available as a 20″x16″ poster by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. The original shot is below.