Big Al's Featured Car's
Bill & Darlyene Brisley's
1957 Chevrolet Convertable
Story by John Carollo of John Carollo Associates
Photography by Buddy Scoville
The Brisleys were happily enjoying their vacation in Georgia when it all began. Bill, being the car guy he is, and worse yet, being the '57 Chevy guy he is, bought some of the local, cars-for-sale newspapers. He wasn't really shopping as much as just looking to see what was going on locally. But he soon noticed a pattern. It seemed like every issue he opened had this max-clean '57 drop top in it. And it was looking right at him. Bill says, "It's like that car was haunting me. It kept saying 'take me home." On top of that, there was a very special occasion that was also on Bill's mind. Darlene, his wife, was shortly going to celebrate her 57th birthday. The car made it more convenient for them by being parked nearby so they could easily look it over. So they did.

It was one of those deals where the car sold itself. Starting with a great drop top version of the icon, it sported the 283 Power Pack package with single four barrel, Powerglide and dual exhaust. This sweetie was a frame off restoration done in Atlanta using a matching numbers, original panel car. Did you catch that? Matching numbers and original panels! Wars have started over that same lethal combination. It also had all the bling of the era with power brakes, Chevy's new fangled power steering (see photo), pushbutton radio, manual angle antenna, factory fender skirts and the somewhat rare black rag top instead of the usual white. The interior further beckoned to the Brisleys with its striking silver and red panels. It was love at first sight and Happy Birthday, baby!

After the usual exchanging formalities, the Brisleys had the car shipped home (it was THAT clean) to Conneaut, Ohio. Since then, they've put over 3200 miles on it doing the cruise scene. Being unable (and unwilling) to add to perfection, they merely topped off their new purchase by tracking down some original floor mats and dash-mounted tissue box. They took it to a concours style show and came up only three points shy of a perfect score. The judges didn't like the fact that they didn't have the original tar top battery. And no, the Brisleys haven't put one in since that show.

Bill is a dedicated '57 guy, having owned over half a dozen of 'em. Bel Airs have been his staple with one lone exception being a 210 post car. The pair started dating when he had a '57 done up for drag racing and Darlene caught '57 fever, too. She has a '57 of her own; a burgundy one that is a true hot rod. So they can cruise by their mood. Want loud, noisy and fast? Or how about regal, quiet and understated? Just grab the right set of keys and you're there.

In what seems like an OMG moment, they actually lent this beauty out to complete strangers. The WWE wrestling show came to Cleveland, Ohio and needed a cool rag top for one of their tag teams to make their grand entrance. That night, wrestling fans all over the world saw some serious flash strutting down the entrance ramp - and the wrestlers were there, too. The Brisleys speak highly of the night, meeting all the stars and getting treated like royalty. They should; this car is one of the first family of Chevys.