Chevrolet Bel Air Fifth generation
|Assembly||Arlington, Texas, United States Oshawa, Ontario, Canada|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe 2-door Hardtop (1961–62) 4-door sedan 4-door wagon (1962–64) 4-door Hardtop (61)|
|Related||Chevrolet Biscayne Chevrolet Impala|
|Engine||235.5 cu in (3.9 L) I6 230 cu in (3.8 L) I6 (1963–64) 283 cu in (4.6 L) V8 348 cu in (5.7 L) V8 (61) 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8 (1962–64) 409 cu in (6.7 L) V8|
|Transmission||3-speed manual 4-speed manual 2-speed Powerglide auto.|
For 1961, Chevrolet again had a totally new body, not just new sheetmetal. Its wheelbase remained 119 in (3,000 mm), but its length was now reduced slightly to 209.3 in (5,320 mm). All engines options of the previous year remained in effect with the standard engines being the 235.5 CID Six of 135 hp (101 kW) or the 283 CID V8 of 170 hp (130 kW). The V8 cost $110 more than the Six and weighed 5 lb (2.3 kg) less.
The Bel Air 2-door sedan used squared-off roof styling and large wrap-around rear window as opposed to the hardtop's swept-back design. The Bel Air 4-door Sport Hardtop still used a different roof line than did the 4-door sedan.
For 1962, all sheetmetal except the door panels was changed. Overall length was stretched slightly to 209.6 in (5,320 mm). The 4-door Sport Hardtop was no longer offered in the Bel Air series. Standard engines remained the same as the previous year. A new 327 cu in (5,360 cc) V8 of 250 or 300 hp (220 kW) was offered in addition to the giant (for the time) 409 cu in (6,700 cc) V8 of 380 hp (280 kW) or 409 hp (305 kW) with the dual four-barrel carburetor setup. All wagons this year were 4-door models and separate distinctions for wagons were dropped. Now all models were either Biscayne, Bel Air or Impala series. Full carpeting returned as standard equipment on all 1962 Bel Air models for the first time in several years. The Bel Air Sport Coupe was in its last year of U.S. production, and its roofline was a carryover from the 1961 hardtop coupe.
For 1963, the full size Chevrolet received little more than a facelift. Overall length increased to 210.4 in (5,340 mm). Replacing the older 235 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine as standard equipment was a new 230 cubic-inch six-cylinder of more modern design with a 140-horsepower rating that was based on the 194 cubic-inch six introduced on the compact Chevy II Nova the previous year. The base V8 remained the 283 CID, which was upgraded to produce 195 hp (145 kW). The 409 CID V8 was now offered in 340, 400 and 425 hp (317 kW) versions, while the small block 327 V8 continued with options of 250 and 300 horsepower. The Bel Air continued to be Chevrolet's middle range, but it now consisted of only two car models- the 2-door sedan and the 4-door sedan. 6 and 9-passenger Bel Air station wagons were again offered.
For 1964, very few changes were made except the expected sheet metal and trim renovations. Cars were 209.9 in (5,330 mm) in length while the wagons were 210.8 in (5,350 mm) long. In addition to the un-changed standard engines, there were two different 327 CID engines were offered, developing from 250 hp (190 kW) to 300 hp (220 kW) and three 409 CID engines ranging from 340 hp (250 kW) to 425 hp (317 kW). Except for a chrome belt line and $100 difference in price there was little exterior difference between the Bel Air and Biscayne version.
RHD Bel Airs continued to be imported into Australia. Some of these cars featured a reversed 1961 Pontiac instrument panel, but others had a mirror image of the more attractive current North American panel. Even more curious was the fact that some of these Bel Airs featured Impala-style triple taillights; the center lens was amber in keeping with Australian legal standards.