The Black Widow: 1957 Chevy Bel Air

A NASCAR Hall of Famer

In the time when NASCAR still raced on dirt oval tracks, this 1957 Chevy Bel Air known as the “Black Widow” was among one of the greatest NASCAR ever. It started life as a basic trim black and white 1957 Chevy 150, then the car gets sent to Southern Engineering and Development Company also known as SEDCO in Atlanta, Georgia which was started by former GM vice president Edward N. Cole and Vince Piggins, a former chief engineer of another famous and successful NASCAR. The Hudson Hornet.

The ’57 Chevy got stripped out for lightness, a roll bar for safety, a beefed-up engine with better carburetors or the more advanced fuel injection system, and stronger differential and axles with 6 lugs bolt pattern versus the traditional 5 lugs on the road car.

In February of 1957, the “Black Widow” made it’s racing debut at Daytona, at the time, NASCAR was divided into different classes with both lower and higher class with specific engine regulations as well as a convertible class which some competitor already started using the Bel Air platform to compete.

The “Black Widow” competed in the top class with a mechanical fuel-injected engine producing 220 hp driven by NASCAR Hall of Fame Buck Baker. In April of 1957, NASCAR rules changed that engines can no longer use fuel injection and must be carburetor only. So the engine was changed to use a 380 CFM four-barrel carburetor but that didn’t faze Buck Baker which continued on to win the 1957 championship with the most number of races won in that season. Sadly, after that victory, SEDCO, the company that created "Black Widow" was forced to fold with request from congress that the racing was influencing reckless driving on the streets and the fate of the “Black Widow” went with it. However, many still remembered that mighty Chevy to this day with some owners re-painted there ’57 Chevys with the black and white paint scheme to pay tribute to the racer that started it all.

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