1956 Chevrolet 210 Delray
2dr Club Coupe
8-cyl. 265cid/162hp 2bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Tri-Five Chevys are among the most iconic and collectible American automobiles, but while the top-of-the line Bel Airs are the most well-known model, the mid-grade Del Ray coupe offers much of the same experience at a portion of the cost.
The Chevrolet Del Ray was introduced in 1955 and was based on the mid-level 210 series’ two-door club coupe, which had a full rear seat. The club coupes also had a shorter greenhouse and more trunk space behind the rear window than other two-door body styles, and the overall effect was attractive and sporty. The base engine was the 235-cid I-6, which was mated to a three-speed manual transmission with optional overdrive. Of course, that great small-block, 265-cid V-8 was also optional, and could be equipped with a two-barrel (162 hp) or “Power Pack” four-barrel “Power Pack” carb and dual exhaust (180 hp), as well as a two-speed Powerglide transmission. The legendary small-block was much more powerful than the inline six-cylinder engine, but weighed less and didn’t cost much more. Performance enthusiasts quickly took note.
Inside, the Del Ray came with uplevel carpet and distinctive “waffle pattern” vinyl upholstery, while the other 210s tended to come with rubber mats and cloth upholstery.
For 1956, the Del Ray saw minor bodywork changes along with the rest of the line, but the big noise was the range of high-performance engine options. The six-cylinder was bumped to 140 hp and the base V-8’s output rose to 170 hp. The optional four-barrel carburetor took the Del Ray to 210 hp, while the new dual four-barrel carb option yielded a breathtaking 225 hp. All the V-8 models got a snappy “V” emblem on the nose and tail of the car.
The 1957 Chevrolet Del Ray cost $2,162 with the six-cylinder engine, and $2,262 with the base V-8. Engine options were similar to 1956, with the addition of the 283-cid small-block V-8 with either one or two four-barrel carburetors. The top-of-the-line Super Turbo Fire V-8 with Rochester fuel injection also debuted, and gave GM a major PR score with 283 hp to match the motor’s cubes. The 1957 model year was also the first appearance of the Turboglide variable speed automatic transmission.
As a mid-level offering, the 1955 to 1957 Chevrolet Del Ray coupe was a big seller, and is relatively easy to locate. These cars were also well-used when new and became worn out over subsequent generations. Today they are valued as hot rod and custom platforms, due to their relative affordability, abundance, and instantly recognizable shape, all of which makes locating a stock example tougher than one might think. Ownership costs are not onerous, and club support is healthy, which adds to the experience.