Imagine driving the same car for six decades—now envision that car being one of the most iconic American vehicles ever made. This remarkable story belongs to Grace Braeger of West Bend, Wisconsin, who, in 1957, traded in her 1950 Chevy for a brand new 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. Little did she know that this Bel Air would be the last car she ever purchased, and she would drive it faithfully for 60 years.
Grace’s black over red four-door Bel Air was originally a salesman’s demonstrator model, loaded with options such as power steering, power brakes, and a smooth-shifting automatic transmission. Over the years, she clocked just over 116,000 miles on the car, taking it on road trips, including two drives to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, each taking three days each way.
The secret to the car’s longevity? Grace attributes it to preventative maintenance, instilled in her by growing up during the Great Depression. Her commitment to caring for her belongings ensured the Bel Air remained reliable throughout the decades.
In 2017, after 60 years of faithful service, Grace decided to part with her beloved Bel Air. However, she made sure to find a new owner who would appreciate, use, and care for it just as she had. The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air has become an enduring symbol of Americana, and Grace’s story adds a personal touch to the car’s cultural legacy.