The Bel Air is back: ’57 returns to Beloit Autorama
'57 returns to Beloit Autorama
Clayton Moen's 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air will compete in the 33rd annual Beloit Autorama at Preservation Park on Highway 51 south of Janesville in Beloit Township. Click to play
If you go
What: 33rd annual Beloit Autorama
Where: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Preservation Park, 3444 S. Riverside Drive, Beloit Township
Details: Car show, parts swap, car sale, arts and crafts, food, live music.
Cost: Admission is free for kids younger than 8, $2 for ages 8 to 15 and $6 for those older than 15.
To learn more: Visit beloitautorama.com
JANESVILLE Is there anything cooler than a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air?
Maybe it’s a ’57 that was built in Janesville and has won hundreds of awards for one GM retiree.
Clayton Moen of Janesville has spent a week polishing the underside of “his ’57,” as he calls the car. On Sunday, the car will compete alongside more than 1,000 others of all makes and models in the 33rd annual Beloit Autorama at Preservation Park on Highway 51 south of Janesville in Beloit Township.
Moen has been at the show all 33 years.
He bought the car—which was built at the Janesville General Motors plant—in 1963 from a woman who lived in Janesville. Strangely, she had bought the car in La Crosse, Moen said.
The ’57 was a family car for the Moens until his seven children outgrew the two-door car, Moen said.
He bought a station wagon, and Moen used the ’57 to cruise to and from work. Moen retired in 2004 after working for 41 years at the plant. He did spot welding, trim and electrical work before spending his last few years in the auditing department test-driving cars off the line.
“That was a job I really looked forward to every day,” Moen said. “It was really fun and interesting.”
In the late 60s, Moen took the ’57 to his first show in Rockford, Ill. Since then, the car has racked up more than 350 trophies. Moen has shown a couple pickup trucks, but the ’57 has been his only show car, he said.
Over the years, Moen has added a 350 Corvette engine, an overdrive transmission, a custom leather interior, custom wheels and frame, a stainless exhaust, power steering, a tinted windshield and dozens of other details.
The car is on its sixth or seventh paint job by now, Moen said.
He tries to do a little something new every year so he doesn’t feel like he’s bringing the same car back to the Autorama. This year, the details are not much to look at, he said. Moen spent weeks rewiring the car and doing other detail work.
“I’ve been under there for a week, now, getting it ready for Autorama,” Moen said.