It’s easy to forget that there was a time when a new car could technically be considered a custom car. Decades ago, you could order your new Chevrolet with almost any option you wanted, or delete those you didn’t need. Today, you get to choose from the a limited package, a standard package, or an economy package. There is little variation within the three, and if there is, it costs top dollar to make the change. Back in the time of the Tri-Five Chevy, there were more than 30 standard options offered from Chevrolet, and countless more offered by dealerships. It wasn’t uncommon for two identical-looking 1956 210 models to be optioned almost entirely different. If somebody wanted the Bel Air interior inside the 150 trim package, all it took was a couple questions and a few bucks.
When people talk about the Tri-Five, some options get overlooked and left out of the conversation. Focus is usually on items like the optional four-barrel carburetor, fuel injection, or power windows. That got us thinking about some of the most-overlooked options for these cars. Read on, as we have compiled three of the Tri-Five options that are overlooked all too often.
Power Steering – Option Code 324
That enormous steering wheel on a Tri-Five Chevy provides enough leverage for almost anyone to move one of those cars around a corner. But, the addition of the optional power steering made it a lot easier. In a time when power steering is now standard in the automotive industry, it’s hard to imagine a time when cars didn’t have it. The addition of power steering is one of the few things that can really improve drive time without adding horsepower. Not to mention, it’s one of the least-known options available in the iconic car. Most of the time, people tell us they had no idea that it was even an option when these cars were new.
E-Z Eye Glass – Option Code 398
The E-Z Eye glass option provided a little shielding from the glare of the sun while driving. It’s a similar concept to the tinted windows we find in use today, but it was a little different. Instead of the modern, dark-colored shade of black that covers the upper portion of windshields today, the E-Z Eye glass presented a cool-blue tone that complimented any bright, exterior color-combination available on the Tri-Five. It kept a little bit of the sun out of your eyes, while adding to the appearance of the car. Like power steering, it makes driving a little easier, safer, and more fun.
Turboglide Transmission – Engine Suffix Code G
An extremely rare option was the three-speed automatic Turboglide transmission. It was only available in 1957, and was often added when the buyer chose Rochester mechanical fuel-injection. It was designed for the performance-oriented ‘57s. The Turboglide delivered two things, less loss of power when it shifted, and the riders didn’t feel a harsh shift like they did with the Powerglide. The Turboglide offered the smoothest automatic shifting operation at the time, but proved to be unreliable. Most Turboglides were eventually swapped in favor of the standard Powerglide.
We are sure that all of you with Tri-Five Chevys have plenty of cool options that we were not able to include in our list. We want to hear all about your unique factory or dealer installed options, so please drop us a line in the comments.