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Lot 37
1957 Chevrolet El Morocco Brougham


Selling on Wednesday


• Well-documented history; Original drivetrain
• Full body-off-frame restoration
• Outstanding color combination with Cadillac color and styling
• Exotic looks; Contemporary mechanics
• Rare with production estimated to be only 16 with even fewer surviving
• Great piece of automotive history

283 cid, overhead valve V8, 2-barrel carburetor, 185 HP, Powerglide 2-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with leaf springs and shock absorbers, power assisted four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 115”

After inheriting his father’s highly successful business on buying surplus items, government, industrial, almost anything surplus, Rueben “Ruby” Allender came up with a great idea. With his business in Detroit, it was natural for Ruby to have an interest in automobiles. When he saw the totally new 1955 Chevrolet, it inspired him to create a working man’s Cadillac. Design work started, then he got an unexpected helping hand from none-other than General Motors with the release of the 1956 Chevrolet, which seem to have even more styling cues from Cadillac. Working with one of Detroit’s most famous design houses, Creative Industries, the transformation of a Chevy based Eldorado look-alike was completed. He found the perfect fabricator, Cyril Olbrich who had been experimenting with new uses in the auto trade with fiberglass, and then struck a deal with Don McCoullagn Chevrolet Agency to provide his new Chevrolet Belairs at just $50 over cost. Allender then created a name for his new creation; El Morocco. Many of the parts were indeed surplus parts, such as the Dagmar bullets for the 1956 model, which started life as left-over 1937 Dodge headlight shells. Sales were good, and all the 1956 production found buyers. With Chevrolet’s redesign for 1957, Allender’s design team were able to come up with an attractive face lift, and the addition of the 4-dr hardtop Brougham. While the El Morocco’s front-end restyle was less dramatic than 1956, the body side treatment includes the Cadillac Brougham’s tailfin and rear bumper treatment, which were much more dramatic. With a price in the $5,000 range, pretty hefty in 1957, it was less than half of the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham’s $13,000 price tag. But there was trouble in Motor City for Allender. Some of Chevrolet’s top brass got wind that this little shop on Van Dyke Street was getting brand new Chevrolets, adding some major custom cosmetic changes, and selling them as “El Morocco.” Nothing official has ever been found to indicate that Chevrolet put pressure on Ruby Allender, but by January 1957, production of the El Morocco was being wound down, and it is believed that no more than 16 El Morocco vehicles of all three body styles were ever produced.

This stunning, and shall we say rare, 1957 El Morocco Brougham is an excellent example of American ingenuity. Even the most ardent fans of American 1950’s automobiles have to do a double take when they see this handsome four-door hardtop. It was recently treated to a complete body-off-frame restoration. When Allender created his wonderful cars, he wisely left the Chevrolet mechanics alone. For 1957, the body-side treatment removed any hint of the Belair donor car’s side trim. Cadillac inspired molding including a washboard treatment for the lower rear quarter panels ahead and behind the wheel opening, gave the car an atmosphere of elegance. Eldorado inspired fins were created with the taillight crafted into the trailing edge that completed the Cadillac look. Faux-exhaust ports were placed below the taillights with a rear reflector and back-up light mounted to the rounded and scored bumpers. This car is painted a stunning shade of 1957 Cadillac’s Tahoe Blue with a silver top which also adds to the appearance of the Eldorado Brougham with its brushed stainless-steel roof. One area of the El Morocco that received just minimal restyling was the interior. The original Chevrolet Belair trim scheme has been retained but done in brilliant blue vinyl bolsters with silver vinyl inserts. The dashboard retains the Chevrolet instrument cluster with gauges and speedometer, plus the factory heater-defroster and even the AM push-button radio. In the center of the horn ring is a custom emblem denoting this is an El Morocco. With just test miles on the odometer since its restoration was completed, this is a stunning car that is sure to attract attention wherever it is exhibited and is an exceptional piece of American automotive history and ingenuity.

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