For 1950, Chevrolet came up with a revolutionary style that would set a pattern for decades. The Bel Air Hardtop was styled as a convertible with a non-detachable solid roof. Models like this had been around since the 1920s, including early Chevrolets, with no degree of success. But the newly revised idea, sweeping the GM line from Chevrolet to Cadillac, had finally found its era. First year production reached only 76,662 as buyers cautiously tested the revised concept. The car cost $1,741 and weighed 3,225 lb (1,463 kg). Front suspension was independent, named "knee-action". he first Bel Airs of this era shared only their front sheet metal ahead of the A pillar with the rest of the range. The windshield, doors, glass, and trunk were common with the Styline DeLuxe Convertible Coupe, however the roof, rear quarters and rear windows (3) were unique. The chassis and mechanicals were common with the rest of the passenger car range, and the overall appearance was the same as the rest of the range, except that the roof line was lower and the unique three piece rear window gave it a longer and more balanced look. The first Bel Airs were only available with the "DeLuxe" premium trim level and specification.
Apart from the usual annual grille and trim changes, the 1951–1952 Bel Air differed from the earlier 1950 model with introduction of the higher and squarer rear guards that were across the whole range.
In 1953 Chevrolet renamed its series, and the Bel Air name was applied to the premium model range. Two lower series, the 150 and 210, also emerged (as successors to the Special and Deluxe series, respectively). The 1953 Chevrolet was advertised as "Entirely new through and through," due to the restyled body panels, front and rear ends. However, essentially these Chevrolets had similar frame and mechanicals to the 1949–1952 cars.