Help me select a steering column

November 1, 2011 | By Richard Prince


I am rebuilding a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, with limited modifications (largely brakes and driveline), but I would like to install a later steering column that has the ignition on the column, for the security of the location, and also the steering lock. I have not been able to find a good alternative column to the aftermarket ones. Like many old car guys, I prefer to modify salvage yard parts rather than new specialty items. Any suggestions?


There are several good reasons to install a later model steering column into your mildly modified ’57 Bel Air but I’m not convinced that the added security a locking column with an integral ignition switch offers is one of them. This is because it is relatively easy for a car thief to defeat a column lock with some basic hand tools.

Even so, newer collapsible columns are definitely safer and it’s often very convenient to have a column that tilts and telescopes, which the original 1957 column didn’t do. As far as which newer column to use, I’d stick with a GM column made circa 1969 or newer.