My Car Quest

December 11, 2018

The Blast From The Past 1958 Chevy Impala

by Mike –

Remember the white 1958 Chevy in the movie “American Graffiti”? I loved that car and for some reason I like the ’58 Chevy better than the ’57 Chevy. I know this probably puts me in a very small minority.

1958 Chevrolet Impala

When I saw this orange 1958 Chevrolet Impala at a recent local car show I had to take photos.

Introduced in 1958 the Impala was the top car for the Bel Air line. The big fins of the 1957 Chevy were gone and replaced with rounder, angled, smaller fins. The long rear trunk area gave the impression of a longer car overall. The Impala was longer, lower and wider than previous Chevys.

1958 Chevrolet Impala

A 283 cid V8 engine was standard, with power ratings from 185 to 290 horsepower. A 348 cid V8 Turbo-Thrust was a new engine option, derived from a truck engine producing 250 hp, 280 hp, or 315 hp. The Ramjet fuel injection was available as a desirable option for the Turbo-Fire 283 V8.

1958 Chevrolet Impala

1958 Chevrolet Impala

In 1958 55,989 convertibles and 125,480 Sport Coupes were manufactured. There should be plenty out there for anyone who wants one of these blasts from the past 1958 Chevys.

1958 Chevrolet Impala

1958 Chevrolet Impala

1958 Chevrolet Impala

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The Blast From The Past 1958 Chevy Impala
Article Name
The Blast From The Past 1958 Chevy Impala
Description
When I saw this orange 1958 Chevrolet Impala at a recent local car show I had to take photos. It reminded me of the movie "American Graffiti".
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Comments

  1. Hi, MIke! I know that judging a car’s looks is incredibly subjective and personal, and everybody has a different opinion about American cars from the ’50s. For me, 1958 is the year of the ugliest cars to come out of Detroit in that era, across the board for every make. The ’55, ’56, ’57, and even though excessive in some ways, the ’59s are the epitome of classic 1950’s American car styling, again, across the board for every make. However, the 1958 car models, including this Impala, are an extremely confused compilation, with ugly deformed bodies, with too many lines, and, yes, too much chrome in too many places where it is not warranted. No disrespect to you intended, but most Chevy fans cosider the 1958 Impala one of the ugliest GM cars ever made. However, I wasn’t aware of the really interesting engine options available for that car for that year, so it definitely had some things going for it. And based on almost 200,000 sold, maybe I don’t know what I am talking about. However, if you want to talk Impalas specifically, the 1965 Impala holds the record (probably one that will never be broken) of the most of any single car model (1 million) sold in a single model year. The 1964 1/2 Mustang comes close, with one million sold in 18 months. Those were the days when Detroit was King!!! Glenn in the Bronx, NY.

    • Glenn – I knew I was stepping out on a limb when I said I liked the ’58 better than the ’57 Chevy but didn’t you see “American Graffiti”? George Lucas did not pick a ’57 Chevy he picked the ’58!

      I knew I was going to get hammered I just did not expect it to be so soon and so hard. Maybe if you would have seen this orange beauty in person …

  2. I loved the movie, “American Graffiti”, but maybe Lucas picked a ’58 because he couldn’t afford a ’57 (it was an incredibly low-budget movie). I think I saw a metallic blue one at a car show in person once, but I might have run away and blocked out the memory. Look, I respect your opinion on cars more than anybody else, and I am sure that this restoration is lovely – the interior is beautiful, and the engine choices you mentioned are amazing (the large truck engine, the 283 fuelie, etc.), but you can put a dress on a pig, and unfortunately, it will still be a pig. I am under the opinion, that ALL the American car companies all colluded with one another in 1958 to all put out hideous looking cars – no crisp, clean lines from the ’55-’57s, and no sweeping, flaring lines from the 1959 model year. Instead, there are lines going backward, and somehow also going forward, and again, too much chrome in all the wrong places. It is also interesting that the front grill in the bumper does not look anything like the one in the print ad for the Impala Sports Coupe, but this might be artistic lIcense on the part of the sketch artist, or there were different bumper grills available, like on today’s Chrysler 300. I am a stubborn fool (too stubborn for a 50-year old), and maybe some other Car Quest readers who are more intelligent and knowledgable than me can weigh in with their opinions. Glenn in the Bronx, NY.

  3. Bill Gilmore says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for featuring something different for a change.

    I suspect Glenn from the Bronx is probably more into foreign cars than American vehicles.

    It has also been my observation as a car museum curator and a long-time car show judge both locally in Arizona and at the National Concours level that way more people would agree with you than with him.

    Personally, I don’t think they made a ugly car in 1958, they were all unique that year plus it was GM’s “Silver Anniversary” which explains why they went heavy on the chrome that year too.

    Although, with that being said, just this weekend at a gathering of Shelby racing enthusiasts, I agreed with a guy who has well over 50 cars in his eclectic collection of both American and European vehicles that the ’58 Corvette was, in retrospect, the ugliest Vette of the ’50s and ’60s era.

    Anyway, keep up the great work Mike and keep showcasing the cool, rare and unusual vehicles that you run across in your travels and please ignore those nay-sayer’s.

    Bill in Phoenix.

  4. Roger Hirschland says:

    Mike,
    For what it’s worth, I agree with you whole heartedly. The ’57 Chevy is iconic and charming, but the ’58 Impala is a wonder to behold aesthetically. Beautiful lines, well balanced. I suspect Bill (above) is correct that there are many in your camp on this. And, by the way, the ’58 Olds, on which I got my license to drive, although over the top in chrome, was also a marvelous design and a memorable piece of history.

    Thanks for this post this morning.

    Roger, in D.C.

  5. Ciaran Payne says:

    58 for me every time, so much cooler and better lines.

  6. This post is a another reason CAR GUYS are so KOOOL!!! These arguments FUEL love of the culture and NOBODY GETS KILLED!! We’d settle WORLD ISSUES with a DRAG RACE (LOL)!!
    From a 70+ YR old who grew up really poor and lusted for many of what I dreamed of as ‘gems’ of the ’50s- ’60s (used to be able to identify make / model FROM A PICTURE OF A TAILIITE!!), I have to a agree w/ Glenn that 1958 seemed a ‘busted ‘ year ACROSS THE BOARD from everyone, especially GM, EXCEPT THE ’58 IMPALA!! (from a GM long timer from Chevy to Caddy!!) I’ve always thought of it as the only savior of GM’s 1958 model year. Who were they trying to ‘punish’ w/ the ’58 BUIK ROADMASTER ‘LIMITED’?? Thankfully it was LIMITED!!(LOL)
    Art E
    (’67 RIVOLTA)

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