This edition we explore the 1958 Chevrolet Impala, this beauty belongs to John and Linda Stivers.
Mention 1950’s Chevy’s and the first thing that comes to most minds are the “Tri-Fives”, 1955 - 1957 Bel Air line. These seem to be the most common cars at shows.
The 1958 Chevrolet Impala was the most exciting new shape in a generation of cars but featured one year only styling. For 1958 the Impala was Chevrolet's top of the line model! It is often credited with starting the muscle car era and quickly became the symbol for performance in the early sixties.
The Impala began as the top option level on Chevrolet's Bel Air series and was available only as a 2 door hard top sport coupe and convertible in its introductory year. The Impala styling followed the the basic lines of the Bel Air, Biscayne and Delray models but received special styling extra's that can be seen in the images in this article. The 1958 Chevy's were longer, lower, wider, and heavier than the 1955-1957 cars. Styled in the Harley Earl idiom,they were “round” where their predecessors had been straight. Though not as important as the classic Chevy’s (1955-57), they expressed commendable restraint in an era of tailfin excesses, and were solidly built.
One Chevy ad stated - "Most Zestful, Restful Driving - your dollars ever bought!". Another ad said "Lower and Longer, Wider and Stronger...Deep Down New"! 1958 Chevrolet Ads with images of "good times" appeared in most magazines of the time such as this 1958 Life magazine ad....
"Excitement rides with you every mile you roll in your new Chevrolet Impala. At rest or on the road, this sleek style setter promises action, gaiety, glamor and it keeps its promises beautifully. Come aboard and take the key to the happiest traveling on the highway".
The Impala was actually the upper end of the Bel Air series. However the Bel Air name didn't appear anywhere on the car. The limited production Impala, a package option for the Bel Air hrdtop and convertibles, featured special trim, deluxe interiors, and resulted in the highest price in the Chevrolet lineup, priced new between $2586.00 - $2841.00. A good reception caused Chevy to expand Impala offerings into a separate series for 1959. In spite of being a recession year and high cost, consumers purchased approximately 43,000 Impala hardtops and 17,000 Impala convertibles.
Performance was important from the beginning as the first Impala could be optioned with up to a 348 V8 putting out 315 HP. The stout 348 cubic inch big block was borrowed from the Chevrolet Truck Division. The "Turbo Thrust" 348 was offered with a 4 barrel carburetor and rated at 250 HP. Two "Super Turbo Thrust" 348 V8's with three 2 barrel carburetors were offered with 280 HP and 315 HP.