Chevrolet Classic Cars Reidsville NC
Fuquay Varina, NC
| The words “all-new” is an overused automotive term, most often incorrectly applied to warmed-over new models. Fifty years ago, it really meant something when attached to the just-introduced 1958 Chevrolet passenger cars.|
They had all-new body, chassis, rear suspension and steering designs. Model lineups were redone, and there even was a new V-8 engine thrown in for good measure.
For 1958, the new Delray series replaced the old One-Fifty lineup. Although it was the bottom of the Chevrolet offerings, this Delray two-door sedan sports wide whitewall tires and full wheel covers.
While the 1957 Chevrolets today are considered all-time classics, back in 1957, they were on the third year of a styling cycle and had to compete with all-new 1957 Fords and Plymouths. Ford scored a rare victory in model-year sales, and something had to be done.
While its two main competitors were warmed over for 1958, Chevrolet brought a near totally redone lineup of passenger cars.
Bodies were completely restyled and were mounted on a new “Safety-Girder” frame, which featured X-type construction with three cross members and a center tube. Rear suspension design changed from traditional leaf springing to coils with three control arms. Up front, there was new steering with a jointed steering shaft and steering pieces ahead of the front wheels.
The star of the 1958 Chevrolet lineup was the Bel Air Impala convertible, the perfect car to take to a private picnic. This example is decked out with a continental kit and fender skirts.
New bodies and underpinnings all resulted in a longer, lower and wider package that, on the average, was 150 pounds heaver. Wheelbase grew from 115 to 117.5 inches; overall length grew from around 200 to 209.1 inches. Width ballooned from 73.7 to 77.5 inches. Height dropped, depending on the model, nearly four inches to just over 56. The X-frame permitted the reduced height without loss of passenger room. Quad headlamps were standard for the first time on a Chevrolet production car.
A new lineup added to the excitement. Stars of the show were the Bel Air Impala two-door hardtop and convertible. Hardtops featured styling cues from the 1956 Chevrolet Motorama Impala dream car with reverse-angle rear window pillars and a simulated rear roof vent. There were also simulated vents on the rear quarter panels, six taillamps, an interior with three-tone seat inserts, reflectors in the extended armrests and, in hardtops, a pull-up center armrest in the middle of the back seat, among other standout features.
The mid-level Chevrolet for ’58 was the Biscayne series. The line included only four-door sedans and two-door sedans, like the two-tone example here.
However, Impalas were only part of the Bel Air stable. There was also a more conventional Sport Coupe (two-door hardtop), Sport Sedan (four-door hardtop) plus two- and four-door sedans.
Replacing the Two-Ten mid-range series was the Biscayne, takin...