Last week’s photo showed the 1958 Chevrolet Impala. Readers offered wonderful memories of their experiences with that model of Chevy.
Chosen randomly from the correct entries was Gerald Byrd, of Augusta, who has a long history with such cars. He said his father-in-law once owned such a car and also entered the contest this week. Moreover:
“I knew the photo was a 1958 Impala by the side marker, and if I’m not mistaken, the only way you could get the Impala was as a two-door. The 1958 impala was a wonderful car made very popular by American Graffiti, the movie. I always loved it; in fact, I was crazier over it than than the 1955, ’56 and ’57.
“My granddaddy had one, a black-and-white two-door, but not an Impala, and my aunt had a 1958 wagon that was a Nomad. Everybody thinks Nomad was made only from 1955, ’56 and ’57, but they’re incorrect. Those were the high-line wagons, the most expensive Chevrolet wagon you could buy. But in 1958 the Nomad was the cheapest wagon you could buy, almost like a sedan delivery or a panel wagon. It was a two-door wagon. I thought it was beautiful, it was brown and white. I was crazy over that car.
“My best friend in high school, his dad bought a brand-new ’58, a four-door with the 348 engine with three deuces, which was the hottest engine you could get in 1958.”
Byrd wins a prize from The Augusta Chronicle. Other readers identifying the vehicle were:
AIKEN: Raymond Richards.
AUGUSTA: Dr. Dalton Brannen wrote: “The vehicle in the 12-13-13 edition of the AC is a 1958 Chevrolet Impala. It was the only year break in the Chevrolets with fins from 1955-1960. Those years were “straight” body styles while the 1958 was “rounded”. This was the first year of the “heavy” big look of the American land yachts which continued for many years in the full sized cars. It sold new for about $2600 to $2900.”
John Hayes wrote: “This week’s car is a 1958 Chevrolet Impala – a real classic.”
Sam Spangler wrote: “The vehicle in the picture is a 1958 Chevy Impala, my first car. I still have one of the wheel covers. The cover has a small spinner in the middle, which you can not quite see in the picture.”
Jimmy Griffin said: “I owned a 58 Chevrolet. It was the first year Chevrolet came out with the Impala. I had a red two-door hardtop Impala. I got it when I was about 18, about 1963. It was a one-owner. The 348 was the big motor, and it had three deuces. I blew up that motor drag-racing at Jackson. I put another engine in it, a 283, from a buddy. It had the three-speed on the column, and I had a Hurst (shifter) in it and a three on the floor. I got it in high school. I turned it into a family car. It was fire engine red. Had it painted again. It had a three-tone interior. The 1958 had a continental kid, but not mine. I turned into a truck guy after getting married, but I still drive red.”
Lowell Fritsche said: “In my opinion, that was one of the best-looking Chevrolets they ever put out. Much better than the ’57: I think the ’58 was kind of like Rodney Dangerfield: It didn’t get no respect. That was really a pretty one. They messed it up when they put the continental kit on it, but that’s what they did back in those days.”
Also, Jerry Sanders and Willie Thomas.
BELVEDERE: Marlin Clevenger.
CANTON, GA.: David Anderson wrote: “Had I not already homed in on a search for a 1959 Cadillac Coupe deVille, my first classic car purchase probably would have been a 1958 Chevrolet Impala. In the early ’80s when I was beginning my search, the Tri-Fives (1955-57) were really taking off in price and popularity, but the ’58 models stayed under the radar at least for a while.
“1958 was Chevrolet’s golden anniversary. The slogan on one of the period brochures was ‘Forward from Fifty,’ and in 1958, those now-revered 1957 Chevys were last year’s news, tossed out the door. The mantra at Chevrolet was longer, lower, wider … and from some of the panned reviews of the day, heavier and slower.
“1958 was also a year of firsts, first appearance of the quad headlights on a Chevy, first appearance of the Impala (as a Bel Air
trim option – it was not a separate trim option until 1959), new foot lever parking brake, a new X-frame chassis to make the ‘lower’ possible and a new air suspension.”
EVANS: Jerry Paul wrote: “The car of the week is a 1958 Chevrolet Impala.” (His entry in last week’s 1954 Ford contest was lost in the flurry of responses. We apologize.)
Larry Heath wrote: “The Impala was a new model introduced in 1958 and was the top of the line for that year. It featured a unique roof style and various trim pieces. Also, it introduced the round, three-taillight per side styling used for several years in the Impala series. Engines ranged from an inline six to a 348-cubic-inch V-8.
An upper-classman at my high school had a silver ’58 Impala with a white top. Fitted with fender skirts and other accessories it was a really nice car for high school use.”
Paul Perdue wrote: “The vehicle is a 1958 Chevrolet Impala. I was 12 years old when it came out, and I thought it was so cool. My new 2014 Lexus ES 350 is even cooler.”
Bill Harding wrote: “1958 was a year of big changes for Chevy and all GM auto divisions. Each division’s offerings had all-new bodies and chassis with either coil springs or optional air-bag suspensions replacing leaf springs. In addition, Chevys had new model names, including the Biscayne, Delray and top-of-the-line Impala.
“1958 saw Chevy’s first usage of ‘quad’ headlights. Powertrain news included the new 348-cubic-inch ‘W’-series V-8s, which were available in three power levels (250, 280, and 315) with three transmission choices: A close-ratio, column-shift 3-speed manual was standard, with the option of either a two-speed Powerglide or Turboglide, which was Chevy’s ‘shiftless’ automatic, very much like continuously variable transmissions.”
Also, Jim Williamson.
GROVETOWN: Gerald Wren.
HEPHZIBAH: Keith Devos wrote: “I met my first wife, who had a convertible. It had a monster 348-cubic-inch engine and automatic transmission. White with dark-teal interior. Both were very pretty, but alas, they both gone now.”
Willie Tucker wrote: “This week’s car is a 1958 Chevrolet Impala two-door hardtop. Could be a convertible or a hardtop.”
John Williams said: “That the year I married, the year Elvis Presley was on top.”
KEYSVILLE, GA.: Glenn Widner wrote: “1958 Chevrolet Impala. The Impala model is new for 1958, as is the big block ‘W’ head 348CI engine and 4-speed transmission in a passenger car.
LOUISVILLE, GA.: Robert L. Holbert wrote: “The car is a 1958 Chevrolet Impala, the first generation of the modern Impalas. It was big for a Chevy, not as nimble as the ’57 Bel Air but roomier. Powered by a 283-cubic-inch V-8 and a three-speed column shift, it had good speed. A high school buddy of mine had a convertible model that we cruised in and garnered a whole lot of attention.”
MARTINEZ: Lloyd B. Schnuck wrote: “The Impala name was first used for the full-size 1956 General Motors Motorama show car that bore Corvette-esque design cues, especially the grille.”
Eddy Marsh wrote: “The car pictured is a 1958 Chevrolet Impala. It was a totally new car for ’58 and the first year of the Impala.”
Jim Muraski wrote: “Chevy’s first year of using the Impala moniker. I have not personally owned one but have owned a ’58 Bel Air two-door hardtop and a ’58 Yeoman two-door station wagon.”
Also, James King.
MILLEN, GA.: David Thompson.
NORTH AUGUSTA: Ted Wasserlein wrote: “Thank you for picking the 1958 Impala. When I was 15, my 19-year-old brother bought a brand-new convertible. They offered it only that way or two-door hardtop. It was white with a white top and a red-and-silver interior. He got the 348-cubic-inch engine with a four-barrel carburetor and three-speed manual transmission.
“Later, he bought the optional three two-barrel carburetor setup from the Chevrolet parts department. I believe that got it up to 280 horsepower. With my help and persuasion, the car wound up with a tube grille, lowered, de-chromed and sported 1956 Chevrolet taillight lenses. I did not get to drive the car much, but my brother did let me borrow it for prom night. Memories!”
Also, Stephanie Mitchell.
PERRY, FLA.: Larry Anderson wrote: “It’s a 1958 Chevy Impala. First year they made the Impala the top auto for Chevy; until then the Bel Air had that distinction. Also came out with a 348-cubic-inch V-8. The ’58 had unique styling, nothing like the ’57 or ’59.”
WARRENVILLE: James Covar pointed out that 1958 was the first year for the top-of-the-line Impala after 1957’s Bel Air.
NO CITY LISTED: Bob Troup, Mike Kay and David Miles.