348/4-Speed: 1958 Chevrolet Impala Hardtop

The 1958 Impala led a bit of a star-crossed existence for many years. Coming on the heels of the uber-successful tri-fives (’55-’57), it was a radical change, to say the least. The “And now for my next trick…” proffering from Chevrolet turned out to be quite a “lower, longer and wider” surprise as the ’58 sales brochure described the new Impala. But like so many cars that didn’t stir collectible interest for years, the ’58s have come into their own and are now widely sought after. And here is an interesting example for review, it is located in Mankato, Minnesota and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $7,450, reserve not yet met.

The Impala was no slouch in the sales department as about 198K hit the street in ’58, compared to about 214K similarly equipped top drawer ’57 Bel Airs (convertible and two-door hardtop). The comparison is hard to make because the Impala was a trim level on the Bel Air seres in ’58 – it became its own identified model in ’59. And 1958 was not a great measuring stick for sales as a recession lingered on through most of the year and adversely affected every auto manufacturer’s volumes.

This 1958 subject car is suffering from a pretty obvious corrosion problem and it’s everywhere; quarters, rockers, upper fenders (headlight buckets), doors, and in places where the rust has not managed to perforate the body panels, it has amassed a spread of surface rust. There is a walkaround video here that will give you a better idea of the extensiveness of the body rot. The seller does mention that this Chevy is still wearing its original Onyx Black finish, not that it matters at this point. Most of the extensive trim is still in place, though some are missing and what is there isn’t in the best of shape; the chrome is gotten weak too. There are numerous images of the underside included and the heavy X-frame shows as intact but the floors, both passenger compartment and trunk, as well as the inner rockers are giving way to the tin worm.

Under the hood is the new for ’58 348 CI V8 engine. Assuming that it is original, it is probably a 250 HP variant as the optional 280 HP version was triple carbureted.  What is not original is the four-speed manual transmission, that didn’t become an option in the “B” body until 1959. This Chevy appears to have been born with a three-speed manual gear-box as the boot for the column shifter (three on the tree) is still in place. The aforementioned video illustrates the engine running and it sounds OK – it doesn’t appear to smoke and the underside is dry. Of note is a new fuel tank that has been installed.

The interior is suitably rough, the driver’s side seat upholstery is shredding away and the carpet is missing. The upholstery looks like a rolled black vinyl redo from sometime in the past and the missing carpet helps you to gauge the condition of the floors – they’re not terrible but they do have some “there’s nothing here” in places. The dash and simple instrument panel are intact but the headliner is missing and the door cards have seen better days. All is not lost, however, the original radio is right in place where it belongs.

The seller’s website lists the price of this Impala as $13,900, so that may give some direction as to the reserve. Fully restored ’58 Impalas yield a pretty handsome return nowadays but this example is very far removed from a top dollar car. Just trying to turn this Chevy into a driver quality car is going to take a lot of metalwork – but if a ’58 is really your thing then it’s all about the amount of effort you would want to bestow on this forlorn subject. Make sure to review all of the listing images, they are extensive in number. I have never been a ’58 Chevrolet fan but I know many that are and current values reflect that enthusiasm; so how about a show of hands for preference, what says you, a ’57 or a ’58?

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Like both the ’57 and ’58s. The ’58 Impalas with the 348 engines, 4 on the floor and the positraction rear ends were good looking and fast. Bit more chrome than I usually like but it was put in the right places. Aggressive pretty well describes the looks. This car is going to take a bunch of time and money to overcome the rust that I bet is underneath.

    Like 11
    • Harlin Cheatwood

      I owned both a 57 Chevy and the first 59 Impala with 4 speed from thefactory delivered in October of 1958!
      My 57 with 283 dual quad rated 245 HP with Powerglide would run away from my 59 348 single quad rated 250 HP!
      The 57 with a normal H frame was more stable than 59 with bat wings and X frame! The 58 would have the X frame and this one is too gone to save!

      Like 5
  2. piston poney

    driver side quarter and under the door on the driver side isn’t looking to good neither is the fender around the headlights on the passenger and driver side, the seat, the head liner, the door panels, there’s also a spot under the deck lid that needs some patching, i really don’t even wanna know what the underside looks like. yeah i know i’m nit picking sorry but all in all its fix able but just not for me.

    Like 3
  3. Vance

    I have liked the ’58 since seeing ” American Graffiti ” a lifetime ago. The Tri-5’s are great, but the ’58 was a nice change of pace. There is just too much rust everywhere, maybe someone with the time, patience, and lots of money can save it.

    Like 11
  4. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I’ve owned both a 57 Bel Aire 2 drht and a 58 Impala 2 drht. The 58 was my personal favorite. Both were in Washington state and had zero rust. It’s to bad this one has rusted so much or I’d really like to bid on it.
    God bless America

    Like 5
  5. Zapp

    I’ve always loved the ’58 Chevy…even the 4-doors could be sharp-looking cars.

    A family friend had a ’58 Biscayne 4-door in Cashmere Blue; I spent a lot of time admiring it up close. I still remember him quietly saying “Please don’t lean on it–she’s got a lot of Bondo in her.”

    Like 4
  6. Charles Sawka

    Big block and 4sp. What’s not to love.

    Like 6
  7. Paul Caubo

    First car I bought was a 58 Impala, paid 360$ for it it 1977. Black with Chrome reverse rims, 348 with powerglide auto. Absolutely loved that car, wish I had never sold it. They weren’t at all popular at that time, so I thought I could eventually replace it….boy, was I wrong!

    Like 6
    • Jon

      hear ya … my first was a ’59 Biscayne … belonged to the local druggist’s wife … paid $75 for it … she rode the clutch so bad you could let off the clutch and it wouldn’t move … it had a 283 2/bbl and a three-on-the-tree … paid $20 for a new clutch … had long legs – could wind out second to about 85mph … got stolen in Chicago … really liked that car …

  8. TED WALTHER

    Someone like it, it is no longer available. Nice car, but the convertible looks better.

    Like 1
  9. Rex Payne

    The styling of the ’58 Impala was not “radical.” Actually, you could say it was conservative, because in that year Chevrolet and Pontiac got the body that Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac had been using since ’56. Judging just by how uncommon these cars were back in the day — yeah, I was there — I’m thinking that the recession that happened that year explains it.

    Like 2
  10. jerry hw brentnell

    you can take all the 58 chevs and keep them! ugly tanks! I would rather have a 58 pontiac bonneville 2 door hardtop or better yet a 58 oldsmobile 98 2 door hard top, thats coming from a dodge boy that lusts after a 59 plymouth fury hardtop

    Like 3
  11. Chas358 Chas358

    My brother had a black ’58 back in the day, 283 automatic. The cam went bad and I remember when he replaced it.

    Like 2
  12. William c Harris

    Looks like my older brothers 58 that was stolen from my mothers back yard in the early 70s. I you know very much about the old chevys the enblems says this was a factory 283 We had several of these in the day LOL

    Like 1
  13. RichardinMaine

    Came across a ‘58 Brookwood Sedan Delivery in an SC graveyard. It was a V8, pretty rough. The tailgate was more like the idea of a tailgate. The want was bigger than my wallet as was the ask given the condition.

    Like 1
  14. Patrick

    I have heard that they made a few factory 1958 Chevy 4 speeds at the end of the model year to get ready for the 59 production. I don’t know how true this is, but I have read of a couple of factory 58 Chevrolet 4 speeds. One is in a museum in Flordia.

    Like 1
  15. Harlin Cheatwood

    I ordered my 59 Impala in mid 1958, 4 speed, posi, 245 HP Dual Quad 283, they delivered a 348 single quad 250HP. The factory representive clearly stated mine was the # 1 full sized Chevy delivered mid October of 1958!
    I ordered full sized Chevys with 4 speeds in 1957 and 1958 but none were delivered the 4 speeds were on the order sheets but only were installed in Vets! My Impala was a Van Nuys car so there might have been 4 speeds produced back East!

  16. John

    The 348 models had some pretty flashy emblems with racing flags that separated them from the 283s. This one has none at all. Given the trans switch I’d be inclined to doubt the originality of the 348. If my memory is correct, there was never a three speed variant of the 348. I’d come closer to believing that this car left the factory with a six. Caveat Emptor.

    • Marty Parker

      The only manual transmission offered with a 348 was the close ratio 3 speed with a 2:20 to 1 first gear, 1:31 to 1 second and 1
      to 1 third.

  17. ACZ

    Years ago I had a 58 BA 348/3 speed. That was one fast car.
    Mine did not have the excess of “patina” that this one does. A nice project for the expert welder. I’d like to see more metal and less holes for the price.

  18. Phlathead Phil

    A perfect candidate for a “Rusto-Mod.”

    Body comes off and each piece must be treated properly to send Mr. Rust on his way. Some chunks must be cut out.

    Speaking of cutting, how about chopping the price and channeling the parts??

  19. Ronald L Jordan

    My preference would be a Del Rey with the 348.

  20. Francois

    The remnants of the column shifter is a real turnoff. If you’re going to convert from column automatic to floor manual, do a complete job and get rid of the leftover parts. Not being a fan of the ’58, I tried to look at it with fresh eyes, but the only way that it looked attractive was with my eyes closed. It’s hard to drive with one’s eyes closed, so I’ll pass, thank you.

  21. ACZ

    Thinking more about this…..there was a guy, named Don, that had a red primer 58 Impala coupe. This was in high school. It had a later 409 with a Hydromotive four speed hydro. Exceptionally strong awesome car.

    Like 1

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