Rare Power Top: 1958 Chevrolet Corvette

Parked since 1975, this 1958 Chevrolet Corvette in Vero Beach, Florida may soon grace the highways and byways with its once-elegant presence again. The late ’50s two-seater comes to market here on eBay where at least 13 bidders have raised its market value above $24,000. Offered as one of 900 with the optional power convertible top, the first-generation ‘Vette looks better than many we’ve seen. The seller reports that some of the car’s parts have gone missing over the decades, early indicators that dreams of restoration have faded.

Like modern convertibles, the ’58 Corvette power top mechanism lifts the boot cover, retracts the top into its home behind the passengers, then lowers the lid, all through the magic of hydraulics and clever engineering. Some may argue that it takes twenty times longer than doing it by hand, but don’t be a hater! Buttons and gadgets are super-cool.

Here’s a mechanical contraption that more enthusiasts recognize. The listing describes this as a DE-code 283, the 185 HP 2 bbl unit with Powerglide two-speed transmission, according to 348-409. No one will expect a ’58 ‘Vette (or honestly, any stock Corvette) to throw down with a smoky burnout or any exhibition of speed, and I’d issue a rare pass on my affinity for manual transmission convertibles for this interesting 283 Powerglide classic.

Even with the missing parts, that’s a good-looking mug. The spartan description and handful of low-res pictures barely tell this car’s story, but the power top’s appeal must be doing the trick. Clearly this Chevy’s “as is” auction will get some would-be buyers’ claws out; the appeal of America’s Sports Car never fades. Some cars only appeal to the generation that wanted them when they were young, but others transcend their era, achieving a timeless attraction among younger collectors of each emerging era. “Corvette” earns a spot on that list. Have you seen a power top C1 Corvette?

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Comments

  1. gbvette62

    The power top may be a fun gadget, but not only can you raise the manual top quicker, the power top takes almost as much work to raise.

    The hinge covers need to be unsnapped, and the deck lid needs to be manually unlatched. Once the deck opens, the top raises and the deck closes, the deck needs to be latched again, and the top’s rear bow needs to be lowered. Finally, the 2 front and 2 rear top latches have to be latched, and the hinge covers snapped again. The only steps the power top saves is raising the deck and top. Considering the deck is spring loaded, and pops up on it’s own, and it only takes one hand to raise the top, the power top is pretty superfluous.

    It looks like this car’s missing a lot of expensive parts. With the wrong motor, and needing a lot of work and parts, I doubt it’s a good restoration candidate, but more likely become the basis for a restomod.

    Like 17
    • Andy

      Gbvette62

      Your response is why I enjoy this site. Totally knowledgeable and providing more insight to the ins and outs of each cars unigie features.

      Like 11
    • smokeymotors

      GBvette62 is right! I own a 62 luckly mine didn’t need a lot, this 58 is going to need thousands of dollars to replace the missing rare parts and the parts you find more than likely will need to be restored missing trunk spears? grill? time to find all this stuff! I’m getting a head ache! but in the end if you make it thru to the other side 58’s are worth it, Harley Earl’s last over the top design.

      Like 1
  2. Daniel wright

    Make it safe to drive and comfortable to ride in and drive it. Not many rat rod 1958 corvettes around.

    Like 7
  3. DRV

    As mentioned, raising the top by had is a few seconds, the hardest part is latching the bottom bow to the lid which you have to do with the auto top too. Mine was a power top but pieces were missing and the heck with it.

  4. Al

    i think base 283 was 230 hp 4 barrel never knew of a 2 barrel in a vette only in full size chevys

  5. chrlsful

    these R the ones. ’58 – ’60. Don’t like the ‘mako-shark’ or whatever the 2nd gen was (well, ok, ’63 split window is something really great). Not happy post ’60 due to the rear end change. Really like the era’s dash (both sides) too. The instruments and cove passenger’s side…
    No need hydraulic, sell off for other needed goodies. As said B4 I’d like to see the blue flame in any of the C-1 models (luv the 3 YH carbs esp). A sacrilege to the knowledgable collectors in anything but ’53/5.

  6. 1Ronald

    Two missing vertical trunk chrome strips is what makes a ’58 Corvette. How did they go missing?

    Like 1
  7. Tom

    “No one would expect a stock Corvette to ‘throw down’ a smokey burnout”? Seriously?? Maybe you meant stock “
    What is your reasoning behind that comment?

    Like 3
    • Tom

      Maybe you meant “stock Corvair”??

      Like 4
      • Todd Fitch Staff

        Hello Tom. Not speaking about capability, only that Corvettes are historically purchased by those with little interest in horseplay beyond an occasional stab of the throttle in a straight line. Despite their incredible race-proven pedigree, most Corvettes on the road are rolling chicanes, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. They can be appreciated and enjoyed at any speed.

        Like 2
  8. Jack

    The carburetor pictured appears to be a Rochester Quadrajet 4 barrel that was produced from 1965 onwards

    Like 3
  9. Steve Clinton

    ‘that’s a good-looking mug’ It appears to look like an expression of complete shock. “What the hell happened to me!?”

    Like 2
  10. Al

    just saw that i had read below pic where it said 185 hp 2 barrel 283

  11. HARM R SMIT

    One thing for sure American car design exudes nostalgia like no other. Restored to original add a few safety improvements and presto you have a beautiful thing to behold in any crowd.

    Like 1
  12. Brian M Member

    At least the rocker covers are incorrect on the engine since they have the hole for a pcv valve (non-existant in 57) and an oil fill cap, also not 57 vintage. The early V8s had an oil fill tube at the front of the intake manifold, next to the thermostat housing, so at least the manifold has been changed to accommodate the later carb, or the whole engine is from a later vintage vehicle.

    Like 2
  13. Bill

    You may be right, that does look like a Q-Jet. My ’68 had one (350hp 327); I thought ’68 was the first year they used it in the Corvette, but I’m no expert on that!

  14. Ted Walther

    It just blows me away all these cars parked in the 1970’s and 1980’s, especially Corvettes. I would love to snatch up this 58, but the timing is wrong for me. Hopefully it finds a dedicated owner to bring her back to life.👍🏻😎🇺🇸

    Like 3
  15. Steve Slader

    The chevy 327 came out in ‘62

  16. Bill

    Steve – I was referring to the Quadrajet carb.

    Like 1
  17. Brian M Member

    If you look very closely at the carb, you will not see secondaries where they should be. This is a two bbl carb

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