Two years ago, we sold a 1958 Impala for a record-setting price. At that time, all the industry guys said it was a fluke and that it was the result of one guy falling in love, not an indication of a trend. But here it is, 2012, and the 1958 Impala convertible is unquestionably at the top of the Chevrolet food chain. The day has come when the ’58 convertibles, with their wonderful one-year-only styling and big car comfort, have eclipsed the Shoeboxes to become the hottest ‘50s bowtie icons.
This incredible 1958 Impala features a fresh frame-off restoration in spectacular (and correct) code 900 Onyx Black over a red interior. With NOS parts used throughout and a few thoughtful upgrades, this is unquestionably the nicest 1958 Impala we’ve ever featured. Is it worth the asking price? Ask us in two years.
One look at the black flanks on this Imp and you’ll know that someone spent a giant pile of cash getting it to look like that. Fit and finish are beyond reproach, and the body fits together better than new in every way. Panels are flush with one another, the trunk fits as it should, and the hood aligns perfectly with the grille, creating a near-seamless look. There’s no filler, no hacked-up patches, and nothing but straight OEM steel in those massive quarter panels, which have been block sanded until they are as smooth as the surface of an Olympic hockey rink. The paint is two-stage urethane, which insures a forever shine, but more importantly, delivers a depth and gloss that were flat-out impossible, even with the best custom paints of 1958. There are some who say Chevys shouldn’t be this nice, but after you see this car, you’ll wonder if they all should be.
Part of the ‘58’s appeal lies in all that chrome trim. The wide front grille has been restored, along with the California-style 1-piece bumpers, with show chrome so brilliant that it can probably be seen from space. The unique trim, from the hash-marks behind the headlights to the wonderfully intricate side trim, has all been polished and buffed until it matched the bumpers. Out back, a continental kit has been fitted, and looks right on the Impala, giving the Chevy an upscale look that certainly looks proper on a car that many called the baby Cadillac. Dual antennas, a tinted windshield, and new lenses in the Impala-specific taillights make it look like new—only better.
The engine is a 348 cubic inch V8 topped with a desirable tri-power carburetor setup. Fully rebuilt and detailed for show, the engine is almost too pretty to risk turning the key and putting any heat into it. No detail has been overlooked, from the Chevy Orange paint on the engine itself, which is as nice as the paint on the body of a production Impala, to the little stuff like hoses and clamps, which are exact reproduction items with correct stampings. The black engine bay is the ideal backdrop for the many different unique finishes and textures of the engine, ranging from the cadmium-plated hardware to the cast iron exhaust manifolds. An original generator/power steering unit remains in place, but the brakes have been upgraded to a much safer dual master cylinder with power assist. This car also includes a windshield washer system that’s fully functional. Correct tags, markings, and even a reproduction Delco battery have been fitted, giving it a showroom-fresh look that will be hard to ignore at shows.
The chassis is equally well detailed, with beautifully finished frame rails, correct red oxide floors, and exceptional attention to detail. The two-speed PowerGlide automatic transmission is fully rebuilt and snaps off shifts like a private’s salute, and it spins the original rear end. Front disc brakes have been added for safety, which is a good idea considering the 348’s ability to generate speed, and all the lines have been upgraded to stainless steel. A reproduction exhaust system makes all the right noises, with an aggressive rumble when you tap the throttle, but a subdued burble at idle. At the very rear, there’s a new gas tank, making this an Impala you can drive every day…if you dare. Even the 205/75/14 whitewall radials were installed with an eye towards putting this car on the road, although they look extremely accurate behind the original spinner wheelcovers.
The interior has been finished in code 855 Light Gray/Black/Red cloth, a tri-tone combination that made the 1958 Impalas famous. As fastidiously crafted as the bodywork, the interior is accurate and reproduces the original fabrics and textures exactly. Note the spectacular door panels (complete with power windows), the machine-turned dash, and the expertly restored two-tone steering wheel, which is a work of art all by itself. The carpets are correct, the gauges have been rebuilt, and the original AM radio now has an FM converter inside to deliver modern sounds with a vintage look. It’s also important to see that the clock works and keeps time, the heater blows warm air, and overhead, the black canvas convertible top folds effortlessly into the well, where it’s hidden by a matching vinyl boot. Even the trunk is show quality, with a reproduction mat and full-sized spare and jack assembly.
This lovely Impala also includes original manuals, an accessory booklet, and other information.
This is a true #1 condition vehicle, with exemplary workmanship and just 291 miles since the exhaustive, professional frame-off restoration. Impalas are showing well even in a market where the ’55-57 Chevys are faltering, and this car is one of the finest available anywhere at any price. It’s certainly the nicest we’ve ever featured. Loaded with options and finished in what is arguably the most desirable color combination, it’s a stunning monument to Chevy’s greatest achievement of the ‘50s.