Greg's List: Chevrolet Corvette
By Greg Warner
The 1958 Chevrolet "Corvette" was only available as a 2-door convertible model with few options available over the base model offerings. The re-styled, updated and enhanced, larger overall-sized body and more aggressive looks over the previous model included adding over 200 lbs. to the total weight of the "Corvette" (making it the first production Corvette to weigh just over 3000 lbs.). The new for 1958 Chevrolet "Corvette", had the quad-style headlamp effect added to the front fenders, in keeping with the styling cues of the era, and lost 4 of the previous model's 13-tooth, "shark-look" grille, (now containing only 9 teeth). The hood received some "faux" louvers and the trunk was adorned with twin "chromed trim spars", running tip-to-tail on the trunk lid, both of these effects were specific-only to the 1958 year models. Both front and rear bumpers were now attached to the frame instead of directly to the body, which greatly increased their strength and protection factors. The eight available body-paint colors were changed from the old enamel system to a new acrylic-lacquer type of paint for a better finished look.
The interior of the re-styled 1958 Chevrolet "Corvette" was refined and the instrumentation was now placed directly in front of the driver and included a "stacked" arrangement of a 160-MPH speedometer, on top of an 8,000 RPM tachometer (which replaced the previously utilized 6,000 RPM unit) and a complete set of gauges . A grab-bar for the passenger to hang onto in "stressful" driving conditions was added and a pair of, now factory installed, seat belts was standard! The suspension was independent A-arm type with coil springs, anti-sway bar and tubular hydraulic shock absorbers up front and a solid, live-axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs in the rear, also handled by tubular hydraulic shock absorbers. Engine availability was left to the venerable 283 c.i. small-block in five different variations, a single 4-bbl carburetor producing about 230 hp, two different versions with dual 4-bbl carburetors which produced either 245 or 270 hp depending on tuning and components, and two different versions of the "Fuelie" or fuel-injected units producing either 250 or 290 hp, again, depending on tuning and components. Three transmission types were available starting with the (optional) 2-speed automatic "Powerglide", to the (standard) three or (optional) four-speed manuals. The brakes were 11" drum style front and rear with optional heavy-duty "Cerametallic" linings and racing suspension package. Performance ratings for the 250hp version was 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds and run through the 1/4 mile traps at 90 mph in 15.7 seconds!
With 9,168 Chevrolet Corvettes produced in 1958, which made it the largest number of units per model-year to-date, was actually reported to be the first year that Chevrolet made a profit on the model! Some other notable options, not mentioned above, were a heater (go figure), signal-seeking or "Wonderbar" AM radio, auxiliary hardtop, power windows, power-operated folding soft-top and posi-traction rear axle in three different ratios. With a wheelbase of 102", an overall length of 177.2", an overall width of 72.8" and height of 51.1" the 1958 Chevrolet Corvette was an impressive performance package of a vehicle for around $3,500, especially when compared to the more expensive Euro-Brands of the day! Unfortunately due to the "Automobile Manufacturers Association" anti-racing mantra which had been established in 1957, Chevrolet down-played the many racing successes of the "new for 1958" Corvette!
Please check out this sweet, mostly original and unmolested specimen of a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette "Fuelie" offered by ProTeam Corvette Sales of Napoleon, OH, contact @ 419-592-5086 for more information and details. Also check out the hundreds of other fine Corvettes offered for sale or at auction here on ClassicCars.com and thanks for reading!
Keep the rubber on the road, drive safe but always, I mean always, HAVE FUN !!!
Quiz of the week: What were the names of the two automobile manufacturers from the far east to begin importing cars to the USA in 1958?
Answer: Toyota and Datsun
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