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1958 Impala Convertible Continental for Sale With Unexpected Surprise on Its Odometer

1958 marked the beginning of an era of total market dominance for Chevrolet when the division debuted the Impala series on top of the full-size range. The new nameplate quickly took over the market and set production records that endure to this day. The name was grafted to a separate model the following year, pushing the brand to the top of the sales charts.
1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala 48 photos
Photo: mecum.com
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The year marked another first for the General Motors division – debuting the first big-block, the 348 cubic-inch V8 (5.6-liter). The big engine offered 250 or 280 hp (253 or 284 PS). The cherry on the Chevy cake came late in the model year when a high-lift camshaft and solid lifters were installed in the triple-deuce variant of the motor, called the Super Turbo-Thrust.

When so equipped, the big eight-cylinder put down 315 hp (319 PS) and 356 lb-ft (483 Nm), quite a lot for the era, especially for a full-size automobile. What more could America have asked for? A convertible – and Chevrolet promptly responded with the Impala. Correctly, the Bel Air Impala – as the African gazelle graced all droptops of the series, along with the two-door hardtop.

Around 180,000 units (55,989 ragtops) rolled off the assembly line – it may not sound like much, given how popular the Bel Air and later the Impala model were. But that particular year went down in history not just for the motoring achievements of Chevrolet but for something else, completely unrelated to but deeply affecting the motor industry: the Eisenhower recession, which hit Detroit like a jackhammer.

1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala
Photo: mecum.com
Even with a nationwide nose-dive in car sales, Chevrolet claimed the top spot at the end of the year. The significant achievement was not the seasonal victory over the perennial rival Ford but the launch of the new sensation. As far as classics go, very few nameplates – if any – can oust an Impala from a collector’s top ten all-time bests.

The first-year convertibles are the gems everyone hopes to get their hands on one day. When a 348-cubic-inch V8 is added, you can bet the seller has everyone’s undivided attention. Naturally, the unicorn survivors would easily steal any show, but restored examples won’t shy away from a high premium either. Take the following example as a yardstick – or, ideally, take it home and enjoy it with the top down.

In 1958, a long cruise would have almost unanimously been tackled with a road map in every car. Chevrolet took it one step further and planted a optional compass on the driver’s side of the dash of the Impala. A map is not very useful if you don’t know where you’re heading, right? The example featured in the gallery has the navigational aid installed, together with a tissue dispenser, power windows, seats, steering, brakes, and a continental kit with an extra spare tire.

1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala
Photo: mecum.com
The interior was replaced, together with the convertible top and the livery, but other than that, not much info is offered about this nice white-over-blue ’58 Impala. The triple two-barrel carburetors are not original, but they are date-correct. The odometer reads just 70,007, and the speedometer shows a colossal 200 at the ticket-worthy end of the dial, but don’t get carried away so fast.

The car was assembled for export to a metric region of Planet Piston. Hence, the readings are in kilometers, not miles, which means the gorgeous trim-clad Impala has 43,510 miles on it. We don’t have details about the car’s past other than it being an export example.

Still, we know something about its future: it’s searching for a new owner on the 9th of March at Glendale. With similar-condition examples fetching in six digits just because they lack a solid roof, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one claim a sale price north of $150,000.
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About the author: Razvan Calin
Razvan Calin profile photo

After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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