1958 Plymouth Belvedere "Black Widow" Is a Meaner "Christine" With 392 HEMI Power

1958 Plymouth Belvedere 11 photos
Photo: barclaygebel/YouTube
1958 Plymouth Belvedere1958 Plymouth Belvedere1958 Plymouth Belvedere1958 Plymouth Belvedere1958 Plymouth Belvedere1958 Plymouth Belvedere1958 Plymouth Belvedere1958 Plymouth Belvedere1958 Plymouth Belvedere1958 Plymouth Belvedere
"Christine" and "Black Widow" are two of the most iconic nicknames of the automotive industry. The first one made the late 1950s Plymouth Fury famous thanks to a novel by Stephen King and a subsequent movie by John Carpenter. The second name adorned a 1957 Chevy that introduced fuel injection to NASCAR. The 1958 hardtop you see here is not a Fury or a Tri-Five, but it's some sort of tribute to both rigs.
Born as a plan Belvedere, this 1958 Plymouth lived a rough life. But unlike many of its siblings, which became rust buckets in junkyards, this Mopar is still alive and kicking in 2024. Granted, it's not a fully restored and highly original classic, but that's precisely what makes it special.

A derelict version of "Christine," the Belvedere features a weathered paint job that shows remnants of red and black. The body looks more like someone used a brush to apply black paint over the original red, so it's not an authentic patina, but it has a cool (albeit sloppy) thing going on. By contrast, the chrome appears to be in pristine condition at first glance.

The owner calls it the "Black Widow" because of the black paint. It's a common nickname for vehicles like this, but it's also a tribute to the 1957 Chevrolet Tri-Five built by SEDCO for NASCAR racing. If you're unfamiliar with the project, it was created to circumvent the AMA's ban on factory-backed racing. As the name suggests, the cars were painted black.

The "Black Widow" was essentially a Chevrolet 150 Utility Sedan, pretty much the lightest Tri-Five available at the time. It was fitted with a fuel-injected V8 and some components from Chevrolet's accessory list. The "Black Widow" dominated the 1957 Grand National season despite NASCAR's immediate ban on fuel injection.

The Belvedere's interior also includes a mix of original and restored elements. It's unclear how much of the upholstery is original, but it appears to be in solid condition overall. Of course, it could use a makeover to impress at local car shows, but it can be used as is for many years.

Under the hood, this Belvedere is more of a "Black Widow" than a "Christine." That's because it packs a unit you wouldn't expect to find in a Plymouth from this model year. The 1958 Belvedere was sold with a variety of engines, including inline-six and V8 units. Output ranged from 132 to 250 horsepower, while the beefed-up 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) "Golden Commando" turned the Belvedere into a hot rod with 305 horsepower on tap.

There's no information on what engine this Mopar got from the factory, but it now relies on a 392-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) HEMI. And no, it's not the modern iteration but the FirePower mill that Chrysler offered from 1957 to 1958.

Part of the first generation of HEMI mills, the 392 was exclusive to the Chrysler division and found its way into the New Yorker, the 300 letter series, and Imperial rigs. The engine was rated 325 or 345 horsepower in the New Yorker and Imperial, while the 300C and 300D came with 375 horses on tap thanks to a dual four-barrel carburetor setup. This one appears to feature the latter.

The Belvedere is also equipped with exhaust cutouts, which makes the 392 V8 rumble significantly louder when open. It's probably the loudest 1958 Belvedere with a vintage engine out there, and that's as cool as they get. Check it out in the video below.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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