|Chassis no. F59J145285
320 hp, 348 cu. in. OHV Turbo Thrust V-8 engine with Tri-Power, two-speed Turboglide automatic transmission, front independent coil-spring suspension, live rear axle with coil springs, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 119 in.
•Iconic one-year-only body style with “bat wing” fenders and “cat eye” taillights
•Equipped with the highly desirable 348 V-8 with Tri-Power
•Frame-off restoration with just five miles since completion
The Impala name appeared for the first time in 1958 as a deluxe trim and appearance package on the Bel Air hardtop and convertible. It became a separate, top-of-the-line series in 1959. Despite an all-new body for 1958, the 1959 was two inches longer, one inch lower, and three inches wider, with thin-section roofs (on sedans and coupes)—all this in response to Chrysler’s dramatic “Forward Look” styling. Perhaps the car’s most striking features were the “cat’s eye” taillights and “bat wing” fenders with giant brows. For all intents and purposes, the fins were laid on their sides, giving Chevrolet a look all its own, the wildest of the GM bunch, save for Cadillac.
“Uncle Tom” McCahill of Mechanix Illustrated quipped of the rear decklid that it was “big enough to land a Piper Cub.” Chevrolet described the coupe and sedan has having a “crisp-lined hardtop highlighted by wrap-over back window for an almost unlimited rear view.” With convertibles, the sky was, literally, the limit! Drivetrains were little changed from the previous year as was the new-for-’58 X-member chassis with four-link rear suspension. The public responded quite favorably to the wild styling.
Along with all the additional luxury that Impala offered, so too was more power. In 1958, Chevy introduced the 348–cubic inch “Turbo Thrust” engine, Chevy’s second-generation V-8. It was called the “W” engine, referring to the shape of its valve covers. Eventually, it evolved into the legendary “409.” The optional V-8 with tri-power, or three two-barrel carburetors, was good for 320 horsepower, and this is example is so equipped.
The Impala boasts fantastic provenance as it was believed to have been delivered new to a dealer who kept the car in his own personal museum for 30 years. The consigner ultimately purchased the car in 2009 from a gentleman who is noted to be just its third owner since new. Originally built in Janesville, Wisconsin, it is painted a classic Tuxedo Black over a red reproduction tri-tone vinyl interior, all the while making quite an appearance, and is equipped with optional power steering, power brakes, and distinctive dual rear antennas.
The car benefits from a complete body-off restoration to factory-correct specification by Patrick’s Classy Cars of Phoenix, Arizona. During the restoration, the original V-8 with triple carbs and Turbo-glide transmission were rebuilt. The consigner notes that all mechanical parts, including wiring, brake lines, weather stripping, and exhaust, were replaced or restored to factory-correct specs. Bumpers and other stainless steel trim were either stripped and re-chromed or re-polished, and the car was fitted with new tires, brakes, and suspension components.
Driven just five miles since restoration, this Impala will make both a fine tour car and show car for its lucky new owner.