1958 Impala: Sometimes What You’re Looking For Turns Up In Your Own Backyard

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1958 Impala: Sometimes What You’re Looking For Turns Up In Your Own Backyard

1958 impalaI’ve owned this 1958 Impala for about 8 years now, bought it after a 10 year country-wide search. The man who owned it before me, Frank Mendoza, had it for about 3 years. He lived in a small town about 30 miles from where I live! I actually found the car through the local “word of mouth”. I have the paperwork all the way back to the original owner. The first owner lived in Fresno, CA, the 2nd owner in Vallejo, CA, the 3rd owner in Morgan City, LA, and now me, in Houma, LA. This Impala was built at the Oakland, CA plant.

interiorWhen I bought the car, it was all original and rust free, but was showing signs of age. It was, after all, almost 50 years old at the time. When I started to take it apart, I was surprised to find that it had never been disassembled before. It had the original colored markings on the front and rear coil springs, and many other factory markings.

I bought the car with the intention of restoring it, bone stock. I was undecided whether or not to take it off the frame, it was that solid of a car. Eventually, I decided to do it right, and pulled the body. I took it to Roland’s Collision to be put on a rotisserie. I took the chassis to my shop to restore it, with the help of Glen Lovell. Glen also did much of the engine work.

rear mainAfter many months of hard work, we pieced the Impala back together again, paying attention to each and every detail. I was very pleased with the end result– it was like driving a brand new car, from 1958!

I plan no changes to the car. I drive it about 3 times a month and trailer it to shows. It’s been to 10 car shows, where it’s won Best of Show 3 times, Best Interior 3 times, and 1st place (trailered, restored) at the Winter Nationals in Orlando, FL.

I own a PPG Auto Paint Store in Houma, LA. I’ve been in business for 35 years. My grandson Austin Richard runs the business most of the time. My wife of 48 years, Diane, attends all the car shows with me.

Prior to this ’58 Impala, I owned a ’69 Chevelle. My first car was a ’59 Impala, which I bought used in 1963. I had always wanted a ’58, and now I have one. I love Chevys!

My thanks go out to the following people: Glen Lovell (chassis and engine work), Roland Delatte, Conelly Herbert, Mark Leritte (paint and body work), and to Frank Mendoza (seller of the ’58).
To go with color chart:

The 1958 Chevrolet came in your choice of 16 different colors, plus 8 unique two-tone color combinations.

Did you know?

  • 1958 was the first year for the Impala. It was positioned as the top-of-the-line Bel Air coupe and convertible.
  • The car was longer, lower and wider than its “Tri-5” predecessors.
  • Three taillights on each side would become the Impala’s exclusive look, while lesser models only had two lights each side, and wagons only had one.
  • 1958 was the first year of the new “X” frame, replacing the aged “Perimeter” frame.
  • Three engine choices were available for 1958: the 235 c.i. Blue Flame I-6, the 283 Turbo-Fire V8, and the 348 W-Series Turbo-Thrust V8.
  • Ed Cole, Chevrolet’s chief engineer in the late 1950s, called the Impala “a prestige car within the reach of the average American citizen.”

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