"Vette Day" by Roger Hector. Purchasing info is available at RogerHector.comClose
"Vette Day" by Roger Hector. Purchasing info is available at RogerHector.com
The 1950s were heady times for American automobile stylists, with bold, sometimes even outrageous designs appearing every year for a given model. Corvette stylists got a break however, with a new design required only once every two years.
The 1958 Corvette was redesigned mostly in the front, with the most distinguishing feature being the four headlights. Popular for the era, they were emphasized by a long chrome trim piece that ran the length of the fender.
1958 Chevrolet Corvette in Signet RedClose
The new style, credited to Harley Earl, had a more aggressive, almost mean look to it. It was also physically larger, increasing width by 2.3" (to 72.8") and length by 9.2" to 177.2". Also up was the weight, by approximately 100 lbs., with a corresponding performance penalty. Radius rods were added to the rear suspension, which cured some behavioral problems under hard acceleration.
1958 Chevrolet CorvetteClose
1958 Chevrolet Corvette HoodClose
Below: The 1958 grill was similar to the previous five years, except that the number of vertical bars went from 13 to nine. The two grill areas to the sides may appear to be ducting cool air to the brakes, but were actually blocked off.
1958 Chevrolet Corvette Front GrillClose
1958 Chevrolet Corvette InstrumentsClose
The Corvette office area got an upgrade, and not a moment too soon. All the instruments (except the clock) were placed in front of the driver, allowing him/her to use them while still paying attention to the important business: driving. Most prominent was the all-important 6,000 RPM* tachometer. The refined layout drew rave reviews from buyers. The center console housed the clock, heater controls and optional radio.
*270 hp, 290 hp engine tachometers read to 8,000 RPM.
Below: A "grab bar" was installed for the benefit of the passenger, which was probably often appreciated considering the Corvette's performance potential. Detractors referred to it as the "sissy bar".
1958 Chevrolet Corvette Passenger Grab BarClose
1957 Chevrolet Corvette Tail LightClose
The 1957 Corvette tail light (above) was stylish but it did possess a functional flaw: when viewed from the sides, illumination was a problem. For 1958 (below) the lens was nicely integrated into the contour of the fender. This solved the side visibility situation and also resulted in one of the best looking tail light designs in the history of the automobile.
1958 Corvette Wonder Bar RadioClose
1958 Corvette Wonder Bar radio. This was exotic stuff in 1958. Pressing the Wonder Bar button would cause the radio to tune to the next available radio station. It was just what one needed when traveling in unfamiliar areas. This was an era when technology was moving from vacuum tubes to transistors; think of it as hybrid technology 1950s style. It contained six low voltage vacuum tubes and one "Hi POWER" output transistor.
The coves remained as part of the styling, gaining a side vent accented with three horizontal spears.
GM has taken advantage of the distinctive nature of the Corvette to attract import buyers. This series of magazine ads pointed out that foreign manufacturers did not have an exclusive on two seater fun, class or style.
Settings included Nassau, Bahamas, Palm Springs CA Racquet Club and the Pebble Beach CA Concours d' Elegance.
1958 Corvette brochure cutaway illustrationClose
1958 Chevrolet Corvette Brochure IllustrationClose
1958 Chevrolet Corvette Four Speed ShifterClose
1958 Chevrolet Corvette Trunk EmblemClose
1958 Chevrolet Corvette Rear View MirrorClose
1958 Chevrolet Corvette in Panama YellowClose
1958 Corvette Options