The 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Series 1700 Series Impala Hardtop Sport Coupe stands as a timeless icon, etching its name in the annals of both automotive and cinematic history. Its illustrious journey began when it graced the silver screen in the 1972 classic ‘American Graffiti.’ The tale of this car, however, unfolds as a captivating narrative of pursuit, acquisition, and meticulous restoration, culminating in its current ownership since 2015. What’s intriguing is that it was originally procured from Lucasfilm, the renowned production company behind the movie itself.


A Journey Through Time: Restoring the 1958 ImpalaThe restoration of the 1958 Impala embarked on a journey that can only be described as painstakingly meticulous. The team at Evernham undertook the task with unwavering dedication, meticulously scrutinizing every frame of ‘American Graffiti’ to ensure absolute accuracy. The once white Impala underwent a complete disassembly, down to its bare chassis, with every facet of the car painstakingly documented throughout the restoration process.


Revisiting Movie Magic: Reincarnating the 1958 ImpalaThough the original engine was absent at the time of acquisition, the restoration team resurrected the spirit of the film by installing a 327 engine with 6 Strombergs, mirroring the powerhouse that roared in the movie. A fascinating reminder of a memorable scene in ‘American Graffiti’ is a dent on the driver’s side, near the rear bumper—a testament to the moment when the actor mistakenly shifted into reverse and collided with the vehicle behind.

Evolution of Elegance: The 1958 Chevrolet Bel AirThe debut of the 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air marked a significant departure from its 1957 predecessor. Chevrolet’s design took a bold new direction, featuring fresh bodyshell designs shared with Pontiac. With its innovative X-member ‘Safety Girder’ frame design and four-wheel coil suspension, the 1958 Chevys boasted a lower, wider, and longer profile. These models retained the reliable 283 CID V8 engine while introducing the first big-block powerplants, including the 348 in various configurations. With tri-power carburetion, these engines churned out an impressive 280 horsepower.

Chevrolet’s Triumph: The Ascendancy of the 1958 ImpalaDespite a challenging American economy, Chevrolet achieved remarkable sales figures, with the top-of-the-line Impala series capturing over 15 percent of the 1.1 million cars sold. This outstanding performance catapulted Chevrolet back to the top of the sales charts, securing 29.5 percent of the market in 1958. Advertising campaigns celebrated the striking design elements of the full-size models, emphasizing their low, sleek silhouette and Sculpturamic Styling. The 1958 Chevrolets were not just cars; they were art on wheels. Astonishingly, even with its sales success, Chevrolet unveiled an all-new 1959 model the following year.


A Design Marvel: The Unique Features of the 1958 ImpalaThe 1958 Impala, initially a trim line within the Bel Air series, was exclusively available as a sport coupe and convertible. It boasted distinct design elements that set it apart from the regular Chevrolet models. The Impala script, insignia, and crossed-flag emblems adorned the front cove, while large chrome-plated scoops adorned the rear wheel wells. Ribbed body sill panels and two-spoke deep hub steering wheels with Impala medallions added to its unique appeal. Beyond the A-pillar, the Impala was a striking departure from the rest of the Chevrolet lineup.

The Vision of a Chief Engineer: Impala as a Symbol of PrestigeDuring its debut, Chevrolet Chief Engineer Ed Cole described the Impala as a “prestige car within reach of the average American citizen.” The 1958 Chevy Bel Airs featured one-year-only styling and offered a wide range of small-block and ‘W-head’ V8 powertrains. The Impala name transitioned into a separate model in 1959, available in both two and four-door versions. This marked the commencement of the Impala’s reign as the best-selling car in the Chevrolet product line. By 1960, it had become the best-selling automobile in the United States, a position it held for the next decade. Throughout its production from 1958 to 1996, Impala sales surpassed 13 million units, solidifying its status as the most successful full-size car in automotive history. In fact, the Impala set an industry record in 1965 by selling over one million units in a single year—an achievement that remains unparalleled.


The 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Series 1700 Series Impala Hardtop Sport Coupe isn’t merely a car; it’s a symbol of an era that continues to captivate enthusiasts and collectors alike. From its iconic appearance in ‘American Graffiti’ to the meticulous restoration process that rekindled its glory, this car epitomizes the charm and allure of a bygone era. Chevrolet’s innovative design choices and potent engine options established the 1958 Impala as a symbol of prestige in the automotive world.

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