Jason’s post this week on his drive in a pristine 1958 Impala gave a fantastic firsthand perspective of how the car feels and performs, along with the reaction it garners on the roads today. Were impressions of the car similarly favorable in the late 1950s? Let’s roll back the clock to the time when the car was new, and Motor Trend ran a comprehensive overview on the latest from Chevrolet in their December 1957 issue. The coverage starts with a story on the styling development for the 1958 design, with an emphasis on the new Impala. The piece was authored by two GM designers, Bob Cumberford and Stan Mott. Cumberford would later become a writer for Automobile, responsible for the excellent By Design column in that magazine.
Next up, Motor Trend test drove the ’58 Bel Air hardtop sedan fitted with the new 348-cubic-inch V8. They also compared a steel sprung car with an air sprung car, and were pretty skeptical of the latter, an observation that was quickly borne out by the lack of marketplace acceptance for the air suspension. All in, Motor Trend was a fan of the all-new ’58 Chevrolet, and it’s great to see that many of those positive impressions still hold true based on Jason’s ’58 Impala experience in late 2015.