Curbside Classic – 1958 Chevrolet Delray Two Door Sedan

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The full size Chevrolet line from 1958 has been well represented here at Curbside Classics. We’ve had the Biscayne 3 door, the Business coupe, the Impala and the Impala convertible.  Now I present to you a well restored and discreetly modded ’58 Delray. It’s very unlikely that many of these survive, as the Delray, which replaced the 150, was Chevrolet’s price-leader (*cough showroom bait cough*) and sold for $2101 in 1958 dollars. To put that in perspective, that’s $17,348 in today’s money. I imagine any reasonable trade or skilled haggling would have bought the final price down below the magic $1999 mark, making this car especially attractive for the frugal shopper. 79,500 of these were made, I wonder how many survive?

Let’s look at the engine, shall we?

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It’s a 350 backed up by a Powerglide. The owner said his grandmother bought the car new and it had very few options on it. It came with the 235 Blue Flame Six and Powerglide, which was a $188 option for those who didn’t want the three on the tree. An 3 speed overdrive manual was offered for $108, which would have made this a very efficient highway trip car if you also chose a numerically low rear end ratio. A Turboglide was available if you bought the 283 V-8. I asked about the air cleaner, and was told someone has started making reproductions of the steel Oldsmobile air cleaner. They’re available on Amazon for $106 plus shipping. It struck me as exceedingly cool and a nice change from that familiar aftermarket chrome one we’ve all had at one point. The pinstriping was done by a custom shop locally.

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For 1958, Chevrolet models were redesigned longer, lower, and heavier than their 1957 predecessors. The first ever production Chevrolet big block V8, the 348 was now an option. Chevrolet’s design for the year fared better than other GM offerings, and lacked the overabundance of chrome found on Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, Buicks and Cadillacs. Complementing Chevrolet’s front design was a broad grille and quad headlights that helped simulate a ‘Baby Cadillac’. Befitting its bottom-end status, the Delray had minimal interior and exterior trim and limited options. As such, this model was popular with fleet buyers such as police departments and businesses.

However, private customers could also buy a Delray if low price, economy and basic all-around transportation with the convenience of a full-size automobile were the primary goals. Compare the chrome on the side of the Delray to that of the Impala.

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It’s cleaner and less busy to me and…classier.

 

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I love the dash. I wish modern cars looked like this.

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The front end still had the requisite chrome bumper and grill.

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Comfy looking bench seat.

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One last look at the script. Isn’t that so much better than the stick-on badges we get now?