Chevrolet’s Department of Names sure was kept busy between 1953 and 1972 coming up with endless changes and reprisals of names for their station wagons. It started off in 1953 with the Handyman and Townsman, and eventually it became a torrent of wagon-specific names, yet in some years the wagons reverted back to sedan trim line names.
But the only one that was a one-year wonder was the 1958 Yeoman. Let’s pay our tributes, which would be even more lavish if this were a 2-door version.
Why Chevrolet ditched the Handyman or Townsman names for its low trim wagons in ’58 is anyone’s guess. But then ’58 was a rather strange year for Chevrolet all-round, given that the non-wagon line also got new names, Del Ray replacing the stripper 150, and Biscayne replacing the 210. The Bel Air was still top dog, as the ’58 Impala coupe was technically a Bel Air. So there it is, Yeoman.
By the way, yeoman has two historic meanings: 1.) a man holding and cultivating a small landed estate; a freeholder. and 2.) a servant in a royal or noble household, ranking between a sergeant and a groom or a squire and a page. I’ll let you decide which one is more applicable. Perhaps if you bought it with cash, it was meaning #1, and if you took out a loan with GMAC, it was #2.
Let’s take a look at that highly desirable Yeoman 2-door (good luck finding one on Google that hasn’t been resto-modded). At first glance, one might be tempted to think that they just eliminated the back door, but kept everything else the same. But no; it’s all different: the front door is a longer and proper 2-door door, and the rear seat side window actually goes further back than in the 4-door, and the rear-most side window is shorter than the one in the 4-door. That’s a lot of unique panels for a car that was built exactly 4,933 times. No wonder they’re so scarce.
That’s not to suggest the 4-door Yeoman was a big seller. All of 5,041 of these were built. Makes this quite the find, and not resto-modded at that. Just some Rally wheels, which I’m more ok with than usual, given that the stock narrow wheels accentuate the ’58 Chevy’s excessive width. As it is, they’re still in desperate need of some Wide-Tracking.
I am not a big fan of the ’58, as it marked the end of the brilliant ’55-’57 formula in terms of size, height, width, handling, weight, performance, etc.. The all-new 1958 Chevrolet Bulge-Mobile.
These felt sloppy and loose and rattly compared their tight and taut predecessors. All things must end, unfortunately.
Enough of the negativity. This is a terrific find, and I’m honored to give it its 15 minutes of fame, just no more than that.
Now let’s rattle off all of the various names Chevy used for its wagons over the years: