With the introduction of “The Hot One,” the spirited new small block V8 for 1955, sales leader Chevrolet also became the performance leader in the low-priced field. Successive upgrades in 1956 and 1957 retained this edge, the latter boasting fuel injection and achieving the magic one-bhp-per-cubic-inch for its 283 cubic inch engine.
A complete redesign heralded 1958, the flagship of which was a new Impala subseries in the Bel Air line, appearing in two body styles only, a convertible and an attractive “Sport Coupe” two-door hardtop. Impalas took Chevrolet’s styling cues to new heights, with uniquely-contoured rear fenders and extra taillights. A new engine, originally designed for truck use, joined the small block V8. Displacing 348 cubic inches, it was available in three stages of tune, producing 250, 280 or 315 bhp.
All General Motors cars were redesigned for 1959, a reaction to Chrysler Corporation’s dramatic finned 1957s. Chevrolet featured a gull-wing rear fender adornment and long horizontal “eyebrows” in the leading edge of the hood. The top series was now called “Impala” across the board, and offered a four-door sedan, two- and four-door hardtops, a convertible and a four-door Nomad station wagon. For 1960, all the styling cues were toned down somewhat, while the basic mechanical specification continued unchanged.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
250 bhp, 348 cu. in. overhead valve V8 engine, Turboglide automatic transmission, independent coil spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 119".
Sources: RM Auctions; Mecum Auctions