1958 Chevrolet Bel Air, Parked for Years, Ready for Transformation into an Impala Clone

The Bel Air was already a superstar in the late ’50s, but the introduction of the Impala in 1958 proved to be precisely what the doctor ordered for Chevrolet.

The new model managed to put Chevrolet back on the auto map in the States, helping it regain the number one spot in the industry after years of Ford dominance.

Impala launched as a Bel Air version before gaining series status a year later. It continued to share almost everything with the Bel Air for several more years, but in the long term, Impala was poised to become the nameplate spearheading Chevy’s sales.

In 1958, Impala was available as the top Bel Air in hardtop and convertible body styles, recording impressive sales from the first day of availability. As a result, many rough Bel Air projects end up becoming Impala clones, especially if the metal and the engine under the hood allow for an easy transformation.

The 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air that made its way to Craigslist earlier this month has just half of the package, while the other half is still as mysterious as possible.

The project has been sitting for many years, and the rust problems are living proof. The owner says you won’t find major metal damage but only “very little rust spots,” but I’d still put the car on a lift and inspect every inch, including the undersides. I don’t expect the floors and the trunk pan to be clean, and the seller doesn’t offer any specifics about them, but a 1958 project sitting for years typically requires major patches or new panels altogether.

The interior looks good, though it’ll need an overhaul too. The door panels are no more, suggesting this Bel Air previously served as a donor for other projects. It’s also the tidbit that makes me think the Bel Air could miss many parts, so make sure you ask more questions before committing to a purchase.

The engine under the hood is also an enigma. The owner says they are “unsure of the drivetrain,” so I can’t tell if this is a six-cylinder Bel Air or a V8. Chevrolet offered the 1958 model year with a 235 Blue-Flame six-cylinder rated at 145 horsepower, a 283 with multiple power options, and the famous 348 that developed 315 horsepower thanks to the Special Super Turbo-Thrust package. No information was offered regarding the mill currently under the hood of this Bel Air, but fingers crossed for a working big block.

You can see this Bel Air close to Los Angeles, and given its overall condition, you’ll need a trailer to take it home. The owner will let the vehicle go to anyone paying $6,500, but other offers would also be considered, so contact them to discuss additional details

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