1958 C1 Corvette

1958 C1 Corvette Overview

By the late 1950’s, the infrastructure of the automotive industry had begun a transformation from the monopolistic business of a few, large, corporate giants to a much more competitive and highly segmented marketplace.

A few small, relatively unknown companies from Europe were emerging, presenting competitively priced alternatives to the current American offerings, catching companies like Ford and General Motors completely by surprise. Volkswagen had introduced the Beetle and confounded the competition by selling 200,000 or more units per year.

The introduction of this, and other “cheap” cars into the automotive market would forever change the direction of automotive marketing and would directly impact the future of the Corvette.

Model: 1958 Corvette
Generation: C1 Corvette
Type: 2 Door Convertible
Available Colors: Charcoal, Silver Blue, Panama Yellow, Tuxedo Black, Snowcrest White, Regal Turquoise, Signet Red, Inca Silver
Engine: 283 ci. V-8 (fuel injected or carbureted) – multiple-horsepower options available
VIN: J58S100001 – J58S109168
Transmission: 3-speed manual (standard), 4-speed manual (optional), 2-speed Powerglide (optional)
Original Price: $3591.00
Units Produced: 9,168
Full Spec List 1958 Corvette Complete Specs

Despite the fact that the Corvette had yet to be profitable, General Motors management was certain that the design changes that Harley Earl had implemented in his 1956 redesign would continue to be the basis of design for future model years. Certainly, the 1957 Corvette had shown considerable improvement in it’s numbers over the 1956 model year and, if things continued to move in that same direction, the Corvette would certainly meet financial success in the coming year.

In addition, Corvette had managed to completely dominate on the racetrack and, despite the fact that General Motors would join others in observing the racing ban that had been put in place by the Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (AMA), it had proven nearly unbeatable in it’s class.

The 1957 Mercedes Benz 300SL
The 1957 Mercedes Benz 300SL

It is commonly believed that the Corvette had performed so well in open competition throughout 1957 that it had forced Ford to “throw in the towel” on it’s two-seater Thunderbird, forcing them toStill, GM engineers were entertaining thoughts of unit-body construction, while the styling staff was drawing inspiration from the design styling of the immensely popular Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing coupe.

Drawing on inspiration from both Earl’s ‘56 Corvette and the Mercedes-Benz, a new concept car emerged that was featured at the 1956 Motorama that nearly became the basis for an all-new Corvette.  This car would go on to become known as the “Oldsmobile Golden Rocket”.

 

Oldsmobile "Golden Rocket"
The Oldsmobile “Golden Rocket” Concept Car (image courtesy of GM Media.)

This “Golden Rocket” was a unit-body, two seat coupe that sported futuristic styling that included a slim vertical grille and a protruding snout with quad headlamps – a style that was immensely popular amongst designers in Detroit.

The Oldsmobile’s front fenders swept back the length of the body to a torpedo like rear end that was topped by small fins.

Gullwing-like sections were cut into the roof assembly to allow greater ease when entering/exiting the car.  Much like the rest of the car, the roofline also tapered back in a “boattail” fashion, with a large rear window that wrapped down and around the roof.

In all, the “Oldsmobile Golden Rocket” would become commonly recognized as the inspiration for Bill Mitchell’s Corvette Stingray seven years later.

As early as 1946, General Motors executives had come to a consensus that unit-body construction would be the path forward for cheaper unit cost and higher volume, both of which were items that Corvette needed to begin turning a profit.  Using the Oldsmobile concept car as a model, engineers began laying out a new Corvette based on the Golden Rocket’s styling.

1958 Corvette
The rear chrome “suspenders” that are a key identifier of the 1958 Corvette.

Early models made of clay and fiberglass showed how unit body construction might help pave the way for a whole new era of Corvettes. Smaller and lighter than the current C1, it also compensated for many of the current design constraints that current Corvette engineers were forced to deal with.

However, this first pass at a new Corvette design never completely got off the ground.  The project, which carried the name Q-Corvette, ended up getting shelved as members of the Concept Corvette development team were pulled away to other projects that demanded the attention of those who could best help in the ever increasing sales race against Ford.

As far as the 1958 Corvette was concerned, the car would have to settle for a facelift.

From the standpoint of appearance, the 1958 Corvette was far more excessive than any of it’s predecessors.  While the car still reflected the design changes implemented in the 1956 and 1957 models, the ‘58 Corvette now sported simulated louvers on it‘s bonnet(hood), non functional air intake scoops on either side of the grille and phony vents in the bodyside “coves”.

It also featured twin, chrome “suspenders” that ran from the base of the rear window down the trunk lid, before ending abruptly at the rear fender.  Another notable departure from the earlier models was the addition of quad headlamps wrapped in a thick chrome bezel.

DID YOU KNOW: As early as 1958, Chevrolet began developing the XP-700 Corvette as a prototype for the second generation ‘Vette. This concept model Corvette featured many styling elements that GM’s new design Chief, Bill Mitchell, believed would represent the future of the Corvette.

Much like the chrome “suspenders” featured on the trunk lid, chrome stripran along the tops of the fenders, accentuating the appearance of the headlamps and giving an overall “swept back “ appearance.  Lastly, the chrome “teeth” in the front grille itself were reduced from thirteen (as had been the standard in all Corvettes prior to 1958) to only nine. The 1958 Corvette not only looked heavier with it’s many new additions and design changes, but it had actually gotten heavier.

1958 Corvette
1958 Corvette Front End with quad headlamps and faux hood louvers.

For the first time in Corvette history, the car exceeded 3,000 pounds, which was an increase of 200 pounds over the 1957 model.

However, the increase in weight was not merely due to the excesses that were included in the car’s makeover, but was the result of the increased size of the car.

The 1958 Corvette had 9.2 inches of added length and 2.3 inches of added width, bringing the car’s overall dimensions to 177.2 by 72.8 inches.

Because of the increase in weight and size, the Corvette would require the addition of radius rods to the rear suspension, which would help offset some of the behavioral issues the car experienced under hard acceleration conditions.

While the exterior revisions to the 1958 Corvette exuded excess from almost every angle, the interior revisions to the car were no less substantial, although they were better received.  A significant redesign of the instrument cluster at the request/direction of Zora Arkus-Duntov resulted in all of the gauges (save for the clock) to be placed directly in front of the driver in a binnacle.

After the repeat criticisms of instrument placement in earlier models, this change seemed only natural to the Corvette’s design team.   The new cluster consisted of a 160-mph speedometer which dominated most of the dashboard, while a smaller 6000 rpm tachometer was placed ahead of it on the steering column.

Flanking the tachometer on each side was a pair of standard instrument gauges that monitored fuel levels, oil pressure, engine temperature and battery charge.

1958 Corvette
1958 Corvette’s Re-Designed Instrument Cluster.

Emerging from the dashboard and mating with the center console was a narrower, vertical console which housed the heater controls, the clock and an optional “Wonder Bar” signal-seeking radio.

While relatively unique for it’s time, this arrangement of controls was virtually identical to the standard layout in automobiles today.

The passenger side of the dashboard featured a grabbar mounted in front of a semicircular dashboard that was cut away from the bar itself, allowing passengers to “hold on” in the event of a sharp turn or during sudden acceleration.

A locking glove compartment was fitted between the seats just below the release button for the convertible top.

Other changes were made to the interior as well.  The interior door panels were remodeled to include reflectors that had been added at arm level for nighttime safety.  Upholstery now featured a new “pebble grain” fabric.  Even seatbelts, which had been practically unheard of before that model, were standard issue – factory installed in the 1958 Corvette.

1958 Corvette
1958 Corvette Dashboard Passenger Side Grab-Bar.

Regardless of personal opinion surrounding the 1958 Corvette’s appearance, there were no questions what the performance factor would be.  Nearly unchanged from the 1957 Corvette, the ‘58 continued to utilize the 283 engine.

Now officially rated at 290 horsepower (at 6,200 rpm’s), the fuel injected, Duntov-cam 283 continued to flourish beneath the hood of the 1958 Corvette as the top level engine for that year’s model run.

Similarly, a twin carburetor version of the engine continued to be offered as an option, offering drivers an uncompromising 270 horsepower engine.  Despite this fact, few buyers opted for the carbureted version of this engine.  Surprisingly, it was the base level 230 horsepower V-8 engine that buyers sought out.

This base model engine was installed in nearly half of the 1958 models.  Only 1,500 Corvettes were actually fitted with the fuel injection option, and of those only 1,000 featured the 290 horsepower setup, the other 500 belonging to the 250 horsepower version of the Corvette.

For those enthusiasts that had continued to demand uncompromising speed and performance  after the introduction of the 1958 model, Chevrolet continued to offer a near race-ready version of the Corvette, which they made available at local dealerships across the country – and at prices that made buying even the highest end Corvette affordable.

With upgrades ranging from a high performance, 290 horsepower, fuel injected engine, Positraction, heavy-duty metallic brake and suspension and a four speed manual transmission, the total difference in cost between the base priced Corvette and it’s racing counterpart was about $1500.00.

Considering that these upgrades allowed the ‘58 Corvette to rival such competitors as Jaguar, Ferrari and Porsche, there was no question that Corvette was the best performance for the price. It is reported that Corvette’s which were built to include the aforementioned upgrades came with a warning label on their windshields that stated “This car is not intended for street use.”

1958 Corvette Mailer
An Original 1958 Corvette Mailer (Distributed by GM in 1958.)

Despite some of the extreme changes to it’s body styling, the 1958 Corvette was the first vintage of Corvette to turn a profit for General Motors.

In all, Chevrolet sold 9,168 Corvettes in the 1958 model year, which was doubly impressive when considering that the Corvette sales were up (47% over the 1957 Corvette and a staggering 150% over the 1956 Corvette) despite a year in which a financial recession had wrought havoc on the competition, leaving few manufacturers to actually turn a profit that year.

In fact, save for Ford’s new four-seat 1958 Thunderbird (and very few others), Corvette alone proved successful in the domestic automotive market.

 

See Also 

C1 ’53 54 ’55 ’56 ’57 ’58 ’59 ’60 ’61 ’62
Gen C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7

See full 1958 Corvette Image Gallery

1958 Corvette – Specifications

1958 Corvette Main Specs

MODEL: 1958 Chevrolet Corvette
BODY STYLE: Two-door convertible, front engine, rear wheel drive
MANUFACTURING LOCATION: St. Louis, Missouri
CONSTRUCTION: Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP or “fiberglass”) body, steel frame with steel and chrome structural & chassis components.
VEHICLE NUMBERS (VIN): J58S100001 – J58S109168
VIN PREFIX: CQ: 283 CUBIC INCH, 230 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
CR: 283 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
CS: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
CT: 283 CUBIC INCH, 245 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
CU: 283 CUBIC INCH, 270 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
DG: 283 CUBIC INCH, 230 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
DH: 283 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
DJ: 283 CUBIC INCH, 245 HORSEPOWER, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
ENGINE BLOCK NUMBER: 3737739, 3756519, 3748770
HEAD NUMBER: 3725306: 265 CUBIC INCH, 210 HP, 225 HP (2-BOLT EXHAUST MANIFOLDS)
3731762: 265 CUBIC INCH, 225 HP, 240 HP (3-BOLT EXHAUST MANIFOLDS)
CARBURETOR NUMBERS: CARTER 2613S #3741089: 283 CUBIC INCH, 270 HP, FRONT CARBURETOR
CARTER 2614S #3741090: 283 CUBIC INCH, 270 HP, REAR CARBURETOR
CARTER 2626S #3744002: 283 CUBIC INCH, 245 HP, FRONT CARBURETOR
CARTER 2627S #3744004: 283 CUBIC INCH, 245 HP, REAR CARBURETOR
CARTER 2669S #3746384: 283 CUBIC INCH, 230 HP
FUEL INJECTION NUMBER: ROCHESTER 7014800: 283 CUBIC INCH, 250 HP
ROCHESTER 7014800R: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HP, EARLY PRODUCTION
ROCHESTER 7014900: 283 CUBIC INCH, 250 HP
ROCHESTER 7014900R: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HP
ROCHESTER 7014960: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HP
ROCHESTER 7017200: 283 CUBIC INCH, 250 HP, LATE PRODUCTION
DISTRIBUTOR NUMBER: 1110890: 283 CUBIC INCH, 230 HORSEPOWER
1110891: 283 CUBIC INCH, 245 HORSEPOWER, 270 HORSEPOWER
1110908: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER, EARLY PRODUCTION
1110914: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER
1110915: 283 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER
GENERATOR NUMBER: 1102043: 283 CUBIC INCH, 230 HP, 245 HP, 250 HP, 270 HP
1102059: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER
AXLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER AH: 3-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION (3.70:1 RATIO)
AE: POWERGLIDE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION (3.55:1 RATIO)
AN: LIMITED SLIP DIFFERENTIAL (3.70:1 RATIO)
AP: LIMITED SLIP DIFFERENTIAL (4.11:1 RATIO)
AQ: LIMITED SLIP DIFFERENTIAL (4.56:1 RATIO)
AS: LSD, HEAVY DUTY SUSPENSION AND BRAKES, (3.70:1 RATIO)
AT:LSD, HEAVY DUTY SUSPENSION AND BRAKES, (4.11:1 RATIO)
AU:LSD, HEAVY DUTY SUSPENSION AND BRAKES, (4.56:1 RATIO)
PRODUCTION ENDING VEHICLE: OCT, 1957: 100486, NOV, 1957: 101443, DEC, 1957: 102511, JAN, 1958:103677, FEB, 1958: 104789, MAR, 1958: 105779, APR, 1958: 106544, MAY, 1958: 107489, JUN, 1958: 108192, JUL, 1958: 108840, AUG, 1958: 109168, MAY, 1958: 107489

1958 Corvette Price & Options

CODE DESCRIPTION QUANTITY RETAIL PRICE
867 Base Corvette Convertible 9,168 $3,591.00
101 Heater 8,014 $96.85
102 AM Radio, signal seeking 6,142 $144.45
107 Parking Brake Alarm 2,883 $5.40
108 Courtesy Lights 4,600 $6.50
109 Windshield Washers 3,834 $16.15
276 Wheels, 15 x 5.5 (5) 404 $0.00
290 Whitewall Tires, 6.70 x 15 7,428 $31.55
313 Powerglide Automatic Transmission 2,057 $188.30
419 Auxiliary Hardtop 5,607 $215.20
426 Power Windows 649 $59.20
440 Two-Tone Paint Combination 3,422 $16.15
469 283ci, 245HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) 2,436 $150.65
469C 283ci, 270HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) 978 $182.95
473 Power Operated Folding Top 1,090 $139.90
579 283ci, 250HP Engine (Fuel Injection) 504 $484.20
579D 283ci, 290HP Engine (Fuel Injection) 1,007 $484.20
677 Positraction Rear Axle, 4.56:1 1,123 $48.45
678 Positraction Rear Axle, 4.11:1 2,518 $48.45
679 Positraction Rear Axle, 4.56:1 370 $48.45
684 Heavy Duty Racing Suspension 144 $780.10
685 4-Speed Manual Transmission 3,764 $215.20

1958 Corvette Exterior/Interior Color

Color Codes

Exterior Total Body Cove (Optional) Soft Top Wheels Interior Colors
Charcoal 1,631 Inca Silver Black, White Silver Charcoal, Blue-Grey, Red
Snowcest White 2,477 Inca Silver Black, White, Blue-Gray Silver Charcoal, Blue-Grey, Red
Silver Blue 2,006 Inca Silver Black, White Silver Charcoal, Blue-Grey
Regal Turquoise 510 Snowcrest White Black, White Silver Charcoal
Panama Yellow 455 Snowcrest White Black, White Silver Charcoal
Signet Red 1,399 Snowcrest White Black, White Silver Charcoal, Red
Tuxedo Black 493 Inca Silver Black, White Silver Charcoal, Red
Inca Silver 193  – Black, White Silver Charcoal, Red

Exterior Color Templates

Interior Color Templates

1958 C1 Corvette Engine

1958 Corvette Powertrain Specifications

Description 4-barrel Carb Dual Carb Dual Carb w. Special Cam  Fuel Injection
Fuel Injection w. Special Cam
Standard RPO 469 RPO 469C RPO 469C RPO 579D
Type: 90 V 90 V 90 V 90 V 90 V
Number of Cylinders 8 8 8 8 8
Displacement (cid): 283 283 283 283 283
Horsepower (gross @ rpm): 230hp @ 4,800 245hp @ 5,000 270hp @ 6,000 250hp @ 5,000 290hp @ 6,200
Torque (lbs.-ft. @ rpm): 300 @ 3,000 300 @ 3,800 285 @ 4,200 305 @ 3,800 290 @ 4,400
Bore Spacing (C/L to C/L) 4.4 inches 4.4 inches 4.4 inches 4.4 inches 4.4 inches
Bore x stroke (in.): 3.875 x 3.00 3.875 x 3.00 3.875 x 3.00 3.875 x 3.00 3.875 x 3.00
Redline (rpm):
Compression ratio: 9.5:1 9.5:1 9.5:1 9.5:1 9.5:1
Idle Speed (RPM) 475 in neutral w/3-speed 475 in neutral w/3-speed 475 in neutral w/3-speed 475 in neutral w/3-speed 475 in neutral w/3-speed
Automatic 779 779 779 779 779
Manual 678 678 678 678 678
Firing Order: 18436572 18436572 18436572 18436572 18436572
Cylinder Number System;
Left Bank: 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7
Right Bank: 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8
Recommended Fuel: 94-96 Premium Octane 94-96 Premium Octane 94-96 Premium Octane 94-96 Premium Octane 94-96 Premium Octane
EPA – Three-Speed Manual
Transmission – Average:
12.9 mpg (Motor Trend) 12.9 mpg (Motor Trend) 14.9 mpg (Motor Trend) 13.9 mpg (Motor Trend)

Carburetor Engine Component Specifications

 Description Standard 230hp RPO 469 245hp RPO 469C 270hp
Upper Compression Ring:
Material Cast alloy iron Cast alloy iron Cast alloy iron
Width .184 — .194 .184 — .194 .184 — .194
Thickness .0775 — .0780 .0775 — .0780 .0775 — .0780
Gap .010 — .020 .010 — .020 .010 — .020
Ring Clearance .0012 — .0017 .0012 — .0017 .0012 — .0017
Valve Springs:
Length & Pressure
Valve closed [email protected] 69 — 79 lb. [email protected] 69 — 79 lb. [email protected] 69 — 79 lb.
Valve open [email protected] 159 — 169 lb. [email protected] 159 — 169 lb. [email protected] 159 — 169 lb.
Free length 2.08 2.08 2.08
Damper:
– Number of coils 3.874 — 4.12 3.874 — 4.12 3.874 — 4.12
– Free length 2.00 2.00 2.00
Tappets:
Type Hydraulic Hydraulic Hydraulic
Material Steel Steel Steel
Carburetor:
Make Carter Carter Carter
Model
– front 3744002 3744002
– rear 3744004 3744004
Type 4 barrel, down-draft 4 barrel 4 barrel
Choke Automatic Automatic Automatic
Camshaft:
Ramp inlet
Opening .00474, 10° long .00474, 10° long .0067, 18° long
Closing .00670, 15° long .00670, 15° long .0067, 18° long
Ramp exhaust
Opening .00474, 10° long .00474, 10° long .0107, 29° long
Closing .00670, 15° long .00670, 15° long .0107, 29° long
Tappet Lift
– Inlet .26581 .26581 .2625
– Exhaust .26581 .26581 .2625
  Valve lift
     Inlet  0.3987 0.3987 0.39375
     Exhaust  0.3987 0.3987 0.39375
 Valve lash (normal driving)
     Inlet Zero Zero .008 hot
     Exhaust Zero Zero .018 hot
  Timing Diagram Data:
     Inlet
       Opens (theoretical) 12° 30′ BTC 12° 30′ BTC 35° BTC
       Closes (theoretical) 57° 30′ ABC 57° 30′ ABC 72° ABC
     Exhaust
       Opens (theoretical) 54° 30′ BBC 54° 30′ BBC 76° BBC
       Closes (theoretical) 15° 30′ ATC 15° 30′ ATC 31° ATC
Clutch:
  Type Semi-centrifugal Semi-centrifugal Semi-centrifugal
  Number of coil springs 9 9 9
  Spring pressure (lbs.) 1620 Initial 1620 Initial 1620 Initial
  Drive Lug Lug Lug
  Lining area (sq. in.) 90.72 90.72 90.72
  Rated torque capacity (lb. ft.) 326 326 326
Air Cleaner:
  Make and Type AC oil wetted  AC oil bath  AC oil bath
  Capacity  –  1 Pint  1 Pint
  Filter Element Aluminum wire cactus fiber  cactus fiber
Oil Filter:
  Make AC, Full flow AC, Full flow AC, Full flow
  Capacity (Quartz) 1-1/2 1-1/2 1-1/2
Dual Exhaust System:
  Muffler Type Diffusion & resonance,
reverse flow
Diffusion & resonance,
reverse flow
 Diffusion & resonance,
reverse flow
  Body Size 24×4.06 24×4.06 24×4.06
  Manifold Center take down each branch serving two cylinders Center take down each branch serving two cylinders Center take down each branch serving two cylinders
  Exhaust Pipe Size O.D 2.0 2.0 2.0
  Tall Pipe I.D 1.81 1.81 1.81
  Suspension Individual, rubber insulated
mountings.
Individual, rubber insulated
mountings.
Individual, rubber insulated
mountings.
Fuel System:
  Fuel Tank Two stamped pans
seam welded
Two stamped pans
seam welded
Two stamped pans
seam welded
  Capacity (gallons) 16.4 16.4 16.4
  Mounting   Support by two straps attached to underbody behind seat Support by two straps attached to underbody behind seat Support by two straps attached to underbody behind seat
  Filler In body left side, to rear of driver’s door In body left side, to rear of driver’s door In body left side, to rear of driver’s door
Cooling System:
  Radiator core
     Make Harrison Harrison Harrison
     Type Cellular Cellular Cellular
  Size .22x.550×2.00 .22x.550×2.00 .22x.550×2.00
  Frontal Area (sq. in) 380 380 380
  Capacity 16.5 qts. with heater 16.5 qts. with heater 16.5 qts. with heater

Fuelie (Fuel Injected) Engine Component Specifications

Description (RPO 579 250hp) (RPO 579D 290hp)
Upper Compression Ring:
  Material Cast alloy iron Cast alloy iron
  Width .184 -.194 .184 – .194
  Thickness 0775 – .0780 0775 – .0780
  Gap .010 – 0.020 .010 – 0.020
  Ring Clearance Grove .0012 – .0017 .0012 – .0017
Valve Springs:
  Length & Pressure
     Valve closed [email protected] 69 — 79 lb [email protected] 69 — 79 lb
     Valve open [email protected] 159 — 169 lb. [email protected] 159 — 169 lb.
     Free length 2.08 2.08
  Damper:
     Number of coils 3.874 — 4.12 3.874 — 4.12
     Free length 2.00 2.00
Tappets:
  Type Hydraulic Hydraulic
  Material Steel Steel
Manifold assembly, inlet:
  Material Cast aluminum Cast aluminum
Fuel:
  System Fuel Injection Fuel Injection
  Make Rochester Products Rochester Products
Fuel Filter:
  Make AC AC
  Model GF43 GF43
  Location Mounted on engine top cover Mounted on engine top cover
Camshaft:
  Ramp inlet
     Opening .00474, 10° long .00474, 10° long
     Closing .00670, 15° long .00670, 15° long
  Ramp exhaust
     Opening .00474, 10° long  .0107, 29° long
     Closing .00670, 15° long .0107, 29° long
  Tappet Lift
     Inlet .26581 .2625
     Exhaust .26581 .2625
  Valve Lift
     Inlet .3987 .39375
     Exhaust .3987 .39375
  Valve lash (normal driving)
     Inlet Zero .008 hot
     Exhaust Zero .018 hot
  Timing Diagram Data:
     Inlet
       Opens (theoretical) 12° 30′ BTC 35° BTC
       Closes (theoretical) 57° 30′ ABC 72° ABC
     Exhaust
       Opens (theoretical) 54° 30′ BBC 76° BBC
       Closes (theoretical) 15° 30′ ATC 31° ATC
Clutch:
  Type Semi-centrifugal Semi-centrifugal
  Number of coil springs 9 9
  Spring pressure (lbs.) 1620 initial 1620 initial
  Drive Lug Lug
  Lining area (sq. in.) 90.72 90.72
  Rated torque capacity (lb. ft.) 326 326
Air Cleaner:
  Make AC AC
  Type Dry Dry
  Filter Element Paper Paper
Oil Filter:
  Make AC, Full flow AC, Full flow
  Capacity (Quartz) 1-1/2 1-1/2
Dual Exhaust System:
  Muffler Type Diffusion & resonance, reverse flow Straight thru
  Body Size 24×4.06
  Manifold Center take down each branch serving two cylinders
  Exhaust Pipe Size O.D 2.0
  Tall Pipe I.D 1.81
  Suspension Individual, rubber insulated
mountings.
Fuel System:
  Fuel Tank Two stamped pans seam welded Two stamped pans seam welded
  Capacity (gallons) 16.4 16.4
  Mounting   Support by two straps attached to underbody behind seat Support by two straps attached to underbody behind seat
  Filler In body left side, to rear of driver’s door In body left side, to rear of driver’s door
Cooling System:
  Radiator core
     Make Harrison Harrison
     Type Cellular Cellular
  Size .22x.550×2.00 .22x.550×2.00
  Frontal Area (sq. in) 380 380
  Capacity 16.5 qts. with heater 16.5 qts. with heater

Manual Transmission / Gear Ratios

3-Speed Close Ratio 4-Speed (RPO 685)
1st Gear: 2.21:1 2.20:1
2nd Gear: 1.32:1 1.66:1
3rd Gear: 1.00:1 1:31:1
4th Gear: N/A 1.00:1
Reverse: 2.21:1 2.25:1

Powerglide Automatic Transmission RPO 313/ Gear Ratios

Drive 1.82-1:1
Low 1.82:1
Reverse 1.82:1

1958 C1 Corvette

1958 Corvette Car Dimensions

Hardtop

1958 C1 Corvette Car Dimensions - Hardtop

Exterior Dimensions (Hardtop) Interior Dimensions (Hardtop)
Wheelbase: 101.85 Inches Headroom: 42.3 Inches
Overall Length: 177.2 Inches Shoulder Room: 49.4 Inches
Total Body Width: 72.8 Inches Hip Room: 49.4 Inches
Overall Height: 51 Inches Leg Room: 44.2 Inches
Front Track Width: 57 Inches
Rear Track Width: 59 Inches
Min. Ground Clearance 5.8 Inches

Softtop

1958 C1 Corvette Car Dimensions - Softtop

Exterior Dimensions (Soft Top) Interior Dimensions (Soft Top)
Wheelbase: 101.85 Inches Headroom: 42.3 Inches
Overall Length: 177.2 Inches Shoulder Room: 49.4 Inches
Total Body Width: 72.8 Inches Hip Room: 49.1 Inches
Overall Height: 51 Inches Leg Room: 44.2 Inches
Front Track Width: 57 Inches
Rear Track Width: 59 Inches
Min. Ground Clearance 5.8 Inches

Capacities

Capacities Specs
Passenger Capacity: 2 Passengers
Curb Weight (LBS/KG):
  Manual 2,926
  Automatic 3,034
Fuel Capacity (GALLONS): 16.4
Engine Oil Capacity (QTS.): 5 (capacity of crankcase less filter – refill)
Coolant Capacity (qts.): 17 (with heater)
Battery: 12 volt, 9-plate, 53AH

1958 C1 Corvette

1958 Corvette Brakes, Wheels, Steering & Suspension

Brakes:
Type: Servo – 4 Wheel Hydraulic (Heavy Duty, RPO 684 Optional)
Power brake type: None
Drum diameter, front (in.): 11
Drum diameter, rear (in.): 11
Effective area (sq. in.): 157 (121 with Heavy Duty brake option)

 

Wheels/Tires
Wheel Type (Standard): Short Spoke Disk, Pressed Steel
Tire Size: 6.70 — 15 — 4 Ply Tubeless (standard), 6.70 — 15 — 4 Ply White & Blackwall (optional)
Front & Rear Wheels: 15″
Tires, type: Rayon Cord
Revolutions at 30mph: 755
Inflation (cold) 24 lbs. Front & Rear

 

Steering
Type: Semi-reversible recirculating ball
Make: Saginaw
Ratio: 21.0:1
Wheel Diameter (in): 17.25
Turns, Stop to Start
Turn Diameter (curb to curb) 36.5 ft. right — 37 ft. left (outside front), 38.5 ft. right — 39 ft. left (outside front)

 

Front Suspension Unitized, Independant, Short and Long Arm
Front Springs: Own, coil
  Make & Type Chrome alloy steel .547 — .553
  Material & Gauges Total 9.75; active 7.94
  Number of Coils Outside 4.30; pitch 3.752
  Diameter Free 13.45; working [email protected] 1145 lb.
  Height 9.72
  Height Under Curb Weight 800 lb.
  Capacity At Ground
  Deflection Rate
     At Spring 300 lb.
     At Wheel 110 lb.
Front Shock Absorbers:
  Make & Type Delco, direct double acting
  Mounting Vertically from lower control arm through coil spring to front suspension crossmember
  Model Number 538F
  Valve Code 3.5G6/axr/P 1.25
  Piston Diameter and Travel 1.00×4.68
Rear Suspension Outrigger mounted semi-elliptical leaf springs
Rear Springs: Own, coil
– Make & Type Own, semi-elliptic
– Material Alloy steel
– Length & Width 51×2.0
– Spring Slips Clinch type = 3, Bolt type = 1, Total = 4
– Number of Leaves 4
– Leaf Thickness Number 1 & 3 = .282, Number 2 = .313, Total = 1.159
– Capacity At pad = 575 lb., At ground = 725 lb.
Rear Shock Absorbers:
  Make & Type Delco, direct double acting
  Mounting Stem attached to slotted holes in flanged “U” shaped rear crossmember, eye attached at bottom to an anchor bolt on rear spring “U” bolt and shock absorber anchor bolt plate
  Model Number 560P
  Valve Code 4D6/oxh/j 1.25
  Piston Diameter and Travel 1.0×6.69

1958 C1 Corvette

1958 Corvette Performance

Performance Results Standard RPO 469 RPO 469C RPO 579 RPO 579
3 Speed Transmission
Performance weight (lbs.) 3204 3214 3214 3191 3191
Pounds/gross horsepower 13.93 13.12 11.90 12.78 11.00
Pounds/cu.in. piston displacement 11.33 11.36 11.36 11.24 11.24
 Gross horsepower/cu.in. displacement .813 .866 .954 .883 1.025
 Power displacement (cu.ft./mile) 228.7 228.7 228.7 228.7 228.7
Displacement factor (cu.ft./mile) 142.94 142.94 142.94 143.34 143.34
 0 – 60 mph (seconds) 9.2 7.6 –
 Top Speed (mph) 103.1 112
Powerglide Transmission
 Performance weight (lbs.) 3305 3314 3288
 Pounds/gross horsepower 14.37 13.53 13.15
 Pounds/cu.in. piston displacement 11.68 11.71 11.62
 Gross horsepower/cu.in. displacement .813 .866 .883
 Power displacement (cu.ft./mile) 219.5 219.5 219.5
 Displacement factor (cu.ft./mile) 132.83 132.47 133.52
 0 – 60 mph (seconds)
 Top Speed (mph)
4-Speed Transmission
Performance weight (lbs.) 3217 3227 3227 3204 3204
Pounds/gross horsepower 13.90 13.17 11.95 12.82 11.05
Pounds/cu.in. piston displacement 11.37 11.40 11.40 11.32 11.32
Gross horsepower/cu.in. displacement .813 .866 .954 .883 1.025
Power displacement (cu.ft./mile) 228.7 228.7 228.7 228.7 228.7
 Displacement factor (cu.ft./mile) 142.18 141.74 141.74 142.76 142.76
 0 – 60 mph (seconds) 6.9
Top Speed (mph) 113.6 118.7

(0 – 60 and top speed times courtesy of Motor Trend, March 1958)

1958 Corvette Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)

VIN Range J58S100001 – J58S109168
J (First Digit) General Motors Identification Code for Chevy Corvette.
58 (Second & Third Digits) Model Year
S (Fourth Digit) Location of the Assembly Plant.  S – St. Louis, Missouri.
1XXXXX (Fifth thru Tenth Digits) Production Sequence Numbers
The last six digits begin at 100001 and run thru 109168, accounting for each of the 9,168 Corvettes built in 1958. Each Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is unique to an individual car. For all 1958 Corvettes, the location of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is located on the driver side door post. The VIN is also stamped on several locations on the Corvette frame.

1958 Corvette Factory Options

CODE DESCRIPTION QUANTITY RETAIL PRICE
867 Base Corvette Convertible 9,168 $3,591.00
101 Heater 8,014 $96.85
102 AM Radio, signal seeking 6,142 $144.45
107 Parking Brake Alarm 2,883 $5.40
108 Courtesy Lights 4,600 $6.50
109 Windshield Washers 3,834 $16.15
276 Wheels, 15 x 5.5 (5) 404 $0.00
290 Whitewall Tires, 6.70 x 15 7,428 $31.55
313 Powerglide Automatic Transmission 2,057 $188.30
419 Auxiliary Hardtop 5,607 $215.20
426 Power Windows 649 $59.20
440 Two-Tone Paint Combination 3,422 $16.15
469 283ci, 245HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) 2,436 $150.65
469C 283ci, 270HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) 978 $182.95
473 Power Operated Folding Top 1,090 $139.90
579 283ci, 250HP Engine (Fuel Injection) 504 $484.20
579D 283ci, 290HP Engine (Fuel Injection) 1,007 $484.20
677 Positraction Rear Axle, 4.56:1 1,123 $48.45
678 Positraction Rear Axle, 4.11:1 2,518 $48.45
679 Positraction Rear Axle, 4.56:1 370 $48.45
684 Heavy Duty Racing Suspension 144 $780.10
685 4-Speed Manual Transmission 3,764 $215.20

Base Corvette Roadster (867)

  • The base price of the 1958 Chevrolet Corvette without any optional equipment.
  • This base option price included a 283 cubic inch, 230 horsepower V8 engine, 3-speed manual transmission, vinyl interior trim, and a soft top.
  • The 1958 Corvette underwent an extensive redesign that included new body panels, a new instrument panel and new upholstery.  The 1958 Corvette featured dual headlamps for the first time ever, and many chrome trim pieces, including chrome headlight bezels and rear decklid “suspenders”.  Addtionally, the ’58
  • Corvette featured non-functioning louvers on the hood.
  • The radiator grill of the 1958 Corvette had 9 teeth, instead of 13 (as in all previous years.)

Heater (101) – An interior space/.cockpit heater.

  • The 1958 Corvette heater has an “outside” fresh air type heater

AM Radio, signal seeking (102)

  • A standard Delco, signal seeking AM radio with conventional volume and selector bars.
  • The AM Radios for the 1958 Corvette are transistorized.
  • Most 1958 selector bars for the signal-seeking feature included the word “Wonderbar”.
  • Models not equipped with this option received a painted block-out cover plate

Parking Brake Alarm (107)

  • A warning light that illuminates/ indicates when the parking brake is applied.

Courtesy Lights (108)

  • Interior lights mounted on the interior of the car to aid in visibility when outside lighting is unavailable.

Windshield Washers (109)

  • A washer pump and dispensing nozzle mechanism that dispenses cleaner onto the windshield.
  • The windshield washer reservoir for the 1958 model was supplied by Trico.  It was a hard, white, plastic jar with a red lid.

Wheels, 15×5.5 (276)

  • Optional wheels that were one-half inch wider than stock.
  • Featured small, passenger car hubcaps instead of standard, full wheel disc covers.
  • For 1958, the wheels may have been painted black (in some instances) instead of silver.

Whitewall Tires (290)

  • Original tires were either U.S. Royal Air Ride, B.G. Goodrich Silvertown or Firestone Deluxe Champion.
  • All tires were wide-whitewall type, with whitewall widths varying from 2.5 to 3 inches.

Powerglide Automatic Transmission (313)

  • An “optional” two-speed automatic transmission developed by GM.

Auxiliary Hardtop (419)

  • An optional hard-top that replaced the standard convertible top.
  • Although the Auxiliary Hardtop is shown as an option, customers could swap the convertible top for the auxiliary hardtop at no additional cost.  Of the 5,607 Corvettes sold with this option,  2,215 of them were the result of this substitution.

Power Windows (426)

  • Electronically controlled windows which could be raised or lowered during vehicle operation

Two-Tone Paint Combination (440)

  • A second, optional paint color that was used to highlight the bodyside coves
  • A total of 3,422 Corvettes featured the two-tone paint scheme in 1958.  Of these, 757 were painted Silver Blue/Silver, 756 were painted Signet Red/White, 729 were painted Charcoal/Silver, 499 were painted Snowcrest White/Silver, 252 were painted Regal Turquoise/White, 190 were painted Panama Yellow/White, 199 were painted Tuxedo Black/Silver, and 36 were painted Inca Silver/Black
  • The charcoal exterior color is believed to have been replaced by black sometime after the midpoint of 1958 construction.

283 CI, 245 HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) (469)

  • A “high output” version of the standard 283 CI, 230 HP engine
  • 2,436 of the 1958 Corvettes were built with this engine.

283 CI, 270 HP Engine (2×4 Carburetors) (469C)

  • A “high output” version of the standard 283 CI, 230 HP engine
  • 978 of the 1958 Corvettes were built with this engine.
  • This option required a three- or four-speed manual transmission.

Power Operated Folding Top (473)

  • Electronically controlled convertible top that could be automatically raised/lowered.
  • Unlike the 1953-1955 Corvette Roadsters, which had an optional top that could be attached to the car, this convertible top was an integral part of the design, allowing the 1958 Corvette to be classified as a true convertible.

283 CI, 250 HP Engine (Fuel Injected) (579)

  • A “high output” version of the standard 283 CI, 230 HP engine.

504 of the 1958 Corvettes were built with this engine.

  • Of the total quantity built with this option, 400 came equipped with a manual transmission and 104 came equipped with a Powerglide automatic transmission

283 CI, 290 HP Engine (Fuel Injected) (579D)

  • A “high output” version of the standard 283 CI, 230 HP engine.
  • 1,007 of the 1958 Corvettes were built with this engine.
  • This engine option required a three- or four-speed manual transmission.

Positraction Rear Axle, 3.70:1 (677)

  • Higher performance gear ratio designed for increased acceleration and driveability.
  • 1,123 ’58 Corvettes included this option.
  • Required a manual transmission.

Positraction Rear Axle, 4.11:1 (678)

  • Higher performance gear ratio designed for increased acceleration and driveability.
  • 2,518 ’58 Corvettes included this option.
  • Required a manual transmission.

Positraction Rear Axle, 4.56:1 (679)

  • Higher performance gear ratio designed for increased acceleration and driveability.

370 ’58 Corvettes included this option.

Required a manual transmission.

  • Of the 370 Corvettes built with this option, 75 had a three-speed manual transmission, 295 had a four-speed manual transmission.

Heavy Duty Racing Suspension (684)

  • Modified suspension system featuring a number of performance/handling upgrades.
  • Included special front and rear springs and shock absorbers, a heavier front stabilizer bar, quick steering adapter, metallic brakes, finned brake drums, fresh air ducting to rear brakes, and front brake air deflectors (except for very early production-year models).

1958 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure

1958 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure

Download this 1958 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure for a quick look at the features of the car.

Download 1958 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure

See Also 

C1 ’53 54 ’55 ’56 ’57 ’58 ’59 ’60 ’61 ’62
Gen C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7

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