Category: 1958

A barn find Cadillac, parked until it was too late to realize the dream – Don Homuth @Hemmings

A barn find Cadillac, parked until it was too late to realize the dream – Don Homuth @Hemmings

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This is the story of a car obsession. The family asks that the actual names not be published, but otherwise the story is true in every particular. In the late 50s, Roy was a typical “1960s father” who cared for his family, but was never really close or part of it. All of his friends and peers used to regard him as one of the smartest people they knew…  and it was probably true. He ended up being self taught in electronics for years before going to school to finally get his degree. Roy’s family has always looked at the story of his decline with sadness, seeing someone so brilliant fall into such a delusional place in his later years.

Roy’s neighbor in 1958 bought a brand new Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special, as they did every two years. That car spoke to Roy and he was determined to have it. In 1958, it was nearly the pinnacle of luxury and, after all, Cadillac was the “Standard Of Excellence.

He pestered his neighbor, almost from the day they bought the car, to sell it to him. He always intended to get it with less than 10,000 miles on the odometer and he was determined to keep it that way. It didn’t happen. When Roy bought it, the odometer had rolled past the 10k mark, just barely, and he was quite upset. But he bought it anyway.

In those days, that was okay. Any obsession that wasn’t particularly severe could go unnoticed, and things would go on just fine. Early on, though, Roy’s obsession with the Cadillac was clear. In his wife’s words, it was like “him getting to pick out his favorite child from a group, and dote all his attention just on that child. But for him it was a car, and not a child.”After Roy bought it, he hardly ever drove it.

Over the years, he kept it in the home garage. He’d fire it up, wash and wax it, but then never went on any long drives. So, from 1961 for another decade, Roy only drove the Cadillac about 400 miles. Really. Other than a funeral once, most trips were about a mile down the road to his friend’s shop to clean and detail the car, about two times a year.

The last time the car was driven was in 1969 and the last time it was registered was in 1972. But even then it was never driven in most people’s sense of the word. In 1980, Roy bought a house “in the country,” an hour and a half outside of Chicago. The car remained in the city garage, completely untouched, until 1989 when it was brought to the country house. Over time, Roy became more and more protective of the car, allowing no one to drive it or sit in it.

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A 1958 Dodge Royal Lancer battles back from project car to show winner – Jim Black @Hemmings

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Big fins and wide whitewalls were all the rage in the late ’50s and no one did it better than the Chrysler divisions. Dual exhausts were an extra cost option. Jim Black

United States car sales slumped in 1958 due to a nationwide recession, but, on the heels of a successful 1957, Dodge rolled out an updated lineup. The division’s 1958 cars were longer, lower, wider, more colorful, and sported an abundance of chrome. Plus, Dodge’s model offerings consisted of the entry-level Coronet, the Royal, the Custom Royal, and a new, top-of-the-line Regal Lancer. Dodge described them as the “Swept-Wing” 1958s in all of its marketing brochures.

Phil Shaw, from Auburn, Nebraska, is a 64-year-old retired UPS driver and Mopar enthusiast of the first order. Phil was looking for a retirement project that spanned the 1957-’59 Dodges when he came across a 1958 Dodge for sale online. The owner was from Norway, the ad was confusing to read, and a gallery of low-quality photos made it difficult to determine the car’s overall condition.

“The owner told me he had purchased the car online, from a seller in Bradenton, Florida, and then had it shipped to a shop in Rosenberg, Texas, to begin the restoration,” Phil says. “But after some work had been done he halted the restoration. He found out a short time later that he was terminally ill with cancer and decided not to see the job through.”

An RCA record player was a rare option not found on many cars of this era. The 45-rpm player held 13 records and played them upside down, so that the weight of the record kept the needle from skipping.

At that point, the car had also been completely disassembled and media blasted, and the shop had performed some sheetmetal repair on the floorpans and trunk floor. Reluctantly, Phil decided to bid on the ’58, not sure exactly what to expect since he had not seen the car in person. He won the auction and purchased the car in January of 2011. No other potential buyers bid against him, which sent up another red flag.

“I picked the car up a few days later. All the window glass had been discarded, and all the parts were in boxes and not well identified,” Phil says. “I examined the bare body and saw that a lot of rust repair was needed around the back window, but the rest of the body seemed to be solid and in good shape.”

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Pair of Wagons from Edsel Ford’s Collection Up for Auction – Tom Comerro @Hemmings

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Craig Jackson, Chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson, announces the sale of two wagons once owned by Edsel Ford II. Both are to be sold at no reserve by the grandson of the brand’s namesake during the Scottsdale Auction at WestWorld in Scottsdale, Arizona, on March 20-27.

The 1958 Edsel Bermuda wagon features recent restoration work and a transmission swap (from manual to period-correct automatic) carried out by Roush. The rear axle has new seals, bushings, and brakes, while the interior was updated with heat shielding, new carpeting, and seals to make the car more comfortable and inviting. Roush also replaced the original column-shift assembly, while keeping the stock steering column. The proper two-pedal system for automatics of that time was installed, and new control linkage was built.

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Last to Bear the Name: The 1958 Packard Hawk – @Mac’s Motor City Garage

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Purists will say the 1958 Hawk isn’t truly a Packard. That may be so, but it’s certainly an interesting car.     

In gearhead lore, the 1958 Packard Hawk was created almost by accident. Roy Hurley, the Curtiss-Wright CEO who was in charge at Studebaker-Packard in the final days of the Packard brand, asked chief designer Duncan McRae to create a customized vehicle for his personal use. As this single custom car was completed, somehow the decision was made to add it to Packard’s meager production lineup for 1958. As a result of this unusual provenance, the Packard Hawk is sometimes referred to by S-P enthusiasts as the Hurley Hawk. (For more on the final Studebaker-based Packards of 1957-58, see our feature, The Packardbakers.)

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Impala Production Ends After 62 Years

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So after 62 years the celebrated Impala badge will no longer grace the highway, this is another sad example of the change in the mode of transport away from the traditional sedan.

“Just as the Impala evolved over the years, the market has shifted dramatically and demand for sedans has declined and we adjusted to meet customer needs,” Steve Majoros, vice president of Chevrolet marketing, told The Detroit News.

The Impala first debuted in 1958 and ran until 1985 before being reintroduced briefly in the 1990’s then fully returning in 2000.

There is an excellent feature on the Impala over at the GM Heritage Center Website called  “Chevrolet Impala – Something For Everyone” you can find the article here

 

The 1958 Tom Simmons Meteor SR-1: A 60 Year Legacy – Geoffrey Hacker @UndiscoveredClassics

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The 1958 Tom Simmons Meteor SR-1

Meteor SR-1 sports cars are few and far between so when someone who owns one contact me I’m always interested to learn more.  Especially when the ownership story goes back to the late 1950s.  That means we can get the story straight from those who found it, repaired it, drove it, raced it, restored it, showed it and more.  How can you beat that!

A New History Begins For The Meteor

Gene and Sonny kept the car for a few years but sold it to their friend Joe Simmons in the late 1960s.  In 1969 when Joe’s brother Tom came home from Vietnam, Joe asked his brother to help with mechanical repairs and service.  During this time Joe decided to glass in both doors to give the body added strength.

Both Joe and Tom co-owned the Meteor and had fun with it until around 1973 when Tom became full owner.  Tom continued to drive it for a few years but retired the car into a garage in 1975 with a blown headgasket.  There it would sit for 20+ years until Tom retired and it was time to take out the Meteor and have some more fun.

The 1958 Tom Simmons Meteor SR-1

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Related – FORGOTTEN FIBERGLASS: 1955 REPLAC DEBONNAIRE AND VENTURE

The restoration of a 58 Corvette – Eckler’s Corvette (via Hemmings)

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This is a great story about a daughter and her stepfather’s dream car – a great Panama Yellow ’58 Corvette. It was purchased for $600 in 1966 by Tara Bush’s Stepfather, Ron. Ron used to race it on Dayton Beach. When he retired from racing it in 1972 he parked it on a trailer and planned to restore when he retired. In 2000 his health started to fail, so Tara took over the restoration. The lesson? Don’t wait until you retire to do something important!