A Guide to 1958 Cars

From the legendary Ford Thunderbird to the sporty and stylish Chevy Corvette, these are the best cars of 1958. Click here for more.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The best cars of 1958 are legendary household names—from the award-winning
Thunderbird to the sporty and stylish
Every classic car collector has a favorite year for vintage vehicles, and 1958 is perfect for those who love big and boxy sedans. 
Whether you’re an automobile aficionado or are just feeling a twinge of nostalgia, read on! We've created the ultimate list of the very best cars from ‘58. 
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The best cars of 1958

The top five best vehicles from 1958 were from automotive greats, like Ford, Oldsmobile, and Chevy. Read on to see which models made the cut! 

The best car of 1958: Ford Thunderbird 

KBB fair market range: $17,000–$37,400
Powertrain: 300-hp 352 cu in 5.8-liter FE-series V8 engine coupled to a three-speed manual transmission
What makes it special: 
The first generation of the
Ford Thunderbird
was produced from 1955 to 1957 and was a huge success, even in comparison to the beloved Chevrolet Corvette—but Ford executive Ryan McNamara still thought there was room for improvement.
Cue the 1958 T-bird. Based on market research, the second generation of this legendary vehicle added two rear seats to the popular first-generation two-seater and was the first Ford vehicle designed with a unibody construction. Ford also ramped up the luxury features, allowing the Thunderbird to rival full-size sedans (despite being built on a mid-size platform). 
As a result, sales soared—a total of 198,191 vehicles sold, approximately four times as many as the original two-seater. The ‘58 Thunderbird even won the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award—an accolade given to the best new or significantly refreshed car of each model year.  

The best luxury car of 1958: Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

KBB fair market range: Around $1.2 million
Powertrain: 3.0-liter inline-6 engine offering 250.0 bhp paired with a 4-speed manual transmission 
What makes it special: 
300 SL Roadster was launched before the days of modern V8 German supercars. It was the fastest car you could get in its time because of the impressive drivetrain and lightweight build
The Roadster incorporated the same internal engineering as the manufacturer’s Gullwing (a coupe that was retired that same year), but changed the body significantly, offering larger front fenders, larger ‘Euro’ headlights, a smaller grille, a rounder front windscreen, and a chrome accent strip running down the side of the car.
The original Roadster was introduced at the 1957 Geneva Motor Show, but in 1958, the even more luxurious hardtop became available. 
The 300 SL Roadster isn’t just one of the great cars of 1958—it’s also exceedingly rare. Mercedes made fewer than 2,000 total over all years of production (from 1957 to 1963), and locking one down today would cost you well over $1 million
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The best family car of 1958: Oldsmobile Super 88 Fiesta

KBB fair market range: $7,100–$21,400
Powertrain: 6.1-liter Rocket V8 engine offering 277-hp, coupled with either a three-on-the-tree or Jetaway Hydra-Matic two-speed automatic transmission 
What makes it special: 
was synonymous with mid-20th century America, and the Super 88 served families well by combining a four-door hardtop with a station wagon. The Super 88 Fiesta was produced for just two years—1957 and 1958—but the ‘58 anniversary model was a significant aesthetic upgrade, with new dual headlamps, creased sheet metal, tons of added chrome, and an overall chunkier look, earning the nickname the “ChromeMobile.” 
Two rows of bench seats offered room for six passengers in total, as well as a bit of cargo space. Plus, a safety deep-recessed steering wheel helped keep families safe.  Another unique option for 1958 was a "Trans-Portable" radio that could be removed from the instrument panel through the glove compartment and used as a portable radio for beaches, picnics, and other family-friendly activities. 

The best sports car of 1958: Chevrolet Corvette

KBB fair market range: Around $55,000 
Powertrain: Choice between a 270 hp or 290 hp engine, a choice of manual or automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
The first generation of Chevy’s iconic
was launched in 1953, but the ‘58 model was perhaps the most aesthetically notable of the era. Trimmed out in excessive chrome, featuring a prominent grill, and boasting four exposed headlamps, this sports car screamed Mid-Century Modern. 
Another fun fact—seatbelts were factory-installed for the very first time in the ‘58 Corvette, rather than being dealer-installed as on previous models. 

The best truck of 1958: Chevrolet Apache 

KBB fair market range: $11,440–$35,500
Powertrain:  283 cubic-inch V8 engine with a four-speed automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
If you love trucks, you probably love Chevy—but the manufacturer has been producing pickups long before the modern Silverado. In 1955, Chevrolet introduced the Task Force—the successor to the Advanced Design trucks—and in 1958, they launched the light-duty 1/3-ton Apache
These new trucks included four headlights (instead of the previous two), as well as a shorter and wider grill. It was also the first year for factory-installed air conditioning

What cars came out in 1958?

As the ‘50s came to a close, car manufacturing greats began to experiment more with their vehicles, producing bigger, flashier, and better-equipped vehicles each and every year.
Take a look at just a few of the vehicles that came out in 1958:
Vehicle type
Fair market range
Chevrolet Impala
Full-sized car
Blue Flame I6, Turbo Fire V8, or the Turbo Thrust V8
Around $36,200
In 1958, GM was promoting their 50th year of production and introduced anniversary models for each brand: Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Chevrolet. The Impala was introduced for the 1958 model year as top-of-the-line Bel Air 2-door hardtops and convertibles.
Ford Galaxie
Full-size car
An I6 or a choice of V8s
The name “Galaxie” was used for the top models in Ford's full-size range from 1958 until 1961 in a marketing attempt to appeal to the excitement surrounding the Space Race. In 1958, a concept car was introduced called "la Galaxie" which incorporated the headlights into pods in line with the grille, resulting in a reduced front profile.
Mercedes-Benz W128
Luxury car
2.2-lite 6-cylinder
Around $58,000
This 6-cylinder luxury vehicle was available in sedan, coupe, or cabriolet body styles. It was the last new model of the "Ponton" range which had design and styling roots beginning in 1953 with the Mercedes-Benz 180 sedan.
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The Volkswagen Beetle was the best-selling car in 1958 and remained on top into the early 1960s.
With a top speed of 141 mph, the Aston Martin DB4 was the fastest vehicle of ‘58.
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