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1958 saw yet anotheer significant styling update for the Chevrolet Corvette. The single headlight design was replaced with dual headlights at each front corner. Beneath that, large chrome-lined air inlets were added. The scalloped sides or “coves” of the ’58 Corvette’s body now featured outlet vents from the front wheels. Two chrome strips ran the length of the hood, splitting each bank of headlights. These chrome strips pick up again out back, closer to the center of the trunk. The hood also featured horizontal covered louvers, resulting in what has been called the “washboard hood.” This would be a 1958-only feature on the Corvette.
The 283 cid V-8 was carried over for 1958, now producing 230 hp in stock form. A dual four-barrel version made 245 hp, or 270 with solid lifters. Fuel injection was also available, bringing output to 250 hp. The range-topping Corvette “fuelie” model made 290 horses. Transmission options continued to be a 2-speed automatic, 3-speed manual or 4-speed manual.
The cabin of the ’58 Corvette was also significantly updated, taking the rather modest dual-cowl approach of the previous dash and embracing a more dramatic interpretation, including a center stack for the analog clock, as well as radio and other controls.
The new instrument panel featured a tachometer that was moved to directly in front of the driver. For the 270 hp and 290 hp models, that tachometer went up to 8000 RPM (standard tach was to 6000).
Seat belts became standard equipment for 1958. Six colors were available, including Charcoal, Silver Blue, Regal Turquoise, Signet Red, Panama Yellow, and Snowcrest White.
Chevrolet produced 9,168 Corvettes for the 1958 model year, representing a significant jump. Chevy would continue to sustain and build upon this growth throughout the rest of the Chevrolet Corvette’s first generation.