The 1958 Pontiac Chieftain: A Legend Among Cars
- August 23, 2016
- Classic Cars, Convertibles
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The 1958 Pontiac Chieftain: A Legend Among Cars
The Pontiac Chieftain is a classic and iconic American image that hails to an earlier era when driving to town was like riding down the road in one’s very own living room, plus the chrome. These cars drive like a dream, smooth and pleasant, accelerating to easily over seventy miles an hour on the freeway, and handling like a smooth cruise on the back roads too.
These were impressive automobiles produced by the company Pontiac in the year of 1958. It all started with the 1949 Chieftain and Streamliner models. These were actually the first all new car designs to come from Pontiac in the post-World War II years, and the 1958 was the apex of that line. Previous cars had been 1942 models with minor revisions here and there, but starting in 1949 Pontiac really began to perfect their cars.
Chieftains went through a major, major styling change in 1958. This look was revolutionary, and it was for only a year that they were done this way too, but what a year it was! All models were given beautiful honeycomb grilles, impressive quad head and tail lamps, nice concave rear fenders, and longer, lower lines that really showed the length of the automobile.
The Super Chief sub-series produced at the same time was promoted to full model status leaving just the standard array of Chieftains as the entry level Pontiac for anyone who wanted to drive these epic cars. The “Sportable” transistor radio became an option too along with full air-suspension for an even smoother ride.
As has occurred before in years past, the V8 engine was enlarged for the 1958. For the 1958 it grew to no less than a strong 370 cu in, (that came out to 6.1 L), and made 240 horsepower, (that came out to 180 kW), and 270 horsepower, (coming to 200 kW), depending on the version.
The 1958 models were the last Chieftains to be produced. It was the end of an era, but they certainly went out with a bang. The Chieftains were later replaced with the new Catalina in the year of 1959.
An Iconic Car to Remember
Production numbers tell us that there were exactly just 7,359 Chieftain convertibles produced for 1958. This was a pretty rare car. The hard top was more common, but even that did not have as high of a production number as previous years had. Included in that number of 7,359 were a vast quantity of various dealer-stock, multi-option, and many-colored cars too that all made for a very impressive and lovely car, each and every one. The Chieftains came with all kinds of different options and interests of that time period, including but not limited to the top performance engine in the Chieftain line. of the 1950s. The 1958 was literally at that time the very best car that Pontiac had ever made. Pontiac 1958s came with power brakes, rear defroster, power top, courtesy lamp group, and automatic AM radios. Some of the options here and there were seen in different cars, but all together in one car? Doubtful.
The 1958 Chieftain model was the third generation and the most perfected of the breed, and the last year it was produced before being replaced by the Catalina nameplate that was an all-new model. The advantages of owning the iconic 1958 model over the 1956 or the 1957 were many to say the least, but perhaps the greatest was the engine that the 1958 offered. This one was easily the strongest engine for a Chieftain up to that time, ranking in with an impressive 300hp 370 Tri-Power was available to those who wanted it.
All in all, the 1958 Chieftain was just plain and simple one of the best cars one could own. It is pretty safe to say that this was the best of the best that Pontiac produced in the 1950s, and it is arguable that this was the best American made car in the 1950s period. There’s no doubt about it, this car was and is an American classic and has been known for being one of the best cars that one of the best car companies ever offered for us. There were only a few of them ever made, so these babies are worth quite a bit, and there is a high demand for them too. Now would be the time to buy one too, as the value for the 1950s era of cars only goes up each and every year too.
The 1958 Chieftain stands out as a true American car. Just its image begets the American dream. It is pleasant, aesthetic, carefully put together, constructed with attention to detail, and definitely practical. It was one of the most thoughtful cars of the Classics, and it is still driven around today by those who own it simply because it actually is a very comfortable, practical, pleasant, and enjoyable ride.