During the model year 1957, Ford managed to out sell its rival, Chevrolet. Yes Chevy fans, Ford sold more cars. However in the production year 1958, Chevrolet introduced the most exciting new shape in a generation of cars! Cars like the Impala, Biscayne, Belair and Delray. Ford knew that Chevrolet was working on a new body style and reportedly spent $ 185 million up-grading their cars for their production year 1958.
The two 1958 Ford series, Customs and Fairlanes, made use of new side trim, featuring increased use of metallic finishes. Color schemes were more subdued and two-toned finishes were still used. The Ford Custom and Custom 300 were one half inch longer, while the Fairlane and Fairlane 500 was one half inch shorter. Up front there is a new mesh grille, dual head lights and a small airscoop on the redesigned hood. On the rear, back up lights are mounted between double taillights. The fins are slightly larger over the 1957 Ford.
Some important engineering developments on the 1958 Fords included optional air suspension on the Fairlane and station wagons. The new suspension was called the Ford-Aire system and provided a constant car height despite the load inside. Improved rear springs achieved a softer ride on all other car for 1958. Steering was improved with a new and improved power steering pump.
The horsepower race was still on and new for 1958, Ford developed a 352 cubic inch V-8 that developed 300 horsepower and a 332 cubic inch (265 HP) V-8. Returning in 1958 was the 292 cubic inch (205 HP) and the reliable OHV six cylinder. The new engines proved to be extremely durable, required less maintenance and gave extended trouble free life.
Ford also developed a new transmission, Cruise-O-Matic, that was offered as an option only on the Fairlane and station wagons. The old tried and true Ford-O-Matic was available with the 6 cylinder and all V-8s.
But what about the 1958 Chevy!