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1958 Automotive Guide to Cars of the World

1958 Automotive Guide to Cars of the World

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1958 Automotive Guide to Cars of the World

307 pages
2 heures
Feb 8, 2016


ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION (1958): “ For the fifth straight year, this Trend Book presents an authoritative description of all of the passenger cars produced in the world today. Extreme precautions were taken to give you accurate, up-to-the-minute information on each of the automobiles presented. The volume is therefore an essential reference for your automotive library. Complete specifications of each make and model are compiled in an easy-to-read table at the back of the book.”
Feb 8, 2016

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1958 Automotive Guide to Cars of the World - Kenneth M. Bayless



For the fifth straight year, this TREND BOOK presents an authoritative description of all of the passenger cars produced in the world today. Extreme precautions were taken to give you accurate, up-to-the-minute information on each of the automobiles presented. The volume is therefore an essential reference for your automotive library. Complete specifications of each make and model are compiled in an easy-to-read table at the back of the book.


Photographer C. A. Peterson, left, shows how he shot the cover for this book on the lawn of the famous Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Results were accomplished on 8 by 10 Ektachrome with Sandra Joslyn, 20th Century Fox starlet, posing. Cars courtesy of dealers in the Southern California area.

Cars of the World

The automobile manufacturers of the world are offering more for the money in their 1958 models than ever before. In the United States, it is boiling down to a blistering competitive battle in which each of the Big Three together with the remaining independents are fighting for a bigger share of the multibillion dollar market. American producers are becoming more cognizant every year of the inroads being made by the foreign car imports. It’s an ever-changing picture of a fascinating industry on which the entire world now seems to owe a considerable amount of its dependence.

Generally, the new models of the U. S. are longer and lower for 1958. Though horsepower increases are evident, publicity on this score has been subdued considerably. Instead, U. S. makers are pitching better ride and better control through new suspension systems which involve riding on air, optional on most makes. The foreign-car picture hasn’t remained static either, even though model changes are not usually a practice of a large percentage of these manufacturers. For one thing, foreign cars are gradually becoming more stylish from an American point of view. Many builders of the small sedans give positive indication that Detroit has influenced their final designs. Economy, however, is fully recognized as an important factor in determining purchase of these popular vehicles.

It has been stated that imported cars have secured a market in the United States because they have provided a wide range of cars for thousands of Americans who are looking for a certain type of transportation not presently provided by American manufacturers. It is true that diversity of performance, operation and style, coupled with specialization of design, is the basic reason behind the steadily increasing sales of imported cars in the United States.

Yet, it is not generally realized by Americans that we do a tremendous export business in automobiles. For instance, during 1956 the value of American automobiles exported abroad amounted to $331,000,000, while the total dollar volume of foreign cars imported into the United States was $127,000,000.

For 1958, the Detroit automobile industry expect to market more than 6,000,000 cars, while the imported marques should sell approximately 200,000 cars. Of these, all types of foreign cars are represented, from the luxury Rolls-Royce limousines, the Jaguar Mark VIIIs, Aston Martins, MGAs, Austin-Healeys, to the economy sedans such as the Morris Minor, Austin A35, Borgwards, Goliaths, Fiats, DKWs, Hillmans, British Fords, Sunbeams, and Singers. Many additional names are beginning to be seen in America, including GM’s German Opel, and GM’s British Vauxhall. There are evidences of Japanese makes coming to America, too. So, there are more and more countries being represented, including Sweden with its Volvo and Saab; France with its Citroen, Simca, Panhard, Peugeot; Italy with its Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati, Nardi; Germany with its Taunus, BMW, Lloyd, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen; England with cars already mentioned.

Latest on the American scene are the three cars shown at the right. Ford’s new four-passenger Thunderbird and Chrysler’s 300-D sports-type hardtop are both prestige cars designed for those who want style, power, and luxury wrapped up in one blanket. The Rambler American is an attempt by a well-known independent to recapture a part of the economy car market from the European imports, and it has an excellent chance to do just that.

Automobile-wise, 1958 is going to be another big year. You’ll be able to predict at least something of the trends of the future of automobiles by becoming familiar with the several hundred cars of 1958 illustrated and described in these pages.

Last of the 1958 models to be announced is this Thunderbird, a completely new prestige car with bucket seating for four passengers and non-removable hardtop styling. It has larger doors, more passenger and drive comfort, and incorporates new unit-frame construction techniques. It is similar to Lincoln. Engine is 300-horsepower V8.

After two years of absence from the automotive scene, the 100-inch wheelbase Rambler is returning to the showrooms in ’58. The new American model is a clean two-door with seating capacity for four or five adults.

The Chrysler 300-D is available in two-door hardtop and convertible body styling. It has optional fuel injection, bubble-type windshield, and an Auto-Pilot superhighway accelerator. It incorporates the look and feel of a sports car, yet provides six-passenger seating and exceptionally large luggage compartment. It is a true prestige car.


America’s most compact full-sized sedan is the billing given the 1958 Rambler Rebel four-door.

American Motors is dropping its Nash and Hudson brand names for 1958, but is retaining the Rambler, a car with a compact body and comfort advantages that is slated to continue in the race for the American automobile buyer’s eye.

Eleven models, including station wagons, sedans, and hardtops in the six and V8 series, are built on a comparatively short 108-inch wheelbase. Six-passenger, roomy interior has seats with changed rake, height for greater comfort; Airliner reclining seats, still optional, give mattress-like softness without sag. Major engineering improvements include a pushbutton control for automatic transmission, larger brakes, a step-on parking brake, and optional Power-Lok differential on V8 models. Latter improves performance while driving through sand, mud, snow, or ice. The six-cylinder overhead-valve engine is upped to 127 bhp, compared to 125 for ’57 model; an optional twin-throat carburetor boosts this rating to 138 hp. The V8 develops 215 hp, up from last year’s 190. Borg-Warner’s Flash-O-Matic transmission replaces the fluid-coupling Hydra-Matic on ’58 models. Five-button transmission control is to left of steering column on dash, along with controls for Weather-Eye heater and All-Season air conditioner (optional), all lighted for easy night operation. Transistor-powered radio has air vents at either side of dash panel top to emit music through speakers. Full-width crash pad and padded sun visors are optional. Slightly smaller glove compartment, flanked by an ashtray at either side, is center-positioned in dash above radio controls.

Station wagon models again feature notched roof with chrome travel rack and roll-down rear window. Structural changes have strengthened the unit-frame body.

Rambler Cross Country station wagon continues to feature notched roof.


Ambassador V8 replaces Nash and Hudson names from AM’s 1958 lineup; it has 117-inch wheelbase; has hardtop styling.

AM’s senior car in the Rambler series is its Ambassador V8, which has the basic body shell of the shorter-wheelbase Rambler, but with nine inches added between rear front fender opening and front door, giving it a 117-inch wheelbase. The Ambassador line includes a super and custom four-door sedan, four-door station wagon, and four-door hardtop sedan. In appearance, the Ambassador is similar to the Rambler, only longer and with more distinctive styling including smaller grille opening, egg-crate design, and upswept flared side trim. Engine is bigger bore version of AM’s V8 used in Rambler Rebel. Increasing bore from 3½ to four inches ups displacement from 250 to 327 cubic inches. With compression ratio increased from 8.7 to 9.7 to 1, power output is respectable 270 bhp (55 more than Rambler). Torsion sway-stabilizer bar on front is only significant chassis difference between Ambassador and Rambler in the American Motors line.

Optional is a new variable-speed engine fan which decreases fan’s revolutions per minute in relation to car’s speed, thus reducing fan noise and horsepower losses, increasing fuel economy.

All-Season air conditioner combines cooling, heating, ventilating, and defrosting in one unit. It is both efficient and reasonable in cost as optional equipment item available for Ramblers and Ambassadors.


The complete line of Chrysler Corporation cars made no major styling changes for 1958. Minor changes in side trim, grilles, bumpers, and taillights will be hard to distinguish from 1957 models. Thinking that this minor facelifting will carry them through style-wise, the Chrysler Corporation has concentrated on mechanical improvements; some of these represent major advances in automotive engineering.

These engineering improvements, which are common to all makes in the Chrysler line, include constant control power steering, a limited-slip differential, dual headlights, improved air conditioning, and electronic fuel injection. Most of these items are extra-cost options.

Constant control power steering, a new more compact unit for ’58, retains the fulltime feature but it has a more stable, or solid feel on the road, especially on straightaway highway driving. It is not as quick or sensitive as previous units, partially eliminating the tendency to oversteer on fast sweeping turns. Deflecting of the front wheels by irregular road surfaces is barely felt and does not affect the steering noticeably.

The new Sure-Grip limited-slip differential permits sufficient pulling power to enable a motorist to avoid rear wheel slip caused by ice, snow, or mud. Available as extra equipment, the new differential actually directs power to the rear wheel having the greater traction, thereby utilizing the power usually lost on a spinning wheel with conventional differential.

Adapted from the Bendix Electrojector, Chrysler’s new electronic fuel injection uses an electric pulse to open the injector valves.

The system is optional on the ’58 superstocks (Dodge D-500, DeSoto Adventurer, and Chrysler 300-D).

Constant Control power steering is a new engineering improvement available on all models of Chrysler Corporation cars. It gives more stable, solid feel on the road, especially on straightaways


1958 Plymouth has few exterior changes, continues its upswept rear fender styling.

The 1958 Plymouth has only minor styling changes, including lowered grille design and new turn signals and parking lights between twin dual headlights. Interior changes include relocation of the rear-view mirror at a point left of center, new steering wheel, and repositioning of rear seat cushions in four-door sedans.

Instruments on ’58 Plymouth are easy to read. Automatic transmission pushbuttons are to left of steering wheel, out-of-reach of childrens fingers. Rear-view mirror has been moved to position left of center for better vision.

Plymouth offers six engine options. Beginning at low end of the totem pole,

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