Member’s Feature
Tom & Pat Harmes, Member #137
1958 Chevrolet Impala
Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia

Story & photos by Gary Porter

The first time I saw an Impala was the fall of 1957. Our next door neighbour was a car salesman at Scotia Chev-Olds. At a time when it seemed everyone drove a battleship gray sedan, that white Impala sport coupe sure made an impression on me. A few years later, another neighbour had a black ‘58 Impala with a red interior. He was probably in his 20's and I remember him asking me if I wanted to go to the Commons to watch a baseball game one Saturday afternoon. Although I liked baseball, it was the chance to ride in that great looking car that had me scurrying home to get the OK from my mother.

This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Impala. After the three year run of 1955, 56 and 57 Chevrolets, the 58's were completely redesigned. The new models were longer, lower and heavier than their predecessors.

Under the hood, the new Turbo-Thrust V8 displacing 348 cubic inches provided added power up to 315 horsepower. The 150 series was renamed Delray (wagons were known as Yeoman), while the 210 series was renamed Biscayne (wagons were known as Brookwoods). The Bel Air series remained the top of the line. However, the Bel Air series included two new models; the Impala sport coupe and the Impala convertible. These two models differed structurally from the rest of the Bel Air line. Impalas had a longer deck which gave the impression of an extended body. Hardtops had a shorter roof which added to this illusion. In addition, all Impalas had bright rocker moldings, dummy rear-fender scoops, a simulated air extractor vent in the roof and of course, the signature triple taillights and crossed flags. 125,480 Impala sport coupes were sold in 1958.
Tom and Pat purchased their first 1958 Impala sport coupe back in 1963. It too was gold, but also had an off-white top. It was just a daily driver back then and it eventually had to be put out to pasture after several years of faithful service. Although he hated to part with it, Tom vowed that someday he would have another ‘58 Impala. That day finally came in 1986. After a three to four year search, he spotted an interesting ‘58 in Morrisburg, Ontario being offered in the Auto Trader. It was an anniversary gold California car powered by a 250 horse power 348 with a turboglide transmission, in completely original unrestored condition, with only 9,000 miles on it.
Although Tom still has the original wheels and tires, the decision to change over to T/A’s came in 2000, when he and Pat decided to take the Impala on the coast to coast cross Canada tour. While on the tour, they stopped at the South Park car dealership in Edmonton, Alberta, where the car was once sold, to see if some more of the car’s history could be discovered. Unfortunately, their records did not go back that far. Besides the tour, Tom and Pat’s ‘58 has appeared in two movies, Simon Birch, which was filmed in Lunenburg several years ago and Beefcake. Being members of Eckler’s Late Great Chevy Club, the ‘58 has also been featured in the club magazine.
Tom and Pat have now owned the Impala for 22 yearsband it has now traveled some 32,000 miles. It is still as it rolled off the assembly line 50 years ago, except for T/A radials mounted on the same 14" chrome wheels, which were once on their previous ‘63.

After all these years the Impala is showing some signs of its age. However, Tom and Pat have chosen not to restore the car. Instead, it will remain well cared for and maintained in its original condition for all to enjoy.
Tom and Pat could be called Mr. & Mrs. Fifty-eight. Besides the Impala, they also have in their garage, a Chevrolet pick-up, Chevrolet Cameo, Buick and Oldsmobile, all 1958 models along with a 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Monza convertible.

Tom and Pat have been in the club since April 1989. Tom was vice president from 1998 to 2005. Prior to that, he was on the Executive as a Director from 1996 to 1998.