Story and Photos by B. Mitchell Carlson
Prospective 1958 Chevrolet Corvette buyers did not have the excuse of not bidding because the ’Vettes at the Mecum Spring Classic Auction weren’t a color they liked. The May Mecum sale in Indianapolis had every factory color of ’58 Corvette to choose from and on May 17, the last day of Mecum’s nearly week-long auction, the company sold this rainbow of Corvettes collected by one person. If that wasn’t enough, there was also a separate lot from a different consignor of a 1958 Corvette in a unique factory-painted color.
The eight-car collection wasn’t composed of just run-of-the-mill base models or a mix of engine and transmission options. All of the consignor’s eight ’Vettes were equipped with the top-rated engine for the year: the 290-hp, solid-lifter 283-cid V-8 with fuel injection and a four-speed manual transmission. To boot, each ’58 Corvette was an expertly restored and highly scored Bloomington Gold-certified car in Old Cars Report Price Guide No. 1 condition.
The coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds was packed as these Corvettes crossed the block, and a veritable who’s-who in the world of vintage Corvettes was in attendance for the session on a damp Saturday afternoon.
The first example to be offered, lot S91, was painted Tuxedo Black. It was a color originally dropped from the Corvette palette in 1958, only to be added late in the model year by customer demand. This black Corvette had black coves, a black convertible top and a red interior. In short order, the 99.0-point Bloomington Gold example found a new home at $150,000.
Next up was a representative of the 510 Regal Turquoise examples built that year. With contrasting Snowcrest White coves, a white top and a black interior, it was the relative bargain as the least expensive example, hammering sold at $127,500.
Panama Yellow was also a pretty rare color for 1958, with 455 built in that new-for-the-year hue. Lot S93 also had Snowcrest White coves, a white top and a black interior. It proved to be popular with the bidders, finding a new home at $160,000.
Speaking of Snowcrest White, lot S94 was painted in that color, and with silver coves, a white soft top and a red interior. It was a striking combination, but the Corvette proved to be the second cheapest example from the collection when it sold at $137,500.
The next two lots each sold for $140,000. Lot S95, the only ’Vette from the collection with a hardtop, was painted a very harmonious Silver Blue with silver coves and a blue interior. S96 was in the relatively popular combination of Signet Red with Snowcrest White coves, a white top and a red interior.
One of the rarest combinations for any solid-axle Corvette is a 1958 in solid Inca Silver, and that’s exactly how lot S97 was painted. One of 157 thusly built, it was contrasted with a black soft top and red interior. It proved to be the most valuable, too, topping all sales at $162,500.
Ending the collection was lot S98, a ’58 Corvette painted the early-model-year Charcoal color, the color with which Chevrolet intended to replace Tuxedo Black. This example — with Inca Silver coves, a black soft top and a red interior — rolled out the door to a new owner at $155,000.
All told, the Corvettes from this eight-car collection brought $1,170,000 for their consignor.
Seventeen lots after the 1958 Corvette collection sold, a very special Corvette in a different color crossed the block. This 1958 Corvette represented the 39 millionth Chevrolet built when it rolled off the St. Louis assembly plant line on June 11, 1958. As such, it was the only Corvette that year to be painted gold. While authentically repainted 35 years ago, the second family of owners have kept it otherwise original, making it a very sound No. 3 condition car. It, too, was a fuelie with a four-speed, but as the hydraulic-lifter variant, its 283-cid V-8 was rated at 250 hp. Lot S115 saw very spirited bidding; the reserve was lifted at $130,000 and it was declared sold at $155,500.
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