Crunching the 1958 Numbers

Auto production for 1958 was down 30% from 1957 as the Eisenhower Recession took hold. For the D, production was only 810 compared to the 300C at 2251. But the D brought some new options to the market; there was the Fuel Injection, Autopilot, and the remote control fender mirror. Published references say there were 619 coupes and 191 converts. While we have 810 records, there are 30 that either can’t be read or have no data. My spreadsheet shows a total of 781 Ds (191 convertibles and 590 coupes) which leads me to think the missing coupes are likely in the data that can’t be read.

In an unusual twist, two cars are listed as “abandoned to carrier”; one in October 17, 1957 and one Dec 9, 1957.

The first D was built sometime around 9-15-57 and the last car July 24 1958. Standard color choices were [AAA] Raven Black, [HHH] Aztec Turquoise, [MMM] Mesa Tan, [OOO] Tahitian Coral, [PPP] Matador Red, and [XXX] Ermine White. 14 cars were built with special order 999 paint code. 10 of these are coupes. Three of these 999 cars have special order 888 trim (1 coupe, 2 converts.)

6 cars were built with 888 trim; three in 999 paint and three in AAA Raven Black (2 converts, 1 coupe).

There are 441 cars built in Ermine White; 332 coupes and 109 converts. It seems white is the most popular color on a Letter Car.
There are 147 cars in Raven Black; 114 coupes, 33 converts. The first was a coupe on 10/2/57.
54 cars in Mesa Tan; 45 coupes and 9 converts. The first was a coupe on 10/8/57.
46 cars in Matador Red; 30 coupes and 16 converts. The first was a convert built on 10/7/57 which is the car abandoned to carrier 10/17/57.
36 cars in Aztec Turquoise; 29 coupes and 7 converts. The first was a coupe on 10/25/57.
35 cars in Tahitian Coral; 23 coupes and 12 converts. The first was a coupe built 10/8/57.
5 cars in NNN Sandalwood Brown, all coupes. The first was built 11/12/57.
1 car was built in Winchester Gray; a convert built on 3/17/58.
There was 1 coupe built in Shell Pink, 11/7/57.
Winchester Gray and Shell Pink were paint colors available from Chrysler on other models in 1958.
1 coupe was built with paint code XHH. It was built on 6/18/1958. With that paint code I think it would have a white top on Aztec turquoise body. On paint codes, the first letter is the top area. The second letter is the bottom area. The third letter is the insert or center area.

660 cars had power seats [option code 303].
645 had power windows [304].
42 cars had power seats without power windows.
27 cars had power windows without power seats.
139 cars were built with AC [341].
20 cars were built with dual AC [342].
555 cars were built with heater [345].
29 with gas heater [347].
3 with trunk AC [348].
37 cars were heater delete.
238 cars for the rear defogger option [394].
351 cars built with manual 60” antenna [331].
341 with the power antenna [334].
8 cars with manual 60” antenna (loose) [336].
2 cars with manual 90” antenna (loose) [337].
12 cars with power antenna (loose) [339].
331 cars were built with Music Master radio [441].
One car was built with Music Master radio uninstalled [442].
390 cars were built with the Electro Touch Tuner [443].
73 cars were radio delete.
423 cars had the manual left outside mirror [401].
150 cars had the remote left outside mirror [402]. The first car to get a remote left mirror has a build date of 1/20/58.
124 cars had the right outside mirror [403].
123 cars had the vanity mirror [405].

Odd balls:
3 cars were built with antenna but no radio.
1 car was built with a radio but no antenna.
I did not find any cars with power door locks [307] and I did not find any with fender ornaments [407].
There was 1 car ordered with a right fender mirror but no left fender mirror.
There were 10 cars ordered without any options other than the heater.
There were 35 cars without any options at all.
On the other hand, 75 cars were loaded with power windows, seat, heater, radio, left and right mirrors. At the extreme, 12 cars had all those options plus the vanity mirror and the rear defogger.
I found one car with the speedometer in kilometers.
Two cars have the 481 engine code which was most likely to accommodate manual transmission.

20 cars were built with FI; 5 with AC [37E] and 15 without AC [375].
There are 7 more cars with the FI deleted from the records.

1958 was the first year the records show deletions and additions.
One has the heater deleted to install gas heater, also changed generator.
One added rear speaker [327].
One added defogger [394] and stone shields [481].
One added Electro Touch Tuner radio [443], power antenna [334], and rear speaker [327].
One deleted manual antenna [331] and Electro Touch Tuner radio [443].
One deleted power antenna [334] and Electro Touch Tuner radio [443].
One deleted standard 3.31/1 differential [553] and stone shield [481] but added Sure Grip [399] right outside mirror [403] and 3.31/1 Sure Grip [55C].
One deleted Electro Touch Tuner radio [443], power antenna [334], ?? [343], Solex [469] but added right outside mirror [403], Accessory package A [406], Music Master radio [441], manual antenna [331], instant heater [347], and defogger 394.
One deleted heater [345], left outside remote mirror [402], 30 Amp generator [571], standard differential [553], manual antenna [331], Music Master radio [441] but added power windows [304], power antenna [341], Sure Grip [399], left outside mirror [401], 30 Amp generator with low cut in [576], and 3.31/1 Sure Grip [55C].

The information on the production cards varied from year to year. The format of the card changed as well. By 1960, they no longer had the engine number. 1958 and 1959 were the only years where the VIN was also stamped onto the data tag. In a strange event, 1958 VINs 1328 through 1365 were incorrectly coded on the tag and on the card (the “3” was a “2”). The card was corrected in pencil and the tag left with the error.

We estimate that 193 coupes and 52 convertibles survive.