Production: 1946 - 1948
The 2458 Automobile boxcar was a carry-over tin-plate freight car from Lionel's prewar era -- specifically the prewar 2758 boxcar. Both the pre and postwar versions were advertised by Lionel as being 'designed from current automobile boxcar blueprints', with the unique change in style being the boxcar has two sliding doors on each side. In either case, both of these freight cars are realistic and a nicely detailed model of real-life boxcars designed to carry automobiles from that era.
One oddity of the 2458 is its inclusion in Lionel's only set offered in 1945 -- set 463W. The box was labelled 2458 -- however the freight car included within the box was always a 2758. This was most likely Lionel selling unused prewar inventory for this initial postwar set. Lionel did correct this for 1946 and the 2458 was included in one O gauge set for each year from 1946 through 1948 as well as being available for separate sale during that timeframe.
Lastly, the 2458 is a moderately common car. Clean quality examples are difficult to find as they are easily dented, damaged or have paint nicks and chips on the exterior.
The 2458 Pennsylvania included the following standard features: brown painted shell with white lettering, dual sliding doors on each side, staple-end trucks with two operating coil couplers plus a single brakewheel, separate metal side ladders and a simulated air reservoir attached to the frame.
Additional Detail, Photos & Box Information
Extra Rivet - The early production runs included an extra rivet below the number '8' in the 2458 which appears just to the left of the opening doors. This is a hard to find variation.
Without Extra Rivet - Shown in first photo above - The common version does not have the extra rivet just below the '8' in the 2458 appearing to the left of the doors.