Former Garage Find: 1954 Corvette

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It’s a pleasant change to see an early Corvette in something other than white with a red interior like all the 1953’s were equipped. However, since neither yellow paint nor a black interior were available from Chevrolet for 1954 Corvettes, it’s apparent that an owner somewhere down the line went off in their own direction. The car is located in Houston, Texas and is listed here on eBay, where bidding is very low as I write this but the reserve has not been met.

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The whole Corvette program was still trying to find its way in 1954, with all cars still having Powerglide 2-speed automatics and no V8 available yet. The shape was unmistakable, though, and laid the groundwork for many cars to come. The pictures of this car, while plentiful, are not detailed enough to truly evaluate the condition of the fiberglass body. We can tell, though, that there’s a piece of chrome missing around the grille area and the paint color doesn’t look very uniform.

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It’s a shame that more effort was not made to duplicate the original exhaust, although I suspect these pipes that extend longer than stock keep the body from being discolored by exiting particulates.

 

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Somehow I would have expected the interior to be in better condition, especially since it’s been replaced. Not that it’s horrible, but it just looks a little unloved. We don’t see the top in any of the pictures either, so there’s no telling how it has fared over the years. The seller tells us the car was found in the South where it had sat in a garage “for some period of time.” It would be nice to have a little more detailed information!

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Here’s the Blue Flame 6-cylinder engine, which looks pretty original. I thought they all had painted valve covers, but I did some research and some were chromed from the factory. The car is said to run and drive well, but no real details are given. There are a lot of darkish pictures of the underside in the auction listing, and the frame looks pretty solid to me. Overall, I wish there were more details, but this looks like a decent car to start with if you don’t mind some non-original details. Would you restore it to stock or drive it as-is?

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Comments

  1. Capt Doug
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @Capt Doug — that’s a good tip for finders — always check the other items for sale.

  2. Dan

    12,000 miles? Looks more like 112,000 miles

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Dan, I think that was the typical eBay “12345” that folks type in when they either don’t know or can’t be bothered to look at the odometer :-)

    • George

      The ad copy now says that the motor was rebuilt at 67,000 in 1988. Same owner since 1969. So maybe it’s 12K since then?

  3. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Update: The seller has added a note that says the soft top and side curtains are there but need help. They also report that it’s had the same owner since 1969 (betting that’s actually the owner before them, though).

  4. Steve Member

    When I was discharged from the service in 1963 I had a chance to buy a 53 Corvette for $500 and it was in really nice shape (yes, white with red interior)–and a Florida car. I couldn’t afford it but I did buy a 1958 Chevy Impala convertible for $350 that was in near perfect condition and with a factory installed continental kit.
    I like this yellow one, but once again, I can’t afford it.

  5. DRV

    Need the serial number! This is a good car to keep the same. Many yellow with a black interior Corvettes were done in the 70s. Repop grille trim and cheap mechanicals make it cheap to have fun with until the early Vettes enjoy another uptick.
    If you start into this one who knows what you will find, but the little pieces are expensive and are there.
    The side windows and bag are a huge bonus value wise….even if they need redone when restored.

  6. RON

    I am no expert on corvettes for sure but this looks lke a very good find for a corvette of this year. You don’t see these pop up in any condition very often and this ne without close inspection seems a pretty solid project. No doubt a lot of bucks to bring to concours. At the price it is headed not bad, but probably will go a lot higher, and if I were fortunate to be able to have it, it deserves going all the way but I would not be able t invest what it would take. My game would be to put it in excellent mechanical cond. return it to driver paint and up as original and have a great time knowing it is secure I value. like the other guys had an op to buy one in 63 to buy one off a lot for 595needing paint and tweaking but didn’t think 400 and my 53 Ford was a fair trade even needing the upgrade. How’s that for Economic’s from an 19 year old mind.!! It too at 10 years old had already been changed to a light medium metallic blue that had faded. I guess Mom did raiseone fool!!!

  7. Scotty G

    Back in the mid-70s, on our weekly (every weekend) drive up the north shore of Lake Superior from our house in Duluth, we would pass a little house that had a car next to it that was hidden under a tarp. Year after year the tarp would deteriorate a little more and eventually I could tell that it was a ’53/’54 Corvette under that tarp about half of the car was being exposed to the harsh MN climate. I was a huge car-guy, even as a little kid, and I always wanted to stop and see the car but my dad didn’t want to bother them by just stopping in and asking about their car. What a mistake that was. I’m guessing that it may have been one of those tragic “son lost at war” stories that you always used to hear about.

    • Barzini

      We used to drive by a house in Brookfield, CT that had two early 1960s Covettes parked for years on the side of house. I never had the nerve to stop and these project cars would have been well beyond my means. But I later heard that many others did stop and owner refused to consider any offers.

  8. Rob

    As it doesn’t have the ‘stock’ colors for the ‘purists’, throw some early polished ‘real mag’ wheels on it, get the top fixed for those inclement days, and ‘hell be damned’, just drive it like ’twas meant to be done.. :)

  9. Patrick McC.

    Yellow looks stellar on that car! Maybe not the paint job itself but I’ve never seen one done over in that color. Like others have said, it’s nice to see something different.

  10. Horse Radish

    Flipper, who won’t even collect the cars from where he bought them…NJ, Houston, L.A……

    Third time trying to sell this Corvette, unless he has 3 pale yellow ’54s sitting around….

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/stpallas058/m.html?item=281933184289&forcerrptr=true&hash=item41a486fd21%3Ag%3AHn0AAOSwCypWpu7H&rmvSB=true&LH_Complete=1&rt=nc&_trksid=p2046732.m1684

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