Barn Find Custom: 1954 Corvette

Anytime a first generation Corvette surfaces from long term barn storage it’s something to get a little excited about. But when one with as interesting and incredible history as this one surfaces, it’s time to get really excited! You see this ’54 Corvette spent several years as an ISCA show car in the ’60s and features some of the most popular upgrades and modifications from the era. After being retired from the show circuit in 1969, it was stashed away in a barn and forgotten. It’s recently been uncovered and is now up for grabs here on eBay in Walker, Louisiana. The seller hasn’t even cleaned it up and bidding is already over $34k!

I love the way this thing looks! The hardtop is my favorite feature, although that hood looks pretty good too. I don’t even mind the rims, although I think it would look better with a set of black steelies, but that’s just personal tastes. Give it a good bath, a complete tune up, and hit the road or you could fully restore it and have one amazing machine! So which would it be for you?

Like This? Get Our Daily Email

Comments

  1. Bingo

    If the history can be documented by finding some vintage pictures I’d say make look the way it did in its hey day.

    The eBay ad is kinda crappy but the seller includes his phone number which is a plus.

  2. erikj

    That’s pretty cool. I think maybe leave it as is, or get it back to when it was a show car.
    Love the old crager ss rims, (I think) not the best look ,but if that’s what it wore as show I would keep the look.
    You don’t see stuff like this much at all.

  3. michael streuly

    Nice car but ex show car i do not see it.

  4. Rustytech Member

    I see this exceeding $60k before this auctions over. If the information can be documented, that may still be a bargain. Most of these early show cars were destroyed once their show careers were over, so this has to be rare.

  5. charlie Member

    I had a ’54, steel wheels with white walls and full wheel covers with fake knock off hubs. One got stolen (and later sold back to me by local gangster’s son who probably stole from me in the first place, I had put the serial # of the car inside the wheel covers) but I could still buy one from dealer without the “spinner” which had been outlawed by the feds as being dangerous to pedestrians. Now, look at the trucks on the road with lethal lug nuts sticking way out from the tires.

    • Rustowner

      You’re right! Those flimsy, push on, pointy, ABS plastic lug nut covers on big trucks are certainly lethal!………. You’re joking, right? Or did you falsely assume they were real? You could hurt someone far worse with a soda bottle or a tennis ball……

    • RICH MANALIO

      Strange….I had a `54? that I could not find any VIN #’s on. The engine was changed to a 327, no # on the door jamb, no # on dash, no hidden # on top of frame rail under drivers seat. I had to get a Vin. # issued to the car by N.J.
      State Police. There was always a question as to whether it was an early `53 because it had strange windshield wiper controls….you had to both turn the dash switch AND depress a pedal near the high beam switch on the floor. Only the first 176 or so `53’s had that which they changed after haLF THE CARS WERE MADE IN `53…..

      • William Oesterle

        Rich, where did you get that period photo? It looks just like this car. I am the buyer btw

      • Richard Manalio

        I bought the car in the picture in 1970 in Albany, Ga. while in the Navy and took that photo in 1970 in Panama City Beach, Fl. in 1970. I paid $1600.00 for it as you see it, sold it 3 years later for $2750.00 after I had moved back to my home in N.J. The guy I sold it to lived in New Brunswick, N.J. and said he wanted to convert it back to stock. It had a 327, Holly, solids, 4 speed, a third member out of a `55 Chevy, Craeger SS wheels, hood scoop, custom white leather diamond tucked buckets with red buttons, a firemist red paint with 22 coats of clear hand rubbed lacquer….had it up to 150mph a couple of times. Here’s another picture..oh, and it’s not the same car.

      • Richard Manalio

        Another photo…

  6. redwagon

    “…. and wife’s permission before bidding.”

    ha!

  7. sunbeamdon

    Com’on Redwagon – don’t ask permission; ask forgiveness. Buy it now!

    • Mark-A

      Far more common to ask forgiveness than for permission in my book!! Good luck fella

  8. Gunner

    Very cool Vette. I am not big on C1’s, but I respect then for what they are and represent. I am a C2 guy myself if given the choice. I dig that hardtop. Looking at the last pic on the listing, I see a clear (plexiglass) attachment for the back half when the hardtop is off? Like a Targa or something, or am I seeing things? Never seen something like this before. I like it. Other “add on’s” on the car are cool for the most part. I would lose the Steering Wheel, Rims, and I am wondering about the shifter in the floor. It doesn’t look right for the car. Of course, no mods would be made if it deterred from the value based on what it is, assuming that the documentation is verified. IMHO :-)

  9. JW

    I say clean it up and tune it up then drive as is. Oh and a new set of tires. Cool Find.

  10. ruxvette

    $60 grand, at least. And it’s a piece. V8, turbo, everything wrong interior, hood scoop, roll bar, chrome ignition shields and finned corvette valve covers included from the original six?
    Spinner hubcaps outlawed? Please.

    • Mike H. Mike H

      They were, in fact, banned for manufacture or sale in the United States as a part of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. I find numerous actual references to this online but I have (as yet) been able to locate an actual copy of the statute.

    • charlie Member

      Do you have MY old Corvette, with three wheelcovers with spinners and one without? White, Carter carbs leaked gas (all 3) and dent in x frame where someone hit a rock? #’s etched inside the wheel covers?
      The V8 might make it less front heavy than the 6, even if it weighed more, but if it sat back further that would help it go around corners, which the 6 did not really want to do.
      And, no I did not know those nipples protruding from truck wheels were falsies, glad to hear it.

  11. S Ryan

    Great project, if you can get it the right price.
    Be careful seller has a re bodied 56 for sale also. VIN affixed with self tapping screws.

    • gbvette62

      That’s the way they were installed. Up until 1960, when Chevrolet started spot welding the VIN tag to the steering column, Corvettes had the VIN tag attached to the driver’s door jam, by 2 Phillips head screws.

  12. daniell wright

    That steering wheel is a travesty. This is another car to fix up and take to car shows, if only to watch the purists get their lace drawers in a bunch.

    • Nova Scotian

      Yea,..you spend top dollar and clean it up, register it, license it,… spend thousands…and l’ll walk over and admire it for you. LOL

  13. BRAKTRCR

    I’d change the tires. Never liked whitewalls much. Then make it safe, take it out and burn some rubber. To restore it, would cost close to the national debt, and take the fun out of the car, in my opinion

  14. Lemble

    Can you trust someone that is to lazy to wash a car that does the brakes and engine work? Seems a bit pricy for a rodded car, but it is or looks to be in good condition.
    I say wash the thing put some new rubber on all four corners and drive it for a year.

  15. Chris Nicholls

    According to that picture, It hasn’t even been taken yet… 2018?

    • Rocco in Florida

      I saw that.

  16. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I have a hard time understanding how a show car goes from the show circuit to a barn to be forgotten.

  17. CaCarDude

    Very cool old Vette, I like the C1’s. Check this one at a show in Auburn, CA about 10 years ago, owner said it was a factory option the clear bubble top, if so very rare IMO. She is a beauty!

    • Alex B

      never seen one with that top before either, it looks amazing!

      • ACZ

        A limited number were made by Bell Helicopter. VERY rare!

  18. gbvette62

    I think the seller’s time line may be off, for when the car was built and put away.

    The seller says it was put away in 69, but the air cleaner has a 77 Corvette crossed flags emblem on it? The scoop is a 67 Corvette big block “stinger” scoop, but it wasn’t until 68 or 69, that people started mating them to other cars. The CORVETTE license plates on the front and back, have the 68-73 Corvette style letters on it. I’m familiar with those aftermarket tags, and I don’t think they came out until the 70’s. Also, there weren’t many Turbo 400’s floating around in the 60’s, they weren’t even available in a Chevy before 67.

    Just from the overall look of the car, it’s hard to believe it was an ISCA show car. Anybody could enter a car in a local ISCA show, and a lot of average cars were entered, but that hardly made them “show cars”. I’m guessing it wasn’t a travelling ISCA circuit car, but instead may have been entered locally, at the annual ISCA show?

    $35,000 is probably about the max for that car. Nicely restored 54’s, generally sell between $60,000 and $80,000.

    • Rocco in Florida

      Somebody has mentioned this before.
      That the T-400 wasn’t even available in a Chevy before 67.
      Well, I tried to buy a ’66 SS396 Chevelle(in the ’80’s) with a factory T-400 with a factory console indicating L1,L2, & drive. The guy was not interested in selling.
      Been in the transmission business since ’73. I’ve even worked on a ’68 Caprice with hideaway headlights with a Turbo 350 from the factory, and they weren’t in production cars until ’69. A ’70 Z-28 with a T-400. So, I think anything is possible from any factory.
      BTW, the T-400 was introduced in the Caddy in ’65.

    • ACZ

      Turbo 400 first came out in the 64 Riviera (only had a single L range). Then became used by all GM division in 1965.

    • Richard Manalio

      I bought this Corvette in 1970 for $1600.00 as you see it. Was built 2-3 years prior by the guy I bought it from in Albany, Ga. Very similar but….not the same car. I took this photo in Panama City Beach, Fl. in 1970. 327, 4 speed, white leather diamond tucked buckets, no hardtop. Hood lifted off 4 pins.

  19. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    I wouldn’t change anything about that car but the current bid and give it a bath. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with Cragars but I kinda like the look with thin whitewalls which would have to be replaced with similar width radials from Coker.

  20. Roger Carlton

    Back from the Future? Notice the date stamp. Maybe that is why it is not original? It doesn’t exist yet…… Kidding aside, but who are you kidding. Give me the old Blue Flame and I’d be much happier.

    Like 1
  21. Jay

    I remember when I was a mechanic in our small town a customer would come in to have his old corvette state inspected I remember the mesh covers on the headlamps and it had a straight 6 cylinder engine the car was bluish green and white

  22. Joe Moss

    Buick RIVERA was the first GM Car to have the Turbo 400. 1964.

    • Rocco in Florida

      My bad, you are correct. An oversight in this old man’s brain.

    • gbvette62

      I think Cadillac had it in 64 first, and then it became available in Buick’s later in the year. The Turbo 400 was not offered in Chevrolet’s until 67, and it used a different case than the Buick, Olds and Pontiac transmissions, because the Chevy block had a different bolt pattern.

  23. Clay Byant

    The clear hardtops came thru GM but these solid ones came from a company called Parish Plastics. I thought the rear window on these were square ugly but I tried one of their 68 hardtops which looked original but was a whiz to take off. And tuff too. Forgot to lock it down one time(It was late that night!)and took off and at about 45 mph the top took off. Looked in my rear view mirror and watched it go at least 15 feet in the air. Came down on the driver’s rear corner and only thing happened was a little scratch on the corner vinyl. Fixed that by ordering out a set of factory corner tips and put them on. Fixed and no sign of damage…………..

  24. Paul Newbold

    It’s so ugly that it’s cool! Get it mechanically perfect and enjoy

  25. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Sold for $40,412.00. 96 bids.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.