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Blue Flame Project: 1954 Corvette C1

1954 Corvette

Early Corvettes demand big money these days, but if you have ever seen one up close, it’s easy to see why! This ’54 Corvette project is listed here on eBay and parked in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with bidding at $17,600 and the reserve not met at the time of writing is this. The owner says this car is fresh out of long term storage. Having been stored since the early ’70s with the keystone mags and the J.C. Penny white walls, it appears it is time to get this car fired-up!

'54 Corvette

The owner says that this is a very complete ’54 and would make an excellent candidate for a restoration.

'54 Corvette engine

The correct engine with the 241 head are in place as well as the correct intake and exhaust manifolds.

'54 Corvette int

All the gauges are present, including the clock.

'54 Corvette VIN

The owner says the frame looks solid with no rot or soft spots and the correct rear end is in place.

'54 Corvette right side

Doesn’t this look like a fun shop to stop for a quick visit? There’s at least one more Corvette parked in here and possibly more down the line!

'54 Corvette truck

All the side stainless and door chrome is pictured above. There are many more images in the ad, so please review those if you are interested in this project. The owner asks that you look at all the images and ask questions before you bid. The ’54 Vette is so cool and it would be a great asset to have in just about any collection. So would you take on this project?




  1. Avatar photo randy

    I have never driven one of these, but I have read they did not handle well at all, but that’s no surprise, as not many early ‘vettes did. My favorites 2 ‘vettes are the mid sixties to early 70’s. With all of the current hype, this one should go for big bucks.

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    • Avatar photo dj

      They didn’t drive well, weren’t made for comfort and the seats don’t adjust. I restored a 57, which is basically the same, for a friend of mine. I also freshened up a 65 396 coupe with off road pipes and 4 speed trans and 40k miles. Now the 65 was what a Corvette was meant to be.

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    • Avatar photo Dolphin Member

      IIRC GM wanted to bring the Corvette to market quickly to compete with the British and Euro sportscars that GIs were finding over there and bringing home. So they were built on a shortened Chevy sedan frame to satisfy the need for speed to market. They all had Powerglide transmissions early on, so with the sedan suspension and hotted up Stovebolt six plus the auto trans they were really boulevard cars. One source quotes 0-60 in about 11 seconds.

      I haven’t driven one of these early ones either, but I have driven later C1s. By today’s standards they have very soft suspensions and the car feels heavy in everyday driving. The thing I remember most about my first drives in them is how heavy the steering was. Very few regular cars, and no sportscars, had power steering back then, but the C1’s steering was uncomfortably heavy and slow because of the high gearing needed to make it work in a car that had a big V8 up front. They did go real well on a straight road.

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      • Avatar photo Mark S

        Caster adjustment would help lighten up the steering. These things like most 50’s cars are very truck like in there suspension and drive train.

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  2. Avatar photo Walter Joy

    I like the American Racing wheels on it

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  3. Avatar photo skloon

    I always worry when a restoration shop sells a car, did they swap out all the crap pieces they had for the good ones this had ? just my fear

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    • Avatar photo dj

      Since there’s a second one sitting there. I would say that your spot on.

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  4. Avatar photo randy

    Very good point, and well taken. Not too much of a stretch in today’s world either.

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  5. Avatar photo jim s

    i think there are at least 3 other vettes in the background of photos. i too wonder why they are not working on this car also. great find

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  6. Avatar photo Mike R

    ’54 is a tough year; not the first, and no V8 power like the ’55, just the anemic six with powerglide.

    Still cool, and worth it to the right buyer, but they don’t bring the $$ the ’53/’55’s command…

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  7. Avatar photo Dan

    These cars are turds…drive like a ’54 Bel-Air (not good) and not at all attractive to me…and I have had 15 corvettes over the years….C2’s and up….well 1961 to a 1970….including a split-window and a ’65 fuelie…and one ’66 427-425 horse roadster…and several ’67s….

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    • Avatar photo Clay Bryant

      You’re the first person ever that drove a 54 Bel-Air then did a road test with a 54 Vette. Who talked you into that? I’ve had two 54s (One Pennant Blue) and a 53(#160) and for attention getting, they are the best. Mid-years cookie cutter cars with the only difference under the hood…………

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      • Avatar photo RICH MANALIO

        That #160 `53, did it have an unusual way to turn on the windshield wipers? I had what may have been an early `53 that you had to turn the wiper switch on the dash and at the same time depress a small foot pedal that hung down from the firewall and was located just above the high beam foot switch to engage the wipers….There was a periodical at the time called “The Blue Flame Special” that said the first 176 or so `53 `vettes had this type of wiper control and then it went to just the dash switch after that to finish the 300+- cars built that first year….

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  8. Avatar photo Chebby

    Is it possible these days that you could Clifford up that six to make some real HP, and fix the handling with modern suspension bits?

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  9. Avatar photo Donnie

    Yes you could get a lot more power and get it to handle better .But then there would be people going crazy telling you that it is not stock .Buy it and do what you want to do its your money.

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  10. Avatar photo GreaserMatt

    Get it running, keep the rims/tires, paint rattle can flames on the front & watch the purist cry, LOL j/k… : )

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  11. Avatar photo Al8apex

    I agree

    Danger, danger

    All cherry parts have been swapped

    IF it was so wonderful and such a great find the shop it is in would do it

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  12. Avatar photo Charles

    A good friend of mine is redoing a 54 that his mom bought new. It would be good to compare this to a known original car and see what differences are discovered.

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  13. Avatar photo Andrew

    It is a myth that the frame came from the regular Chevy sedan. It was fully boxed and cost the Corvette department a large amount of their development money. It was still a bit to easy to flex. The steering was hard because the ratio was to fast. It made it a chore to park that’s for sure. Once you were going it wasn’t bad. The ride was harsh but a lot of sports cars were and still are. The live axel rear end didn’t have much control but could be updated with parts from later models with very little work. The roll center of the front suspension was to high, which could be fixed but that required some pro work. Racers from that time period knew how to do that. The brakes were of course pitiful. My car had no engine or transmission when I bought it so I put a race 350 in it with a T-10 4 speed fitted with a Hurst shifter. It was pretty fast. Wide alloy wheels with big Goodyear tires made corning fun as long as the road was smooth. I was drifting long before it became a fad. I had the good looking hard top, not the one that went over the top of the window frame. The drivers side seat could be moved fore and aft, but if your over six foot tall it will be a bit cramped. I bought it in 1965 and drove it for more than 20 years. I had a 265cu engine in it for some of those years but I gave that to my brother to put in 56 Chevy sedan.

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  14. Avatar photo Clay Byant

    Front suspension off a Chevy sedan……………

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  15. Avatar photo Clay Byant

    Richard Manalio……….It’s in the Speedway Motors Museum now in Lincoln,Nebraska. If I get a chance, I’ll look. Best thing to do………join NCRS. Incidentally, if anyone ever gets a chance to visit that museum as you go thru Lincoln, it’s 155,000 sq. feet of packed auto history. Bill Smith really did it right.

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