Hidden Since 1990: 1954 Chevrolet Corvette

Buying a car sight unseen is certainly something more than a few of us have attempted (myself included). But at least in my experience, I’m doing it with cheap, sub-$2,000 cars and hoping for the best, even if I end up having to part them out. But buying a collector car like a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette requires a slightly different set of nerves and a larger quantity of capital, regardless of whether you lay eyes on it first. The story of this restored-then-forgotten 1954 Corvette is one for the ages, with the longtime owner going so far as having the original California black plate car repainted and acquiring a new top (among many other new parts) and then not getting back to it before he passed away. The story of its acquisition is posted here on MotorTrend and thanks to Barn Finds reader Larry D. for the find. 

The new owner of the car was a longtime collector of this generation of the classic Corvette and amazingly didn’t know that this beautiful barn find of a ’54 was right under his nose, just a little ways away. Of course, it’s not a surprise when you consider the owner lived very far down a remote country road with no other houses, and hadn’t had the Corvette out of his storage building for decades following its respray. The new owner was pleased to see that despite having to make an offer without laying hands on the car first, it was in better condition than he had hoped, both in terms of originality and lack of rust. Plus, when you see the pictures, it becomes immediately obvious how original the Corvette still is.

The engine bay revealed no disappointments either, other than the laundry list of deferred maintenance projects that will have to be tackled following its many years of inactivity. The Corvette has an interesting story of being purchased in California, painted orange metal flake, and then driven to its eventual resting spot in Wisconsin. The owner got tired of writing checks for its ongoing restoration and parked it in his barn in 1990, and that’s where the present owner discovered it – thankfully, with the orange metal flake paint job a distant memory. What’s even more incredible is that the Blue Flame engine actually fired up with relative ease after doing the basic work to revive a car that had been sitting for eons. It was running and driving again within 10 days of being removed from the barn.

The car was incredibly sound, even the vulnerable trunk floor, and the new owner found OEM side glass and four brand new hubcaps still in the shipping boxes in the trunk. The presence of details like those and the headlight grills tell you how well this Corvette was preserved over the years, and despite the dust and time off the road, it actually sounds like a very sensible project to buy and restore back to running condition, perhaps not even going past the point of making it a driver once more. Stories like these still happen, even if the supply is dwindling. Have you ever stumbled across a stalled restoration project like this?


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  1. RedBaran

    Wow – the 1954 Corvettes are coming out of the woodwork lately!

    Like 6
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Refresh it, bring it back to day 1 config and drive it sparingly.

    Like 3
  3. Stephen H

    I guess my question would be if the new owner is an early corvette aficionado and collector, why would he be flipping it
    without restoration?

    Like 6
  4. mikeh

    How long would it have taken to move all the junk prior to the photoshoot? I’m thinking 15-20 minutes at most.

    Like 11
    • Frank

      I agree Sellers will whine because they got no bids or insulting bids. If you are going to Sell a vehicle you really need 10 or 12 photos. Engine compartment, trunk, sides views, top views, front and rear, interior shots. And remove the dam junk from the vehicle.

      Like 4
  5. Jeff

    So is it for sale? How do you contact the owner?

    Like 2
  6. E.L Puko

    Exactly the same as the ’53.

  7. t-bone BOB

    Located in De Pere, WI

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