Hopeless? 1954 Chevrolet Corvette

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There have been a number of early Corvettes written up lately, each with its own set of issues as the result of age, neglect and collision damage. This one listed on eBay suffers all the above plus it’s been scrounged for parts. Bidding is currently over $7000 and the reserve has not been met. At least its got the original engine and transmission and there appears to be no rust underneath. It needs body work everywhere, at least on the parts that aren’t missing. Have a look on what else is missing.


It looks a little better from the rear, but bear of parts. Those tailpipes sure look huge.

inside dash

“Just about everything” about covers what is missing inside the car but at least the parking lot doesn’t show through the floor.

engine left

Much of the engine is there, although there’s no word on whether it’s frozen or not.


The underside looks pretty solid, perhaps the best looking view of the car. Is there any way this Corvette could be restored for less than what it’s worth, perhaps $80,000? Will it be possible to find original parts for this or will they be reproduction? Can the body be saved? There is a 1954 parts car in similar condition at Crane Corvette supply for $24,500. Is there even enough here for this to be a parts car? I look forward to your comments.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. David WilkMember

    If this car’s engine is in fact original, with only 3640 manufactured in 1954, it seems worth the restoration cost and effort, provided your pockets are deep. Then again, you can buy a solid original for less than $70,000. (http://www.cargurus.com/Cars/l-Used-1954-Chevrolet-Corvette-c2#listing=124631350)
    Can this one be restored for less than $50,000? If so, it seems the economics work.
    Personally, I prefer the 61-62 versions, much more power and better handling cars.

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  2. Tim Waters

    No matter the shape it’s in, it’s still a numbers matching ’54 Corvette. Of course it’s worth saving!

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  3. Buzzard

    Doesn’t have to be made original, but yes, save it.

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  4. GaryI

    Stick the engine in the corner, put in an LS-7 and hot rod the hell out of it. You would save time and money not tracking down original parts and have a $100,000+ car when your done.

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    • ChevyTruckGuy

      A 500+ horsepower LS7 would twist that frame into oblivion. The most factory horsepower offered in a 1st Generation Corvette was a 360hp fuelie. And that was gross horsepower, not net horsepower. Not everything on 4 wheels NEEDS 500, 600, 700hp. If you wanted to switch to a V8, a period-correct 265ci, or 283ci V8 would be more appropriate. These early cars weren’t about raw power, they were about high style.

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  5. Gnrdude

    It Should be Restored as the Original Power-train is all there I’m Sure a Suitable Donor Body could be Located for the Body work. Now as for the Missing Trim and Interior Parts that’s Going to Nickle and Dime Ya to Death. But over all it’s Very Much Worth Saving.

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  6. jim s

    seller has 1822 items on ebay. i too think this is worth saving and it is going be costly to do so, but how many 54’s are still matching numbers. great find.

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  7. Joe

    I have a project 54. There are a LOT of pricey and hard to find parts missing on this one. But it is definitely worth saving…looks solid and has the right cylinder head and powerglide, both of which are corvette specific and rare. Presume the block is original too. Plus it looks like it was originally Pennant Blue with a beige interior, good looking and rare combo!

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    New terminology on the horizon. There is Rat rod. Barn find. Here we have a collectible parts car!

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  9. Mark S

    If your up to the task skills wise you can knock that resto price way down. In the hands of the right guy you could do the job for maybe $30000.00 that would leave you with meat on the bone if your doing it for resell. But if that is your plan you’d better bring your A game.

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  10. Andrew S MaceMember

    Just my own thoughts: Does it need to be “restored to NCRS” levels? No. Can it be saved and restored to more or less “as original”? Sure, why not? And why not go for it. Of course, if your only hands-on experience is with pen and checkbook, then you might not come out ahead. Otherwise, you’d end up with a pretty nice car in (as pointed out) a somewhat rare color combination. It wouldn’t be the first time a “parts car” ended up being restored! :)

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  11. Mike O'Handley


    I have an overseas client who restores C1 and C2 Vettes. He can take a smashed up Vette hulk that’s far worse than that; and when he’s done there’s a beautiful flawless “new” Vette sitting there waiting for a new owner to adopt him. The one above is one nearing the finishing line.The picture below is what it looked like when he received it. They are the same car about a year apart. I’ve hauled bodies down to the port for him that looked like they’d been used for target practice on an artillery range. If anyone knows where there are more C1 or C2 Vettes sitting around so torn up that folks just shake their head and sigh at the sight, give me a shout. It might be perfect for his purposes.

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  12. Mike O'Handley

    Same car about a year earlier.

    Now, Isn’t this much better than stripping everything off them and then crushing up the body? Another Vette goes back on the road to provide someone years of classic car enjoyment.

    Like 1
  13. Daytona

    Sell for scrap

    Like 0

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