Parked in the ’80s: 1954 Chevrolet Corvette

In 1954 Chevrolet built 3,640 Corvettes, but by years end over 1,000 cars remained unsold. This was mainly attributed to the fact that the 6-cylinder engine and Powerglide transmission really weren’t what the sports car buying public were looking for. Today that trend has reversed, and all C1 Corvettes are highly sought. This 1954 model is largely complete, and it is ready to go to an owner who is willing to take on a restoration project. Located in Oxford, Mississippi, the Corvette is listed for sale here on eBay. at the time of writing, bidding has reached $30,800, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

This is one of those cars where the external photos don’t tell the full story, and the owner is quite candid about that fact. He says that the paint is not as good as it appears in the photos, and he believes that the car has undergone several repaints throughout its life. Judging by the description, it sounds like the body will require a complete strip to ensure that it is returned to a high standard of finish. It does appear that all of the external chrome and trim is present, although the owner does say that the bumpers will need a fresh coat of chrome. Both the soft-top and hardtop are included with the car, although the material on the soft-top looks like it might have deteriorated a bit. There are plenty of photos of the underside of the car, and here the news is quite good. At some point in the past, someone has painted the frame. This was apparently a pretty second-rate job. The paint is coming off, but what lies beneath is a solid frame. So, it looks like the new owner is starting off with a pretty solid project car.

From a mechanical standpoint, the news is also positive. The 235ci Blue Flame engine and Powerglide transmission are both original. The only non-original component on the engine is the cylinder head, but apparently, everything else is original. The engine turns freely, but the car doesn’t run. The owner removed the valve cover and found that three exhaust valves have stuck from the car sitting for the best part of 40-years. The brakes also don’t work, so it looks like there will be some work required. Still, this is all part and parcel of undertaking a restoration like this one.

The interior of the Corvette is a pleasant surprise because it is in rather nice condition. The carpet will require replacement, but it would be interesting to see how the rest of the trim responded to a good clean. The 1954 Corvette was only available with two interior trim colors, and this one features the more common red trim. Apart from the carpet, the interior does appear to be complete. At least that means that the next owner is not going to be stuck with the task of trying to locate a pile of missing parts, which can be quite a challenge.

If the right person buys this Corvette and invests the right amount of time, effort, and money into the restoration, then the result will be a pretty special car. Maybe they don’t really have the sporting prowess that their style would suggest, but the fact that good examples are easily fetching figures north of $70,000 indicates that their initial sales problems are now a distant memory. Personally, I’d love to get a good look at this one once the restoration is complete.

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Comments

  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    I like this car but still have to admit that I’m partial to ‘53 models, mostly because Corvette and I showed up the same year. Either way the six cylinder engine is just fine with me. Now if I could just happen upon a winning combination in the lottery department…

    Like 1
    • Steven Ligac

      Haha, I’m a ’53 model too, Geo 🙂

      Like 2
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        And a great year it was! Can you imagine entering the world the same year that Chevrolet Engine Division introduced full pressure lubrication. Well, the Korean War ended that year too…

        Like 1
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Technically, geomechs, the Korean War day NOT end in 1953. I wish it would have, but as my military “family” will tell you from the DMZ there, it’s only a “truce” and not really even honestly that.

        Regardless of that, you and Steven are right-that’s a classic design that broke new ground in American sports car ideals, Frank Kurtis and Briggs Cunningham notwithstanding..

        Like 2
    • Frank Sumatra

      Don’t forget that beside us making our debuts, Playboy magazine was first published in 1953, and the first James Bond novel was published.

      Like 2
  2. TimM

    Most all sports cars of that era had strait sixes or in line fours!!! I can’t really understand why the writer said that people didn’t want a six cylinder with a power glide transmission!! Maybe people wanted a stick shift 3 or 4 speed but most all V8’s were flathead at this time!!! All European cars had fours or sixes!!

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I think it was more the Power-sap—GLIDE. I would love to see a manual transmission behind that famous Blue Flame…

      Like 2
    • Michael

      Yes many cars were flatheads or small sixes BUT the vett with it’s 235 and PG wasn’t up to the Stude Lowery coupe with its V8 and three OD or the Cad, Olds, etc. Many of us didn’t want a ‘sporty car’ that dad in his family 4 door could blow off! What year did the chev 261 engine come out? Chev didn’t even have a decent ratio three speed that wasn’t made of glass either! Big OL Corporate GM finally figured it out for 55 after the TBird came out–DUH! THEN the rest IS history!

    • Michael

      Never heard if the Allard or the several other V8 Limeys Huh?

  3. Jack Hammer

    Adam, with all do respect: This car is too perfect to restore. What I mean is this is a genuine survivor, just getting older like the rest of us. But still very USABLE and fun. If someone elects to restore this beauty, it will lose all of its beautiful character and look exactly like virtually all the restored ’54s, and he probably won’t drive it much. Especially with the hard top, this car exudes so much character that to restore would be blasphemy.

    There. I’ve given you my opinion. Adam, I’m sorry if I stepped on your toes, just my rant. I was seven when these came out.

    Like 2
  4. Dave

    The stuck valves can be fixed with penetrating oil and patience. This car is a true time machine. Get it to run and that’s it.

    Like 3
  5. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I have to admit it was seeing pictures of a 54 Vette on TV that began my love of Corvettes. It was something to see it on TV and would be a couple of years before I’d see one in person. Didn’t matter, the love bug had bitten me and I said one day I’d have one (a Vette that is). It took a lot of years before it would happen and there were many false starts but it did happen eventually.
    This one, I’d fix anything that needed attention and leave the rest alone. It has the look and feel of a survivor to me and I’d treat it as such.

    Like 2
  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice!

    Like 2
  7. scottymac

    Like the two seater T-Bird, I can’t imagine (or do) the contortions it would take to get in the car with the hardtop on! Looks cool, though; was it a factory option?

  8. moosie moosie

    Very nice semi-survivor, reading the ad the seller states the paint is flaking off and it appears to being painted several times. It looks like it has a 8 volt battery in it but the seller says it spins but wont start so the new 6 volt battery will not come with the car, stuck valves. All in all, still a very desirable Corvette, I’d love to have it, it fits properly into my bucket list.

    Like 1
  9. Fred Alexander

    Clean it up, make it run – – and stop of course – – – do what is absolutely necessary to enjoy it without pouring a bunch of money into a hopefully Concurs competitor – – – jump / slide in and drive drive driiiivvvvvve !
    Keep it in survivor fashion – – – it’s presentable as is with a good clean up and detail (labor of love).
    Nuff Said from my camp.

    Like 1
  10. Maestro1

    The paint and the instrument panel don’t match, which, if I remember the car properly should be the same. So the car should be Ivory (?) they were White so it’s confusing. Do what it needs and enjoy

    Like 1
  11. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended: May 26, 2019 , 9:00PM
    Winning bid:US $35,000.00
    [ 55 bids ]

    Like 1

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