Rolling Work-In-Progress: 1954 Chevrolet Corvette

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

The Chevy Corvette struggled to find its footing in its first three years – producing less than 5,000 copies combined. At first, it was a sports car without a lot of sport – an inline-6 with a 2-speed automatic was standard fare in 1953 and 1954. But a V8 and a restyle slowly helped the car get traction. This ’54 edition is a project that may be mostly complete except for the lack of an engine or transmission. Located near Portland, Oregon, this labor of love is available here on craigslist for $28,500. A nod goes to PRA4SNW for bringing us this tip!

After building just 300 Corvettes in 1953 (largely by hand), things picked up in 1954 as production moved to a new facility in St. Louis, Missouri. Output rose to 3,640 units, but the car was little changed other than you could get a Corvette in a color other than white (they all looked identical in ’53). The 235 cubic-inch “Blue Flame” six-banger was still the order of the day, and a manual transmission wouldn’t come along for another year. But the engine was slightly peppier (by 5 hp) with a camshaft change. One nice improvement was in the price: it dropped by more than 20% thanks to economies of scale by speeding up production.

The history of the seller’s ‘Vette is either unknown or not stated. Some earlier work has been done to get the restoration going, but that stalled some time ago. The engine and tranny were removed and are no longer part of the equation, suggesting this car might emerge one day as a “restomod” with a more modern powertrain. We’re not sure what color this car could have been at one time, but Sportsman Red would be top the contender.

Retained are the soft top frame, some brightwork, the grille, seats, and so forth. The car was converted to disc brakes at some point (front or all around?). The odometer reading is 77,000 miles, but if accurate that probably doesn’t mean a lot at this stage. Buying a car like this is a leap of faith in that you know you’re going to have to source some parts, but you’re not sure just which ones.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    I see less love than labor on his one, especially for the asking price. The dreamers are everywhere these days.

    Like 6
    • Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

      A lot of smoke from some green leafy vegetable substance up Portland way now, y’know…

      Like 10
      • Robert West

        He’s dreaming if he thinks he can get twenty eight grand for a roller that needs work. The minute that the original engine was lost doomed the value of this car.

        Like 4
  2. Big C

    No original engine or trans? Buh bye restoration recoup.

    Like 1
    • Rick R

      That wouldn’t be a quick fix for sure, almost looks like the only one that would make money off of this one is the current seller at $28,500.oo

      Like 3
  3. Jerry Bramlett

    “No low ballers or smart-ass trolls.”

    Classy ad. The perfect car to represent Portland: over-priced, hopeless, and just plain nasty. Hard pass with prejudice.

    Like 9
    • TheOldRanger

      Yep, but Portland used to be a nice place back in the 60s and 70s… but then Seattle has gone down as well.

      Like 5
    • John W. Sherman

      Ha ha ha ! On the button sir!

      Like 0
  4. Dave

    With originality lost, a restomod makes sense. Someone will save this car.

    Like 2
  5. Harvey HarveyMember

    $28,500 and start fixing!

    Like 0
  6. Mario

    It needs some work obviously but is a good starting point. Most of the parts seem to be there and as a restomod can be finished pretty quickly. That is if you want it that way.

    Or as a labor of love you can do a frame off restoration and take your time.

    Either way you go the market looks good for these. Prices for a restomod go about $60 – $70k depending on the build. While original models go at $80k on up. I’ve seen a listing for a Concourse build going for $205k.

    Plenty of Armchair Generals nay saying cars about the asking prices currently being asked for. But remember that the price is whatever the market will bear. If you’re asking for too much it won’t sell so you need to lower your price. Simple math.

    Like 0
  7. George Birth

    Mario makes a good point overpriced autos don’t sell. So I suggest this seller would be wise to lower his price. Especially with what the car shows. This one is going to require a heck of a lot of work, and$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to finish.

    Like 1
  8. 64 Bonneville

    “Just needs a little TLC” Truck Load of Cash. Looking thru the photos on CL ad, seems that the majority of items need are there. Appears that fiberglass has been pretty well stripped, which saves time and $$$. A $12-15K ask would get this sold fairly quick, and another $50K to finish it off.

    Like 0
  9. John Jasper

    This car needs everything but the frame. That’s a lot of dough for having so little there. I guess it’s how bad you want one.

    Like 0
  10. ACZ

    A very expensive car to restore. And, not worth that much when you’re done.

    Like 2
  11. DA

    I think he should keep it and make it what it could be. $28,500.00 with no engine or trans, unknown body prep quality, dash hackery, and likely other issues make it closer to a pig in a poke – there are not enough pictures to counter. Potential is a hard sell to the buyer in this case, hence the warning at the end.

    Like 0
  12. PRA4SNW

    Judging by what resto mod C1 Vettes are getting at the major auctions, someone can scoop this up and actually make money on it.

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds