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Solid C1 Project: 1954 Chevrolet Corvette

No matter how you cut it, a C1 Corvette is a true American treat. Neatly nestled away in a small garage, this 1954 model has some obvious signs of age, but is a rock solid start to a restoration. Stored away for the past odd 40 years, this Corvette offers some hard to find parts, including a hardtop. Currently this ‘Vette is not running, but I would imagine a little time and fresh fluids would get this thing going. With a fair amount of interest, bidding has risen to $18,100 with the reserve not met. Take a look at this beauty here on eBay out of Walker, Louisiana.

The Blue Flame inline 6 hasn’t been awakened in quite a while, but looks to be complete and in reasonable condition. Being a 1954 model, the Blue Flame has a ’54 specific cam shaft that yielded a 5 horsepower bump from the 1953 engine. There are no specifics as to the condition, mileage, or originality of this drive-train to this car, but it would seem to be a mostly original jewel that has slept that past few decades.

Quite nice, this interior offers a lovely view with no major flaws to be seen, although the interior has been redone at some point in time. There is some chipped paint on the steering column revealing the original red color of this interior. The black has a nice look, but ’54 interior colors were red or tan, and tan only appearing in Pennant blue cars.

Appearing to be “hit” free, this C1 has a remarkably nice looking body. There may be a few hidden cracks, but otherwise the body appears trouble free. Someone has already taken the liberty of sanding the car likely in prep for a repaint. Hopefully they were “in the know” and sanded the car gently with a safe grit. The body panels have a very nice even alignment which is really fantastic for this early built fiberglass sports car. Underneath, the frame is described as solid, and the seller mentions that the front suspension and cross member have been rebuilt at some point in time. Fitted with a rare and elusive hardtop, this Corvette has a very cool appearance. A soft top frame is still in place, and the side curtain windows are with the car as well. Although a bit blasphemous, I could see someone enjoying this ‘Vette in its current condition until taking on the challenge of a full restoration. With that being said, we wouldn’t want any bare fiberglass out in the UV for too long. Is this the Corvette project of your dreams?

Comments

  1. 64 bonneville

    I don’t believe the hardtop is original to the car. Maybe after market? hopefully seller has the powerglide shifter, and carbs with intake, along with the radiator for it. Being an unfinished project, along with the 2 other (54 & 57) Corvette projects, seller has listed, not sure of the value of any of them. Reserve has not been met on any of sellers auctions, but they are worth what the market will give for them.

  2. ruxvette

    It looks like the original top, just with the bar added in the window. The nose its not original (no front emblem hole) and the rear does not have exhaust ports.
    I would not count on this thing running anytime soon, but the stovebolt sixes are easy to work on. Depending on the price it could be a nice project.

  3. Andre

    I didn’t think there was a factory hardtop for 53-55, only 56 onwards. Maybe I’m wrong.

    Having spent a fair amount of time in and around C1 Vettes I never really saw the point.

    • Bruce

      No factory hardtops till 56!

  4. jw454

    Pardon my ignorance but, where is the shifter? I know nothing about the C1 but I would think it should have one or at least a place for one.

  5. ruxvette

    Andre, you are correct…”factory” hardtops started in 1956. The others were “after market”.
    The shifter came up thru the floor on the side of the trans tunnel.

  6. Moxman

    Did I see what I think I saw? The engine in this Vette looks like it’s a 235 with a single downdraft carburetor intake manifold. If that’s the case, this car will be difficult to put back in original condition. If the side draft carbs, manifold and air cleaners are missing, they would probably be almost impossible to source. I also noticed that there are no photos of the intake/exhaust side of the motor…probably for a reason? My hunch is that this car had an exhaust manifold(s) specific to the Corvette? Another cause for concern. What say the Corvette experts?

  7. 86 Vette Convertible

    I just recently had a chance to look over a 54 one of the car club members has. It’s not original but the important items are. The powerglide shifter is on the drivers side of the trans hump and I think should be visible at least from the passenger side shot. Agree the engine looks wrong in color, carbs and general dimensions. The shot over the top of it to the left side where it looks like you can see an oil filter, I believe you should be able to see the triple carbs in that picture if they exist. I also am unsure on the applicability of a hard top. I think they had a soft top with side curtains in it but that’s not a guaranteed fact.
    There are a number of little things that just don’t look right to me on it but I could be wrong.

  8. ruxvette

    I agree on the engine…it’s probly just an old 235. A lot of important underhood stuff is missing. Hardtops were a dealer installed aftermarket addition.

  9. Dolphin Member

    Moxman is right I think. There are 4 photos of the plug side of the engine, and only 1 partial shot of the intake/exhaust side, but it doesn’t show the manifolds, probably because it’s missing the triple side draft carb setup.

    Probably just a regular Blue Flame six, like ruxvette says.

    Are there matching-numbers engines for these early cars?

    A listing like this means I would never trust anything this seller says….unless he adds a clear shot of the left side of the engine with the original triple carb setup mounted like it should be.

  10. Bob

    Saw this one at Bonneville last year. I liked it just the way it was.

  11. John

    I could be wrong, but weren’tmost of The C1 Corvettes fitted with radiators at the factory? This one appears to be the elusive “air-cooled” edition. That’s concerning given that the whole front bulkhead that held the radiator is also missing. You can see the backside of the grille. But then in other photos, it’s all there again. It’s likely just being kept in the box with the manifold, carbs, shifter, and exhaust ports. They will be sold separately, of course. I think this may be a nice try at staging a whole bunch of parts for a photo-op. Caveat emptor.

    • Greg Member

      I think you’re right John. And nothing ticks me off more than when they take original, necessary parts off the car and try to sell them to you separately!

  12. Miguel

    The owner of the Chevy dealer I worked for bought one of these.

    I went out to get it with the service manager.

    I was standing in the showroom looking at the car and I said out loud that something didn’t look right, it had no door handles.

    At that same moment the service manager walked passed me and said, it has no windows either.

    I said “That’s it”.

    I thought it was funny.

  13. Sal Monelli

    1954 Corvettes are bringing $50-60K for pedestrian examples ….. this car needs close to that in restoration costs….Just go buy one and forget this nightmare!!

  14. Glen

    I don’t know what the blue and orange “thing” is under the hood, but I see what appears to be a single carb to the left of it. It’s strange to have multiple shots of one side and one poor shot of the other. I, also, wonder where the shifter is.

    • Bob

      Glen, I think the blue and orange thing is the oil filter. I would think one could find aftermarket 3 carb manifolds, not necessarily stock.

      • glen

        thanks!

  15. MARK BOYCE

    Here is a shot of my 54 back in the day, no on hardtop, yes on factory split twin exhaust manifolds :)

    Like 1
  16. Bob

    One could advertise this as a “split window” coupe!

  17. Bob

    About 25 years ago there was a 54 advertised in a classified paper in Los Angeles for $7,000 on a Thursday. I called the number and a woman answered. She gave me a number and said to call it on Friday at noon.

    I had the money. I fantasized getting it. I could keep it. I could take it to the Pomona swap meet that Sunday and sell it for double the $7,000. I could swap it for a 55 with a V8, which I’ve always wanted.

    At noon on Friday I had a check with me and I called the number and a man answered.

    I told him I’d like to see it. He said “Before I let you see it, what’s the most you’d be willing to pay for it?”

    I said “Well, let’s see, you’re asking $7,000, so I guess the most I’d be willing to pay is …….(long pause) $7,000.” He then informed me that he was getting divorced and he listed it at $7,000 so his wife would think he’s selling it for $7,000, but actually he wanted $17,000.

    I said thank you and called the first number. I assumed that was his soon to be ex and informed her of the real price.

  18. luc

    I am looking for a 1969 Dodge Charger in ok condition

  19. chevybill

    In all probability, that is not the original motor, if I recall correctly, blue flame valve covers were center bolt. The interior should not be black. No visible shifter probably means no transmission. The front cap is missing the center emblem and the mounting holes are missing as well. As with any car over 50 years old, it has a very long story that could be told. However, if a 54 vette is on your to do list this is a starting point.

  20. Rex Kahrs Member

    I know nothing about Corvettes, but the backside of that engine sure looks close to the firewall.

  21. terry

    So many things don’t jive here. I believe that this car took a hit to the front. look at the hood, you can see the junk yard writing on it. the front panel appears to have been cobbled on. This also explains why the front susp. has been repaired. there are no door handles either inside or outside. The rear exhust holes look to be filled in. Look close on the left side. Not even smooth where the exhust port should be. The big one to me is the VIN plate. I don’t think Corvette ever used phillips head screws to hold the plate on. I have never had a C1, but I’ve had 5 others, Currently a C5. The engine appears to be mid-60’s truck or Camero which just does not fit. How do you put a rad. in there?

    • Bob

      Terry,

      “there are no door handles either inside or outside.”

      the 53-54-55 had no exterior door handles. I believe I see the inside left door handle in the interior photo, just to the left of the steering wheel.

  22. ruxvette

    I’ve seen vin tags screwed (like my ’59) and pop riveted (like my ’62) and never did figure out why. If the underhood looked like this it would be real tempting, even with the bunged up body.

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