Stationary Since ’68: 1954 Chevy Corvette

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Everyone dreams about finding a vintage muscle car in the barn, but there’s usually one aspect of this fantasy that never pans out in reality: the car is missing critical parts, and will take a lifetime to set right. Every now and again, however, a car comes along that checks every box from the dream sequence: this 1954 Chevy Corvette here on eBay has just been unearthed for the first time and retains most of its original parts and trim despite being partially de-trimmed and disassembled years ago. Bidding is up to $15,600 and the reserve is unmet. 

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The seller claims this Corvette came from the second owner, who has held onto the car since the 1960s. It’s been socked away in a barn since 1968 in Oregon, and with the owner living in Florida, he may have decided to let the car go as his interest waned. Who knows what the real story is, but I’ll bet that paint could swap a few war stories! From red to copper to blue to its original white, this Corvette has been used like an old sports car should be, and has thankfully survived largely unscathed. The factory hard top, soft top and side curtains are all included in the sale.

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The seller’s language about the engine is a touch confusing: he labels it as a “true ’55 Corvette 265 with a 55 cast glide”, but the word choice could mean it is not numbers-matching but correct for the car. It’s hard to tell, but given the selection of hot-rod parts that come with the Corvette, it is possible this ’54 was used extensively as a drag car and may not have all of its factory-correct bits still attached. Some of the aftermarket parts include a Stewart Warner gauge set and an Edelbrock Tri-Power with a progressive linkage; fortunately, the exterior appearance still appears to be stock.

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The Corvette entered storage all those years ago when the second owner went to Vietnam. It will require a fair amount of work to bring it back to showroom condition, but the years of paint work and dirty but preserved state makes it a compelling candidate for restoring mechanically and then leaving the cosmetics as-is. I know that debate rages on these pages all the time, but with so few original C1 Corvettes left, the decision to preserve with restraint versus performing a frame-off restoration will likely be a debate for the next owner. How would you handle its resurrection?

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Comments

  1. Andy

    I don’t think that engine is correct for the car. Didn’t 54’s only come with the blue flame 6?

    Like 3
    • Charles

      Correct!

      Like 1
    • Will Fox

      True. Chevy’s 265 V8 didn’t appear in Vettes until `55. Either the year is wrong and it is indeed a `55, or someone did a swap out. I’m inclined to think the latter.

      Like 1
  2. Dan

    No v-8 corvettes til 1955….and even then only like 700….so not original motor….but cool build…

  3. ronebee

    perfect to drop an early 331 cadillac motor into

  4. jimbosidecar

    Myself, I couldn’t drive such a beautiful car in that color combination.

  5. Mr. Bond

    I’d get it operating properly mechanically, then go show everyone what their car will look like if they don’t maintain it!

    Like 1
  6. Van

    I’d rather have this engine anyway. I would change the transmission. Would a 4L80 fit? I like a red interior, what are the body color options?

    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

      originals were blue or white exterior

      • DRV

        Only red interior for 53 and 54. If the stitching is white, they may be original seat covers.
        The aftermarket hardtop is worth 5k if it has all of the trim.
        I see it cosmetically done and keeping the present mechanicals. I like them rodded in the day….

      • Will Fox

        In `54, red and black were available also.

  7. Jeffro

    At first glance, I thought it had been tye-dyed. Do we classify this as “patina”?

    • Josh Staff

      I’m not sure what to call it! It’s not really patina, but it’s cool looking, whatever you call it.

      Like 1
      • Jeffro

        Bad acid trip? Lol

  8. Don

    call it CRAPTINA the new big thing

    Like 1
  9. randy W

    If I could I would give my eye teeth for this vet. Leave engine in and clean up, get all mech. working. Fiber glass is easy to sand down and repaint white, clean up red interior, and you have won expensive beautiful vette to show off and drive, drive, drive. Note, the only thing I didn’t like on the old vettes, was the large steering wheel. But I would put up with it.

  10. Matt Tritt

    Right-O about the Blue Flame 6 being the only engine supplied with these cars. Totally not a “muscle car”, unless when compared to a stock VW of the same vintage. Still, it’s pretty ugly.

  11. Roselandpete

    Personally, I never considered the 54 Vette to be a “muscle car.” Sports car, yes.

    Like 3
  12. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Didn’t this sell out of the estate car collection last month ?

  13. Texas Tea

    Really! Two owners, and has had five or six paint jobs. That’s a stretch, but whatever……….

    Like 3
    • Jon

      Yes, good point Texas Tea.. .however, strange things are possible. ..

  14. Garrin Stine

    Put a small block ford in it.

    • Jon

      LOL….Such a funny guy…

  15. J passanante

    Perfect candidate for a gasser!candy apple and slots…cars can be resurrected to anyone’s taste .restored or restomod.been a auto body tech for 30 years done them all.nice find though…..

  16. Johnni B

    Already sold for $35,000.

    Like 2
  17. AMX Brian

    Anyone remember the song “Riding with Private Malone”?

    • Don

      yes but it whas a 66 that private Malone had

  18. Jon

    nope…..

  19. jaygryph

    Since I seemingly love downvotes, I’ll put in my 2¢ and say this would look neat with the finish wet sanded smooth, left mottled, and the rest restored. One could always strip it down and refinish the body later, but in the meantime the reaction at corvette shows to see this roll up with a clearcoated color pattern like this and a tripower v8 would be pretty entertaining.

    Bet it’d be a handful to drive with that setup.

    Like 1
  20. Cheryl

    My late husband would have loved to get his hands on that baby. Meanwhile I have his 79 stingray for sale and just had it saftied and I’m just waiting for the right buyer to care for it like he did.

  21. Hide Behind

    Talk about over carbing,, I know progressive linkage and cam, a 265, unless some cubes were bored out and valves, these first few years were never true sports cars by an means.
    Not much $ room left if work done and non original drive train.

  22. Hide Behind

    That V8 will be overly carbed, a very common thing done by early rodders, and keeping the progressive linkage just right takes a darn good carb man.
    Those early small journal 8 while comparatively high revers, let’s say quick revers, compared to other firms 8, meant strain on lower end.
    Finding original bodied from long term
    storage without decaying warping and crazing of body, especially hood is rare.
    And while fiberglass has its easily, elbowed greased, properties it is not an easy job in order to get perfectly smooth panels well enough to not show up with today’s newer paint formuas.
    Plunking in newer 8 with either a 5 spd or overdrive auto is easy swap.
    These early vettes were not canyon carvers by any means, think like easy cruisers with burst of streight line power and yup needed those big steering wheel aid.
    Seems it sold for what today passes as normal cost, and as restored as close to original, correct period engine, will always be a high end collectible.
    What the he’ll is it today with those who like to drive what appears to be junker autos?
    In my youth we always attempted, no matter the vehicle, to present our rigs in best shape possible.
    A beater was thought of as an auto whose driver was either a crudball lowlife, or on its way to being refurbished as presentable as drivers money allowed.
    Days when we personally use to hand wash and polish our rigs.
    Hope someone brings this back into same appreciation in eyes of beholders as when first hitting road.

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