Sweet Survivor: 1954 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

Against all expectations, sales figures for the 1954 Corvette were nowhere near what Chevrolet had hoped. While they were prepared to sell 10,000 cars, only 3,640 cars were built. This made 1954 the second worst year of Corvette sales (after the 300 that sold in 1953) and also makes the 1954 model one of the rarest regular production models to find their way onto the market today. This 1954 Corvette is a nice survivor, and could easily be restored to pristine condition, or given a bit of a tidy up and be driven as it is.  Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, you will find the Corvette listed for sale here on eBay. At the time of writing, some pretty spirited bidding has pushed the price along to $41,300, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The Polo White paint on the Corvette doesn’t look too bad. It does have a few very minor marks and chips, but it really is in good “survivor” condition. The owner provides a fantastic catalog of clear photos of the car, and peering around underneath the car returns plenty of positive news. It looks really solid, with no sign of any rust or rot. One thing that I did notice is that the passenger door alignment is out a bit at the bottom, and the paint there doesn’t seem to quite be a match to the rest of the car, so that might be worth having a bit of a look at.

As far as paint and trim choices were concerned, in 1954 you had a choice of four paint colors and two interior trim colors. The word “choice” is a bit misleading when talking about interior trim because if you ordered a Corvette in Polo White, Sportsman Red, or Black, the interior trim was red. The only deviation was if you ordered Pennant Blue paint, and with that, the interior was trimmed in beige. Being Polo White, this Corvette has a red interior. The general condition of the interior is quite reasonable for a 65-year-old survivor. There is a pretty substantial tear in the driver’s seat that would necessitate a new cover, and there are signs that the passenger seat is preparing to follow suit. If you were to undertake a full restoration there would certainly be some work required to bring the interior back to an immaculate state. However, if you want to use the car as a true survivor, then the interior is complete and is well up to that task.

The owner of the Corvette says that the engine is original, but doesn’t tell us whether the rest of the drive-train is. The engine is the 235ci “Blue Flame” straight-six, which is backed by a 2-speed Powerglide transmission. Those people who were hoping for a V8 engine in a Corvette were going to have to wait until the 1955 model year because this was the only configuration available when the car was new. The owner says that the engine runs, but doesn’t mention how the car drives. It appears that the owner does have the original air cleaners for the car, along with some other original parts.

Decisions, decisions. The temptation would certainly be there for the next owner of this Corvette to undertake a full restoration, and the result could be one stunning vehicle. There will be others who would want to protect the car’s originality and keep it as an original survivor. If you owned this Corvette, which option would you choose?

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Comments

  1. CapNemo

    I’d fix only what’s absolutely necessary, and leave it as original as possible. Let the car tell it’s story.

  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    That is the one that started me loving Corvettes. As a young kid I first saw this model and fell immediately in love with it. My folks had just bought a 54 Chevy 110 and I tried to tell Dad to trade it for ‘one of those’, When Dad mentioned there were 4 in the family I was ready. He and Mom could sit in the seats, I could sit between the seats and strap my brother to the body like I’d seen some deer hunters had done. You know what Dad said.
    I’ve seen an original condition one along with one turned into a restomod. I’d keep this one original and drive it when I could. From what I’ve seen and heard, the top and side windows are the hardest things to find for this one. In fact the one restomoded the owner had side windows custom built (at a pretty price he said). From the looks, the main thing here is the interior and the air cleaners need to be dealt with. The rest is do just what needs to be done to make it a dependable driver then drive it.
    It’s beautiful and I’d leave it pretty much as it is.

  3. Andre

    Just a quick note that ‘54 is the 4th lowest production year. 1955 (700) and 1956 34xx) has lower production numbers.

    Regardless, this is a nice car. Hopefully finds a good home.

  4. BlondeUXB Member

    1955 had a production output of 500 units / available with a straight 6 or V8.
    ‘55 represented the turning point for the model…

    • gbvette62

      There were 700 55’s built, not 500, 7 of which were 6 cylinders. The rest were 265 V8’s, most with Powerglides, though some 3 speeds were built late in the year.

      This car does appear to be a fairly original 54, though you never really know until you see them in person. It may be missing some pretty expensive parts though, including the ignition shielding and the manifold that supports the air cleaners. I also don’t see any sign or mention of side curtains, their bag, or a convertible top?

      There may have “only” been 3640 54’s built, but it seems a heck of a lot of them have survived. You can buy a nice 54 in the $60K to $70K range. 53’s and 55’s are much rarer than 54’s, and command a lot more money.

      • BlondeUXB Member

        Thanks. I stand corrected. My count came from a quick Google search. I did know that 1955 was a very low production year nearly ending the program…

  5. Del

    Nada shows 59 low and 99 grand mid and top of line 129 grand.

    This car is very nice.

    Buyers gonna have to do way better to get this one

  6. Healeymonster

    I know people want to keep these original, but my experiance with these tells me to either leave it in a museum or restomod it to make it driveable. The two main factors were horrible brakes and worse steering!. It makes them completely unenjoyable to drive IMHO. I have done several conversions for people who like to drive their cars without fear of unexpected lane changes and white knuckle cornering!

  7. bobhess Member

    Been some hits on the six cylinder being under powered but if I remember right there were a ton of early stock cars using the GMC version of the engine and cleaning house on the V8s of the era. There is all sorts of speed equipment available for the six that could be applied without anyone knowing about it. Now the brakes are another story… Still neat looking cars.

  8. TimM

    Automatic with a six cylinder, nice clean car but booooooring!!!

  9. anthony a forti

    This VIN is 4573 which is the 67th from the last car made in 1954

  10. charlie

    I owned one in the late ’60’s. The steering wandered, but no worse than any other pre-rack and pinon car. It wanted to go straight, not around corners, was very front heavy, the shorter V8 put the center of gravity further back in the car and helped a lot. Brakes were sufficient. 3 Carter side draft carbs leaked, no fires though. I had all the things, including the Plexiglas side curtains which were very scratched and hard to see through, especially at night. Mine had a dent in the X frame, lots of crazed fiberglass on the body, and lots of little abrasions. Even with big snow tires it was a terrible winter car, whereas my mother’s ’60 Corvair was a gem in all respects by comparison. And it was so stealable, even at age 15, let alone age 65, that I could not park it in the city, for fear of losing parts, or, the whole thing. So I had a ’56 Chevy, 4 door sedan, which nobody would steal; for driving to Manhattan, or leaving at the train station to take the train into the city.

  11. Matbo

    Think that, at the time, cars with side curtains were roadsters – cars with roll up windows were convertibles or drop head coupes

  12. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended: May 07, 2019 , 7:13PM
    Winning bid:US $42,499.00
    [ 47 bids ]

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