THROWBACK: Entombed 1954 Chevrolet Corvette

entombed-1954-corvette-freed

UPDATE – As we continue to celebrate 10 years of Barn Finds, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of our favorite finds over the years! Being a great find is always just about being a desirable car, although that helps, sometimes it’s about the circumstances of the find. And you really can’t beat the story behind this Corvette! So, be sure to read (or reread) this incredible story.

FROM 12/18/2012 – We have heard incredible stories of cars being hidden in secret rooms or behind false walls, but never have we heard of a story as interesting and incredible as the one behind this 1954 Corvette. According to Hemmings Blog, it was entombed in one of the original owner’s grocery stores and eventually made its way into his daughter’s living room. The car was sealed away for nearly 27 years and then kept in storage ever since. In a month it will hit the auction block at Mecum’s upcoming Kissimmee sale.

entombed-1954-corvette-through-porthole

Apparently, the original owner was a bit eccentric and thought it would be a good idea to have the car entombed in his store, with nothing more than a porthole to view it from. Sadly the tomb wasn’t well ventilated and moisture caused the paint to blister.

entombed-corvette

His daughter inherited the car after his death and eventually had the wall torn down and the car pulled free. He had originally put in his will that the car was to stay entombed until the year 2000, but thankfully he had that part of his will voided.

entombed-1954-corvette-in-the-livingroom

After freeing it from its grocery store tomb in 1986, it made its way into the daughter’s living room. In 1996 she sold it to ProTeam Corvette, which has kept it in its original condition. This Corvette has been preserved exceptionally well and is the oldest lowest-mile unrestored Corvette out there.

entombed-1954-corvette-engine

The first two years of Corvette production was a rough period, as the car didn’t quite fit into any specific market. They were powered by a somewhat sedate inline-six, yet had the looks of a European sports car. The 235 cui Blue Flame six-cylinder was rated at 150 hp and was mated to a two-speed Powerglide transmission, which didn’t exactly give the car blistering performance. As with the rest of this car, the engine is original and in working order.

entombed-1954-corvette-interior

The interior is in exceptional condition after all these years and almost looks like new. This car only had 2,300 miles on it when it was bricked into the grocery store. It’s too bad that the room didn’t have some type of environmental control, as it would probably be in perfect condition today if moisture hadn’t gotten to it.

entombed-1954-corvette-freed-rear-corner

It is incredible to think that someone went to the trouble of sealing this car up, but they must have known that someday it would be highly collectible. If you’re in the Kissimmee, Florida area from January 18th-27th, we recommend that you stop by the auction and see this Corvette in person before its next owner has a chance to move it back into storage.

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Comments

  1. matt g

    This is absolutely amazing. Wish there were more of these hidden gems out there. But then again, maybe in just not looking hard enough! Thanks for sharing!

    Like 2
    • jim

      Some years back there was a Corvette inside a filling station/convenience store
      in Stuarts Draft VA. I have no idea if it’s still there.

      Like 1
    • Luke Fitzgerald

      Look at the expression on the little girls face – “my families crazy”

      Like 8
  2. Roger D. O'Bier

    Wow that is one great find That was awesome that she kept it so long after her dad died.Dont think my kids will keep my 67 SS Chevelle Conv .that long after im gone allthough ive had it for 38 years now. lol

    Like 1
  3. Spicer

    I saw this car through the porthole in 1978. Had a female friend that worked there… I never forgot it. Amazing and sad at the same time.

    Like 5
  4. paul

    Yes I remember the story when they were pulling it out of the store. Amazing story for sure.

  5. jerry

    I’d call it a “restore at your leisure” find.

    • Jack Mitchell

      And that would depend on how old you are !!!!

      Like 2
  6. Jewel or Jalopy

    Wow, that’s a crazy story. I cant wait to see what it sells for. Gotta love eccentric guys like this for providing us with these unrestored gems, and crazy stories.

    Love that his daughter stored it in her living room. In our house that’s not the safest spot.

  7. barry

    wow how cool is this!!

  8. Dolphin Member

    How many of us have thought of having our favorite vintage car inside the house, maybe even in the living room as a centerpiece? If you haven’t, you are not a certified car nut. Me, I am definitely certified, but the closest I have come is to have my cars in a garage under the house. The amazing thing about this story is that it was the daughter, not the father, who had the Vette in the living room. Good for her.

    These early Vettes looked great when they first came out, and showed that The General wasn’t as stodgy as people thought. These looked like something from the future, and the GM Futurama (yep, ‘Futurama’) shows played them up big, to draw people in so they would feel good about buying a ’53 or ’54 Chevy ‘stovebolt’ six sedan for the family.

    I don’t know how many people knew how similar their Chevy sedan was to that great looking Vette, but it was. It had almost the same frame and the same drivetrain, except for the 3 sidedraft carbs and 15 more horsepower. Unfortunately, the Vette’s performance didn’t measure up to its looks, but in a couple of years The General did what any true rodder would do: take out that lazy Stovebolt Six and stick in a SBC….actually, the first of a very long line of SBCs that was built for almost half a century.

    And that was the start of the solution to a lot of car performance problems—just stick in a SBC and you’re good to go.

    Like 1
  9. Ben Burks

    $ 75,000.

  10. mac

    I remember reading that Terry had to pay an unheard of price at the time to get the daughter to sell it. Amazing discipline on his part to hold it this long. I’m sure he’ll turn a nice profit now with the survivor vette craze going on.

  11. Jeff

    ProTeam probably has a “very high” reserve on this, I can’t think of a better “drawing card” to potential corvette loving customers than this car. There probably just testing the waters and getting free publicity out of it but then as we know everything has a price.

    Like 1
  12. BillR

    It will go for around $ 100,000.

    • Ray L

      I guess this will go for $150k. Because of the. Mileage … Can’t wait to see this on Mecum.

  13. FRED

    MY FAMILY DIDN’T EVEN WAIT TIL I WAS DEAD. AFTER SUFFERING TWO STROKES MY EVIL NOT SOON ENOUGH EX HAD ME SHIPPED TO A LONG TERM REHAB CENTER 4HRS FROM HOME.SHE THEN SOLD MY FULLY RESTORED 83 EL-CAMINO AND MY ALMOST DONE 74 CORVETTE TO PAY THE MONTHS RENT SHE WAS BEHIND.SHE KNOWS SHE HAD NO BUSINESS SELLING THEM AS I PURCHASED THEM AND MY PRIZE WINNING SILVERADO PU WITH MONEY I GOT FROM AN ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT IN WHICH SHE GOT HER OWN SETTLEMENT.TRYING TO GET THEM BACK IS PROVING TO BE HARDER THAN I THOUGHT.SO IF ANY OF YOU CAR GUYS KNOW A LAWYER THAT DOES PRO BONO WORK OR TAKES PAYMENTS PLEASE CONTACT ME.A FELLOW CAR NUT.. THANKS

    Like 1
    • Don Sicura

      Fred, it would be harder to find a Pro Bono lawyer than it would be to get your money back from your EX! Most likely an impossible undertaking either way.

      Like 3
    • Don Eladio

      But, you loved her at one time…and enough to marry her. You were aware then that everything becomes “marital property” at that point. At least they weren’t super-valuable cars.

      Like 1
  14. nb

    A wise man once said believe nothing of what you hear and only 1/2 of what you see. The walled in window photo is suspicious but the living room photo……Santa, no doubt, brought it down the chimney with him.

    Like 1
    • paul

      It is a real story & I first read about this story in the news paper back in the late 90’s or 2000 the car was walled in to the family’s grocery store & when they finally decided to sell the property off they removed the walls, I do remember seeing the walls torn away with the car sitting inside.

      • paul

        Time warp, I just read it was in the 80’s, time fly’s when your having fun, but at any rate I do remember reading about this car.

    • Tante

      Happened in Brunswick, Maine; I grew up there and remember hearing the stories of the walled in car and remembered the articles when it was removed. It’s real!

  15. Bob

    This Vette is a VERY rare find! Reminds of my uncle, who many years ago had hidden away his 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake with only 1274 miles on the odometer …….but he forgot where he put it. ( relax… I’m just kidding…)

  16. Wc

    More pics of the storage and moving it into the daughters house here. For the cynics.

    • Cattoo Cattoo Member

      Page not found or moved. – Hemmings.

  17. Gnrdude

    WEIRD>>>> people do the craziest things.

  18. Mark

    I remember hearing about a Corvette like this just as Paul has stated a few comments ago back in the late eighties/ early nineties! very nice find since I also like all older Chevys before 1980!!

  19. Rancho Bella

    The lovers can write all the want……….it still doesn’t change the fact the steering wheel is pushing down on your thighs and in your chest. Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the lovers because I think these are a delight to look at……….as long as someone else owns it.

    As for the lockup and eventual prison break…………people are so stinkin’ strange.

  20. Jeremiah Birnbaum

    I remember reading about this Vette the week after it was discovered…funnily enough, in my hometown’s local grocery store (which closed that same year), in a local paper as a human interest story. For some reason I’d been thinking about it around Thanksgiving, and was Googling to see if there’d been any updates/stories since ’85-’86. Couldn’t find any. So Barn Finds, thanks for making my holiday wish come true!

    PS…man, that’s one crazy dogleg!!!

  21. Russ

    What an nostalgic post for me! First, my hometown of Brunswick, Maine, is where the car was entombed. It was a Sampson’s supermarket at the time. Second, my office was directly above the tomb of the Corvette. Third, I owned a Corvette at the time, and it is that fact that led a warehouse employee to ask me if I realized what was under me in the store (a Service Merchandise store). Prior to that mention, either everyone figured I knew about it, and didn’t mention it, or just did not find it all that amazing. Which it was. Fourth, I am the photographer that took the black and white images, for a story run around that time in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

    Like 7
  22. Paul

    Yup, it’s for real alright.

    I was there when he walled it up.

  23. Howie

    I remember going to Bloomington Gold about 1996 and seeing this vet on a special display. I thought it was junk. A conversation piece only. The paint was peeling, the chrome was paper thin and the rest was rusty. What a waste. Then, Mecum Kissimmee 2015 I believe, I see it again and thought it sold for about $125k! Though totally misrepresented, but with same story, the vet was sporting “USED” chrome and some paintwork. Wonder what it’s going to look like now.

  24. Murray

    That was Barrett Jackson in Scottsdale Az that it ran through. What a amazing car. Beautiful and serine at the same time. I believe it was a no sale but went up to $125k. It was expected to way more and talking to the current owner at the time he was thinking it would do near the $200k mark.

  25. Copocamaro

    This car was owned by a guy in SW Missouri for several years, I saw the car in person, the bubbling was bad

    Like 3
  26. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    I remember hearing about this one way back when it was still “entombed”. It was the first time I had ever heard of anyone doing anything like that to a car.

    Like 1
  27. Jcs

    150 HP was a fairly strong number out of a valve in head straight six in 1954, especially when you consider the price point.

    Like 2
  28. Jon Lee

    This Corvette now has a permanent home at the National Corvette Museum.

    Like 3
  29. Howard A Member

    I hardly recognize any of the names from back then.

    Like 2

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