Lot 342
1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster
US$ 70,000 - 90,000
£42,000 - 54,000
Lot Details
1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster
As early as 1950, Harley Earl, GM's legendary Vice-President of Styling, was
sensing there could be a market for a quasi-sports car that would compete with European designs in appearance, while offering the reliability and simplicity of an American powertrain—all at an affordable price. By 1951, he had established a small and secret studio where he and a carefully chosen group of designers could pursue his vision.

At first, a conventional steel body was planned, but the low production volume
anticipated eventually caused Earl to favor molding the new car's body in fiberglass, a then-new lightweight material. A bonus was that molded fiberglass was well suited to producing the unusually smooth and rounded contours of the new car.

Earl's sport roadster, which had been named the Corvette, debuted as a "dream
car" at the 1953 General Motors Motorama in late 1952. GM researchers surveyed show goers, asking them what they thought of the car. The responses were overwhelmingly positive: they loved the car. Following the show, GM made it known that a production version of the Corvette showcar would be built. This announcement created much anticipation, as a GM concept car had never before been put into production.

The first 300 Corvettes were completed in Flint, Michigan before the end of 1953. Production was then transferred to St. Louis, Missouri, where assembly of 1954 Corvettes began shortly after the New Year's holiday. A total of 3,625 1954 Corvettes would be produced.

The first generation Corvette was powered by an overhead-valve 235.5cid Chevrolet Blue Flame Six, equipped for its special application with three side-draft carburetors, solid lifters and dual exhausts, all of which helped push the horsepower rating to 150. A 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission was a "required option, " baked into the car's $3,440 base price. Even with the automatic transmission, the Corvette's 0-60 time of around 11 seconds was quite respectable in 1954. The car also cornered flat and handled well, according to road tests of the period...although not a "true" sports car, it was fun to drive.

This fine '54 'Vette has been the recipient of a exceptionally high standard restoration to correct factory specifications and more recently was part of an impressive Corvette collection where it received routine maintenance and was always kept in show condition. In the archetypal Corvette livery of Polo white and with a deep red leather interior, from its whitewall tires to its classic fencing mask headlights grilles this is an textbook example of this iconic model.

First generation Corvettes have enjoyed renewed collector interest in recent years, as the smooth and clean lines of the Harley Earl-era styling continues to gain new admirers. This well-restored car presents an exceptional opportunity to acquire one of Harley Earl's most significant designs.

Saleroom notices

  • The chassis number of this vehicle is: E545002776
Lot symbols