The first Corvette was built on June 30th, 1953. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe '54 'Vette is substantially the same as that car, but will its price have you first in line with your checkbook?
Yesterday's Niss…, er Dodge…. uh, Ford Falconstein was perhaps the result of someone being in the possession of more unrelated parts than common sense, but even its seemingly rockbottom price couldn't overcome the fact that you'd have to keep multiple Rock Auto windows open just to maintain it. That and its need for a new Torqueflite doomed it to fall in a 63% Crack Pipe loss.
You know yesterday's car was so weird, so incomprehensibly conceived, that I think today we're just going to need to go with something ostensibly stock and universally beloved, you know sort of as a palate cleanser. What exactly would that be? Oh I don't know, maybe something like this 1954 Chevrolet Corvette.
Do you realize that the Corvette nameplate is nearing retirement age? Fortunately here in America - where the Corvette serves as our single major producer-made sports car - no one can afford to retire anymore. That means you don't have to get your panties in a bunch over the marque suddenly packing up and moving to Florida so it can have dinner at 4:30 and bitch about Obama.
Back when retirement actually was a working man's (and women's) goal, this Corvette slid its way off the St. Louis production line. The previous year, Corvette production was limited to 300, largely hand-built cars, all assembled in a make-shift factory in dreary old Flint Michigan. Those cars were all identically Polo White with red interiors and black canvas tops, and were powered by a 150-bhp version of the OHV Blue Flame straight six.
After the move to St Louis in1954, the sophomore Corvette's production numbers increased ten-fold, but the car itself didn't alter all that much. There was still the triple Carter carb-equipped six, although mid-way through the model year a more aggressive cam was introduced to bump output by 5 ponies.
Unfortunately, a good number of those were lost to the early Corvette's biggest letdown, its 2-speed Powerglide transmission. That box had ratios wider than the Grand Canyon, and relegated the car to boulevard cruiser status rather than of righteous sports car.
This '54 'Vette still has the fun-sapping slusher, along with the sedan-sourced four-wheel drum brakes that were the only clampers made available that year. It's also in Polo White, just like all the previous year's cars, although its top is the '54-standard beige. Mmmm, beige.
According to the ad, this particular Corvette was lady-owned for more than 50 years and features two RARE options. Strangely enough, the ad does not explain just what those options are. Regardless, it looks to be in excellent shape and in possession of all its necessary trim.
Is it all original? Well, the it's impossible to tell if the car still has the factory waves in its fiberglass body, but having those smoothed out during restoration was a common occurrence and one that would get points taken off at a concours-level event today. There is the issue of the tri-corner knobs on the tops of the air cleaners, which are not correct. That's an easy fix however, although the aftermarket radio in the dash may be a bit more of a hassle to change for the correct AM unit.
But would you even want to make such changes? Or, would you rather just enjoy this old Corvette for what it is, an excellent example of the marque, from before Chevy even knew what to do with it? Well, at $75,000 that'd be a very important decision to make. The ad claims a certified appraisal pegging its value at $27,000 higher, but I don't know about that as there currently are similar cars on the market for way less - and way more.
What's your take on this paleo-Vette for $75,000? Does that price make this 'Vette a value? Or, is that too much cash for this classic Chevy?
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