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1954 Corvette

When the going gets tough…

1954 was a very rough year for the Chevrolet Corvette. The biggest problem was that the latest GM sports car suffered from an identity crisis that could not be solved on any psychiatrist's couch.

The Corvette featured removable plastic side curtains for windows and a two speed automatic transmission. The plastic side curtains were popular on foreign sports cars at the time such as MGs. But the sports cars could boast about their four speed manual transmissions, not two speed automatics which were appropriate for boulevard cruising, not performance. The Corvette appealed to neither crowd.

The asking price for a 1954 Corvette was also an issue. It cost $2,774.00 without options, more than a Cadillac which featured a V8 engine and a top that did not leak. On the sports car side there was the Jaguar which also cost less than the Corvette AND featured a sophisticated, more powerful engine along with a genuine four speed transmission.

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1954 Corvette
So was the Corvette a boulevard cruiser (above) or (below left) an all out sports cars destined for the race track? Consumers could not decide and stayed away in droves. Below right: the two speed automatic transmission with its funky shifter (a manual would not be available until 1955) did not help the situation.
1954 Corvette Race Car 1954 Corvette two speed automatic transmission

1954 Corvette
Just when you think things couldn't get worse, they did. For 1954 GM had an all new just-for-Corvette assembly plant built in St. Louis which was equipped to produce 10,000 Corvettes a year. The General (Motors) cranked out 3,640 1954 Corvettes, a full one-third of which were unsold at the end of the model year. According to Corvette legend, dealers were forced to sell many for below their cost, which is something they liken to cutting off their fingers.
1954 Corvette, Pennant Blue Chevrolet attempted to widen the appeal of the Corvette with new colors including Pennant Blue (left) and Guardsman Red although the majority were still Polo White. A few Black cars were also built. All of the soft tops were beige and the Pennant Blue offered a beige interior. The other interiors were red. In the middle of the 1954 model a more aggressive camshaft boosted the horsepower from 150 hp to 155 hp.
1954 Chevrolet Corvette

1954 Corvette For Sale

1954 White Corvette
Price: $0 obo
Exterior: White
Interior: Red
Miles: 500
Location: Martinsburg

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1954 White Corvette Convertible Blue Flame Six, powerglide, numbers match. Polo White paint with Sportsman Red interior (more)

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1954 Chevrolet Corvette

Collector Value

The 1954 Corvette model year might be one that all involved would like to forget, but time has healed many of the wounds and a 1954 Corvette is treated better by the marketplace today. The distinctive styling still is greeted with smiles and the various ills that afflicted the car when it was new now seem not to be a big deal. Limiting the attraction to collectors is the six cylinder engine; Corvette people like ground pounding V8s. Of the three model years with the early body style, the 1954 is the most affordable as it was the highest production volume.
1954 Corvette
Photo Courtesy GM
Note: Clicking on an image with this symbol (Boxes) will lead to a larger image.

Comments (6)

Missed opportunity
My brother has this memory . . .
In the early 60s I had a chance to buy a running and driveable’54 Corvette for $1,000.00, and didn’t do it. Why? Four reasons; It need a paint job, it had no top, it was a 6-cylinder w/ (3) 1-barrel carburetors and a 2-speed powerglide transmission and $1,000.00 was a LOT of money to me at that time. I’ve kicked myself at regular intervals over the years.
#1 - David Forcade - 02/27/2012 - 09:43
1954 Corvette
Want to buy 1954, 55, 56 or 57 Corvette less engine & transmission. Contact me @ ebrett@cox.net or 918-671-1490.
#2 - Ed Brett - 03/06/2012 - 21:44
In 1961 my husband and I had a white 1954 'vette. Memories were made with that car. Had to sell it when I got pregnant. Don't know who cried more..me or my husband!
#3 - Diane Hunnicutt - 03/11/2012 - 20:56
1973 I was a police officer in Dallas/Ft Worth, Texas area. There was a Corvette only repair shop in town. They offered me a 1953 all original (tires & wheels stored so were factory) for $10,000. Wife said no way would it ever be worth anything.
#4 - L Wallace - 07/16/2012 - 21:09
1954 corvette exhaust manifold
I am looking for a 1954 corvette factory exhaust manifold. For all 6-cylinder 235's and 261's. I am a collector. Call Terry @ (559) 269-0330
#5 - Terry E. Manson - 03/04/2013 - 13:44
I won a 54 Corvette in a pool game(8 ball).It never ran well. It needed a new engine that I couldn't afford at the time. I sold it for a very cheap price to a swindler. It may be still out there somewhere.
#6 - George - 08/07/2013 - 10:30
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All years and generations are covered, from 1953 to 2014. Over 350 photographs and detailed text are included.


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