In the second year of Corvette production only minor updates were made to make it more usable. Although these upgrades were modest, the 1953 version, with a limited production of 300, is still much more desirable.
One external difference that separated the 1954 model was its longer exhaust tips, meant to reverse the effects of exhaust sucking back into the car. This was only really cured in the 1955 when the exhaust was rerouted completely underneath the bodywork.
Where the 1953 model could only be ordered with a white body and red interior, 1954 opened up to new colors such as Pennant Blue and Sportsman Red but 80% were still ordered in Polo White. Black was the rarest of the official colors and was only used on four to six copies.
Inside, the ’54 was slightly upgraded to include a single hood latch and relocated choke. The removable side curtains were also matched to the interior color.
Under the hood, an upgraded cam gave the ‘Blue Flame’ inline-6 an extra five horsepower up to 155 bhp. Furthermore a new rocker arm cover was fitted which on later cars was chromed.
Compared to the 300 ’53 models, 3,640 1954 Corvettes were produced at a price of $2,774 USD. This model was replaced by the V8 model of 1955.
The international racing debut of the Corvette came in 1954 when Bill von Esser and Ernest Pultz ran that year’s running of the Carrera Panamericana in the 1954 model. Unfortunately the engine threw a rod in the first leg of the race.1
Sources & Further Reading
1.Friedman Dave. Corvette Racing Thunder. Gullstrand Motor Productions: 2003.
1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster The ‘Entombed’ Corvette E54S001147 – The famous “Entombed” Corvette. Known as the oldest, lowest-mile unrestored Corvette in the world. 2,331 original miles, a true time capsule. Original Blue Flame Six engine with side draft Carter carburetors. Purchased new by Richard Sampson and driven until 1959. Buried alive in 1959 as directed by its original owner. Richard was the owner of a chain of stores and gave orders for the car to be entombed in his basement office, not to be removed until the year 2000. In 1982 the building was purchased and the new owner said the car had to leave by 1986. Sampson’s daughter Cynthia then kept the car in her living room for the next ten years when purchased by a collector. Made famous by Ken Gross in Special Interest Autos Magazine. Bloomington Gold Special Collection in 1996. A true guideline for 1954 Corvettes. Auction Source: Kissimmee 2014, #WhereTheCarsAre by Mecum
1954 Chevrolet Corvette – sold for $68,750 – This particular ’54 Corvette is presented in Pennant Blue with a beige vinyl interior. It remains almost completely original other than its beige top, which was replaced in 2008. Showing less than 40,000 miles, we are told this early Corvette runs remarkably well and continues to start easily. The car has been very well preserved as the owner noted that it spent 35 years in dry storage in California. There are limited signs of aging visible in the paint and engine compartment along with some moderate pitting in the brightwork. First generation Corvettes are certainly desirable but the offering of such an original example is certainly a special opportunity. Auction Source: 2011 St. John’s Auction by RM
1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster – sold for $52,250 – This Sportsman Red 1954 Corvette Roadster sports a distinctive “Bubble Top,” the rarest and most unique aftermarket accessory ever offered for the first-generation Corvette. Model Builders of Chicago produced just 25 “Bubble Tops” in 1954, originally priced at $350, or nearly 10 percent of the cost of a brand-new Corvette. At present, it is believed that only two of these tops still exist. While the “Bubble Top” does have a dogleg crack at the left-rear quarter, the Corvette nonetheless represents an older yet very presentable “body-off-frame” restoration overall. Auction Source: 2011 Automobiles of Arizona by RM Auctions
1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster E54S004610 – sold for $77,000 – This Corvette is one of just 3,640 cars built. A matching numbers example with only about 22,000 indicated miles, it benefits from an older, concours-quality body-off restoration that resulted in an impressive string of honors including AACA Junior, Senior, Preservation and Grand National awards from 1987 and 1988. In 2005, the car was also honored with NCRS Top Flight status. Displaying an age-appropriate patina, with some rub-through areas on the rear deck lid, the Corvette is finished in the classic combination of Polo White with a Sportsman Red interior and a beige soft top. Offered complete with side curtains, this multiple award winner will capably anchor any Corvette collection as a highly collectible first-series example of “America’s Sports Car.” Auction Source: 2010 Vintage Cars of Meadow Book by RM Auctions
1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster – sold for $51,700 – This matching-numbers 1954 Corvette is finished in the classic combination of Polo White with sportsman red interior and a beige cloth top. An all original example, this car has never been fully restored and has been carefully maintained in the collection of its current owner. In fact, it remained in its previous ownership for 18 years! Auction Source: 2009 Meadow Brook Concours
1954 Chevrolet Corvette – sold for $60,500 Period correct and presented just as it was the day it left the St. Louis, Missouri Corvette assembly plant, this Corvette is offered complete with a large album of photographs documenting the restoration process. It remains outstanding throughout and, with just 200 miles since completing its restoration, would be welcomed at the most respected show events. Auction Source: 2009 Automobiles of Amelia Island RM Auction