NEW! Award 123: 1954 Chevrolet C1 Corvette #43 – NOW $110,000

by | May 2024 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, NEW Award, Sports Car Saturday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

May 15, 2024 Update – the seller of this 1954 Corvette we’ve been tracking the sale of since early April replaced their second Craigslist ad (that we are aware of) with a fresh listing.  While the pictures and description carry over, the seller reduced their asking price by another fifteen large to land at $110,000. That’s a $40,000 drop from their original ask of $150,000.

April 16, 2024 Update – The seller replaced the first Craigslist ad we are aware of with a fresh listing. While the pictures and description carried over into the new listing, the seller elected to reduced their asking price from $150,000 to $125,000.

If automotive history proves anything, it’s that automakers struggle to translate stunning show cars into actual production cars.  Many real world constraints conspire to force designers and engineers to soften the design for final production.  There are notable exceptions, however, where the production car was a very close representation of the show car on which it was based.  A modern example of this was the original Dodge Viper RT/10 introduced at the Detroit Auto Show in December 1989. The fact the Viper show car did not feature a convertible top or roll down windows meant the designers had to develop an ill-fitting “Toupe Top” and plastic side curtains.  Nearly forty years earlier, Chevrolet completed a similar feat when it launched the Corvette.

Chevrolet introduced the 1953 Corvette as the feature car in General Motors’ January 1953 Motorama event held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The car was so popular that Chevrolet moved forward with building 300 units for that first year.  All 300 1953 Corvettes featured a Polo White exterior complemented by a red interior and a black canvas convertible top. These early cars were hand built in Detroit while Chevrolet engineers worked to construct a dedicated assembly plant in St. Louis.  The production plant was not brought online until the end of 1954.  Chevrolet covered the gap by producing 50 extra hand built cars that were essentially an extension of the 1953 production.  The only notable difference was the fact these fifty cars were fitted with a tan colored canvas top.

One of the first fifty hand built 1954 Corvettes is now available for purchase. This Polo White 1954 Chevrolet C1 Corvette For Sale, first spotted on Craigslist in Broomfield, Colorado (Denver) in April 2024, is is number 43 of the 50 produced. While the seller does not specially state it, this 1954 Chevrolet C1 Corvette for sale appears to be a survivor quality example, save for the aftermarket radio (more on that later).

Now offered for $110,000 (the original ask was $150,000), Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the current ask is fifty large higher this guide’s six-month results for similar 1954 Chevrolet Corvettes in similar condition.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls well above this guide’s conservative #1 “Excellent” appraisal of only $99,000.  The Old Cars Weekly Online Valuation Tool also shows the seller’s ask is well above this third source’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $110,000. With three syndicated pricing sources confirming the seller’s current ask is about $50,000 too high, we’re awarding them our latest “NEW! (short for “No Effin Way!”) for an asking price that appears to be higher than the current market will bear. Time will tell if a buyer is willing to pay a premium for one of the last hand-built C1 Corvettes produced.

The 1954 Chevrolet Corvette stands as an iconic emblem of American automotive history, embodying the spirit of post-war optimism and the pursuit of automotive excellence. As the second year of production for this storied vehicle, the 1954 model year brought refinements and enhancements that further solidified its place in the hearts of enthusiasts.

Visually striking, the 1954 Corvette retained the sleek, aerodynamic lines that distinguished its predecessor, but with subtle updates that lent it a more polished appearance. Its low-slung body, highlighted by sweeping curves and prominent wheel arches, exuded a sense of speed and sophistication. The iconic two-seater design remained unchanged, with a long hood stretching out before the driver and a gracefully tapered rear end hinting at the car’s performance capabilities.

One of the most notable visual changes for the 1954 model year was the introduction of optional exterior paint colors beyond the initial Polo White, including Pennant Blue, Sportsman Red, and Black. This expanded color palette allowed customers to further personalize their Corvettes, adding to the car’s allure and desirability.

Beneath its stylish exterior, the 1954 Corvette featured a robust chassis and suspension system designed to deliver a balanced blend of handling prowess and ride comfort. Its lightweight fiberglass body contributed to nimble handling, while a refined suspension setup provided a smooth and controlled driving experience, whether cruising along scenic highways or tackling twisting back roads.

Powering the 1954 Corvette was Chevrolet’s venerable Blue Flame inline-six engine, displacing 235 cubic inches and producing 150 horsepower. Power from the C1’s engine transferred to a two-speed “Powerglide” automatic transmission. This engine, fitted with triple Carter side-draft carburetors, delivered spirited performance that belied its modest displacement, propelling the Corvette from 0 to 60 mph in around 11 seconds and achieving a top speed of approximately 108 mph. While not as potent as some of its V8-powered contemporaries, the Blue Flame six offered a harmonious balance of power and efficiency, making it well-suited to the Corvette’s sporting character.

Inside the cockpit, the 1954 Corvette enveloped occupants in a blend of luxury and sporting ambiance. Plush upholstery, available in a variety of colors, adorned the supportive bucket seats, providing both comfort and lateral support during spirited driving. A sweeping dashboard layout featured an array of analog gauges, including a large speedometer and tachometer, providing essential information to the driver at a glance. Optional amenities such as a heater and AM radio added convenience and entertainment value, enhancing the overall driving experience.

While the 1954 Chevrolet Corvette garnered praise for its striking design and engaging driving dynamics, it faced challenges in terms of sales and production volume. With a base price that exceeded the cost of many contemporary sports cars and production limited to just 3,640 units, the Corvette struggled to find a foothold in the fiercely competitive automotive market. However, its significance as America’s first mass-produced sports car and its enduring legacy as a symbol of American automotive ingenuity ensured its place in the annals of automotive history.

The 1954 Chevrolet Corvette represents a timeless icon of American automotive design and engineering. With its striking aesthetics, spirited performance, and refined interior, it captured the imagination of enthusiasts and cemented its status as a symbol of post-war optimism and technological innovation. Though production numbers were limited, its impact on the automotive landscape was profound, paving the way for future generations of Corvette models and solidifying its place in automotive history.

The Jay Leno’s Garage YouTube Channel features this video of Jay featuring the first mass-produced 1954 Chevrolet Corvette:

Based on the pictures and the 56,466 miles, this Polo White 1954 Chevrolet C1 Corvette for sale appears to be a survivor-quality example.  While the exterior paint appears to be in excellent condition, the interior shows signs of wear.  While we can forgive the interior’s 70-year-old patina, what detracts from the interior from this otherwise stock-appearing C1 is the radio.  Not only is it an aftermarket unit, but its a dated cassette tape piece that does not integrate with the early 1950s interior.

The seller provides detailed shots of the restored and rebuilt engine bay in their video provided.

If you are serious about buying this early Corvette, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their hand built C1 featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1954 Corvette – 343 Corvette ever made. – 56k original miles
Blue Flame 3 carb 150hp Straight 6 Engine
2 Speed Powerglide Automatic Transmission
Easy to drive with good power.

One of the 1st Corvette to be made and offered in 1954.

As Chevrolet was building the tooling to mass produce the Corvette to compete with the Sport Car Imports and the new Ford thunderbird, they made 300 Hand Fiber glassed 1953 Corvettes. There were 50 extra hand fiber glassed bodies over produced and sold in 1954 as early 1954 models. These were nearly exact to the 1953 with the exception of the Beige Soft Top Verses Black and a dual engine lid bracket to help hold the hood down better.

This is Corvette 343, or the 43rd 1954 Corvette Sold.

Here’s great video of a 1954 Corvette on Jay lenos Garage – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4CLh3NtOi8

Your chance to buy some wonderful American Corvette History – A true museum piece that can be driven on a regular basis.

Runs great and will continue to rise in value.

Trade for? Up/Down New Corvette, Raptor Bronco, High End Muscle, Classic??

Show or go: What would you do with this Polo White 1954 Chevrolet C1 Corvette for sale? Please comment below and let us know!

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