The Chevrolet Corvette was first introduced in 1953 during the latter portion of the model year. The company was revved up for 1954 and they had completed an assembly plant in St. Louis that did nothing but produce classic car Corvettes; it was capable of churning out some 10,000 units per year.
As it turned out, the 1954 Corvette was a difficult sell at the time. It featured a two speed automatic transmission and plastic side curtains that were popular in some of the sexy European models of the day. The price point was part of the problem. The ’54 Corvette carried a sticker price of nearly $2800 which was more than a 1954 Jaguar or Cadillac, both of which were significantly more powerful.
Of course today a 1954 Corvette is a dream come true for most of us, but General Motors did not enjoy the success that it had hoped for during that year with their new darling. They manufactured 3640 Corvettes for the 1954 model year but only were able to sell about two thirds of that number. It is said that dealers were forced to sell the cars at less than cost, which is kind of amazing when you consider how wildly popular the car became in the future.
This vehicle is very distinctive to the eye today and when you’re talking about a car this old that is one of just 3600 or so produced it is a pretty rare bird to say the least. But even so you may be able to find a ’54 Corvette at a relatively decent price, because the production numbers did exceed that of the other two early model years.
The 1954 Corvette is truly a slice of American automotive history and it would certainly make a fine in addition to virtually any collection.