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Lot 638: 1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster

Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles, Bonhams (3 December 2007)

Back in 1953, Chevrolet’s launch of a two-seater sportscar was a radical departure for a marque hitherto associated almost exclusively with sensible family transport. Based on Harley Earl’s EX-122 show car of 1952, the Corvette made use of existing GM running gear, suitably modified, and a shortened chassis frame around which was wrapped striking glassfibre coachwork. A novelty at the time, glassfibre construction kept tooling costs down to a level commensurate with low-volume production and enabled the ’Vette to go from design to introduction in less than two years. Motive power came from Chevrolet’s 235.5ci (3.8-litre) overhead-valve straight six, which in ‘Blue Flame’ (Corvette) specification produced 150 or 155bhp. Unusually for a sportscar, there was automatic transmission: GM’s two-speed Powerglide.
Supplied new in Germany and dating from the first full year of Corvette production, this early example has the full complement of optional equipment, including turn signals, heater, AM radio and windshield washer, that went into almost all ’54 ’Vettes. Finished in Polo White with beige top and red interior, it was restored in 1980 and when inspected by an independent Corvette authority in October 2002, was rated in ‘very good’ overall condition. The car was purchased by the current (lady) owner at Bonhams’ Geneva Sale on 10th March 2003 (Lot 184) at which time it displayed a total of 97568 miles on the odometer. Formerly part of major private collections in the USA and Switzerland, the Corvette was Swiss registered at time of acquisition. Brought back to the UK and registered ‘WAS 126’ in this country, it has been well maintained and used sparingly. The car is offered with tool kit, historical data file and Swansea V5C registration document.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
Lot Number638
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberWAS 126
Chassis numberE54S004639
Engine numberF54YC 0298648
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors