How would you like to drive a 1954 Corvette with approximately 500 horsepower?
Here’s your chance as a restomod version is currently up for sale on Ebay Motors, with a Buy It Now price of $49,500. As of 5 p.m. Thursday, there have been no bids on the car, which goes off the auction block on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 6:28 p.m. Pacific Time.
In describing the car, the current owner says it’s “a great car, a fun driver and dead nuts reliable.” He says he drives it 350 to 500 miles a week as his daily driver in the Los Angeles area.
It will sit in traffic all day without any issues, he claims, and happily go sideways under boost in second gear, time after time.
He found the car, the 2,072nd Corvette made in 1954, and bought it from a guy who had purchased it as a rough project and was having it painted at a body shop that went out of business. When the bankruptcy proceedings finally allowed him to get the car back, it was missing several parts, including the motor, transmission, seats, radiator, and more. That’s where the current owner stepped in.
Discovering that it would cost more than $100,000 to restore the car, which would then be worth just $60,000 and “no fun” to drive, in his estimation, he decided to go the restomod route.
“This car is built in the style of a vintage road racer but powered by a turbocharged LS motor,” he says.
The complete power train came out of a 2002 Silverado. It’s an LS based 4.8 litre (294 cubic inch) with an iron block backed with an NV3500 5 speed manual transmission. The motor was disassembled and inspected, and the block was power honed and new rings and bears installed. The stock cam was swapped with an LS9/ZR1 camshaft from GM. This cam provides a stock idle, great vacuum and helps to build cylinder pressure very quickly. The ZR1 makes 638 horsepower using this cam grind!
The interior is largely stock with the obvious exception being the Porsche 550 Spyder seats (fiberglass) and the 1956 Corvette steering wheel. He says he chose the seats because they fit the theme of the car very well; they were one fifth the price of real 1954 seats and also because one can actually sit and fit in the car with them. The stock gauges are augmented with an oil pressure gauge, a manifold pressure gauge (boost), and a water temp gauge all from Stewart Warner.
“Although it might look good in the pictures, the panel fit is not good at all,” the owner admits. “After seeing some good ’54 Corvettes at Pebble Beach this year I can say that this one is not much worse than a really good stocker, but that ain’t saying much.”
Extra parts also come with the car, including the spare tire cover, the horn button, wiper transmissions, complete stock trunk latch with key lock, fuel tank cover, front park/turn light assemblies (complete), and a front end rebuild kit from Rare Parts.
To be a top notch restomod, the owner believes it needs the body brought up to par with the rest of the car. “If I were estimating the job at my shop I would say $20-$25k for a really good, show quality job including paint and straightening all the trim to fit perfect,” he says.
“If the car were done this way I think it would bring north of $100k in this market. The only other ’54 restomods of similar build quality I have seen for sale have ranged from $150k-$399k asking so I don’t think these estimates are unrealistic. Of course, you could just leave it exactly as it is and drive the wheels off of it; the car really is a ton of fun!”