With all the attention the 1953 Corvettes have been getting recently, we thought we’d take a look at what some are calling the best value of the early C1s – the 1954 Corvette.
The rising values of the 1954 Corvette has surprised many as it appears the 2nd year model is finally making its move. Many factors justify the appreciation of the 1954s, none more significant than the fact that the model year is sandwiched between the skyrocketing values of the 1953 Corvette and the V8 Powered 1955 Corvette. In the past, the 1954 Corvette was in many ways considered the stepchild of the early C1 generation, but no more as collectors are beginning to appreciate the Corvette on its own merits.
Production of the 1954 was moved to its own renovated assembly plant in St. Louis and benefited greatly from the lessons learned from the mostly hand assembled 1953 Corvette. GM’s estimated 10,000 units would be produced but only 3,640 constructed. While the sales projection was way off for the time, this production number is over 10 times the number of 1953 Corvettes produced and over 5 times greater than the 1955 Corvette that followed it.
As there were no real drive-train options offered, the 1954 Corvette is one of those rare years where the values are driven almost exclusively by the exterior color. Of the 3,640 1954 Corvettes produced, it’s estimated that the colors were broken down as: 3,230 Polo White, 300 Pennant Blue, 100 Sportsman Red and 4 Black. Therefore with similar cars (condition, documentation, etc) any color other than Polo White will be valued at $10,000-$15,000 more while the ultra-rare Blacks could command three to four times that.
Our Corvette Price Guide documents the rising values of the 1954 Corvette with an average price of $65,000 and a high of $143,000. However most astounding is the appreciation figures. The 1954′s 1 year appreciation is 30% and the 5 year appreciation figure is 85%. Who’s the stepchild now!
In perusing the market in search of examples we found the following:
1954 Corvette Convertible, Blue Flame Six, powerglide, numbers match. Polo White paint with Sportsman Red interior and Beige Soft top. Body-off restored over a five year period with the top and interior being done by professional restorer, John Kennedy of Bountiful, Utah. Show condition! Optioned with powerglide, 3.55 rear, Wonderbar radio, e-brake warning light, windshield washers, courtesy lights, heater, hubcaps, and 6.70×15″ wide white tires. Most all factory correct type components including the spare, jack, jack tools, trunk mat, trunk liner, side curtain, side curtain bag, rebound straps, washer system, tar top battery, shifter, shielding, air cleaners, generator, side draft carbs, and #241 head. A very correct spectacular first generation Corvette that was a recent Bloomington Gold feature car. Looks, runs, and drives excellent. Offered by Proteam Corvette. $119,000
Finished in stunning and rare Sportsman Red with correct Red interior. One of only 100 built, this spectacular motorcar was purchased in Southern California from a professor who acquired the car from its original owner, a GM factory engineer. This museum-quality Corvette is one of the very first three red Corvettes ever built by General Motors. It has only been driven 25,000 miles and has recently undergone a cosmetic restoration, including show quality paint, new interior, new tires and new top (original tires and interior are now boxed and goes with the car!). This spectacular motorcar has been examined by many Corvette experts and is believed to be one of the nicest original examples on the market today. It has the correct, numbers matching engine, correct carburetors and many early unique features such as dual hood releases, ultra-short (pre-Duntov) exhaust tips, correct date-coded side curtains with the storage case, original factory spare and so much more. eBay Buy-It-Now Price: $119,900
2-owner 1954 Chevy Corvette. 1954 was the first year this car was produced in a color other than white. This Pennant Blue sportster will turn heads at every corner. Except for the paint, this baby is all original. The side curtains, the spare tire, the soft top, gauges, Wonder-Bar Radio, hub caps and even the original windshield-washer fluid container – all original!!! The radio works but the speaker needs to be connected. The Blueflame engine is all original and all numbers match. In 1954, 3230 whites were produced. Only 300 Pennant Blues were produced. This is truly one of the rare ones!!! There are some areas that can use some TLC – for example, the carpeting and driver’s seat. The driver’s side curtain is missing a small screw and both curtains need some work on the rubber trim. The car starts on first try and sounds like a dream. The Powerglide Automatic transmission shifts smoothly. eBay Current Bid: $25,655.00
Appreciating Corvettes: Top 12 Price Gainers of 2007
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