Corvettes have always been noted for getting better year after year.
That was the case even back in 1954, the second year of production of America’s new sports car.
You can buy this example of a ’54 that has a unique history during Russo and Steele’s 3rd Annual Newport Beach, California Auction to be held June 5-7. It was bought on May 11, 1988 from Richard Carpenter, yes, the one who made such beautiful music with his sister, Karen, as the popular 1970s group, The Carpenters.
When he wasn’t making music, Richard was an avid car collector and owned this Polo White example with a red interior. It’s an original car with matching numbers and includes a previous title proving his one-time ownership.
While the 1954 model doesn’t carry the financial respect of the original 1953 model, like the Corvettes that have come after it, it’s actually a better car mechanically.
Improvements on the 1954 included:
- Lengthening of the exhaust outlets so the paint wasn’t stained by exhaust gases being sucked back against the car;
- An extra 5 horsepower thanks to a new camshaft;
- Better protection for gas and brake lines by moving them inboard of the right-hand main frame rail;
- A more manageable single-handle exterior hood latch in place of the original two-handle latch;
- Switching the choke control to the left of the steering column so the driver didn’t have to reach uncomfortably across or through the steering wheel to operate the choke with the left hand while cranking the car with the right;
- A larger selection of exterior paint options – with the car offered in Polo White (80 percent), Pennant Blue (16 percent), Sportsman Red (4 percent), and Black (perhaps just six cars in all). Some owners claim to have original colors besides these four, but factory records aren’t available to prove it, though paint bulletins did list Metallic Green and Metallic Bronze.
- A new-style rocker-arm cover, a cleaner wiring harness, and more plastic-insulated wire (replacing fabric).
Here are photos of the 1954 Corvette previously owned by Richard Carpenter:
Richard Carpenter’s 1954 Corvette is one of 28 Corvettes that are consigned to Russo and Steele’s Newport Beach auction this weekend. For auction details, visit Russo and Steele at russoandsteele.com.
Russo and Steele
This Barn Find 1954 Corvette Parked 51 Years Ago Sells for $52,000
They’re Still Out There – 1954 Corvette Garage Find
1954 Corvette with Rare Bubble Top Sells for $88,000 at Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach