This week we are presenting a few of the Corvettes offered for sale from the Brian Wedding Collection which features a well-maintained collection of American muscle cars from the 1960s through the present. The Collection contains a very nice selection of Corvettes as well as examples from Ford, Dodge, Ferrari, Porsche, Datsun, Maserati and others. The Brian Wedding Collection will be offered by Freije & Freije Auctioneers at a No-Reserve sale this weekend in Evansville, IN.
While the inaugural year of the Corvette focused on refining the production technics on GM’s first fiberglass-bodied vehicle and sales restricted to VIPs, the 1954 Corvette was meant for the masses as 3,640 Corvettes were built at a newly-renovated facility in St. Louis, MO.
There were some minor upgrades and refinements made to the car during that time including longer exhaust pipes and a new camshaft offered halfway through the model year bumped the power rating of the Blue Flame inline 6-cylinder engine from 150 to 155 bhp. Perhaps the biggest enhancement was that customers now had a choice, albeit limited, in the exterior colors as Pennant Blue, Sportsman Red, and Black was added to the color pallet in addition to the base Polo White exterior. Sportsman Red remained the base interior for all but those in Pennant Blue, which featured a Beige interior. Chevy further differentiated the 1954s from the 1953s by offering Beige canvas soft tops instead of the ’53s black colored tops.
The base price for the 1954 Corvette was initially the same as the 1953 Corvette which was $3,498. One of the interesting sales techniques that Chevy employed in an effort to woo younger buyers for the 1954 Corvette was to drop the base price MSRP down to $2,774.00. Chevy then offered the 2-speed automatic transmission as an option costing $178. Potential buyers saw through that ruse right away as Chevy only offered the “optional” 2-speed auto transmission for the Corvette, thereby making the optional equipment mandatory. The target market for the car couldn’t really afford it, while the intended market of sports car enthusiasts derided it for its lack of power and the aforementioned 2-speed transmission.
There were other issues relating to the car as well including water leaks from the convertible top and the side window curtains, and no fresh air recirculation with the windows up (air was recirculated from the cabin only) made driving the car in bad weather problematic.
Despite these problems, production increased 10-fold from the previous year and today the 1954 Corvettes are marked as having the same iconic style as the first-year 1953 models but at a fraction of the price. Currently, the Hagerty Valuation Guide shows values increasing for the car in 2021 with the valuations ranging from $162K for Condition #1 (Concours), with Condition #2 (excellent) priced at $99,600 and Condition #3 (Good) at $65,300.
Lot #5 offered at the Brian Wedding Collection is a 1954 Corvette Roadster wearing VIN E54S003399 and painted in Pennant Blue with a Beige Leather interior and Beige soft convertible top. Only 300 of the 3640 Corvettes produced in 1954 were offered in Pennant Blue, which was the second most popular color of the model year but ranks far behind the 3,230 cars painted in Polo White.
Collector cars from the Brian Wedding Collection like this 1954 Corvette can be viewed in person on Friday, June 25th at the RoofClaim.com headquarters at 3801 N. Burkhart, Evansville, IN, 47715. The Corvette will be sold at that location on Saturday, June 26th at No Reserve. Interested bidders can bid on the car now through Proxibid.com.