1954 CHEVROLET CORVETTE: FLIRTING WITH FIBER GLASS


Publish date: 2016-05-10 09:57:25
1954 CHEVROLET CORVETTE

On June 30, 1953, when the first Chevrolet Corvette had come out of the manufacturing plant, it instantly became an icon in American culture. The craze for this car went worldwide and it became one of the most successful cars for the past 50 years.

*Check out this classic “Chevrolet Corvette Parking Only” sign.*

The collaboration of General Motors Stylist Harvey Earl and Chevrolet Engineer Ed Cole resulted to a car that was made for the youthful customers. The first appearance of the Chevrolet Corvette was at Motorama dream cars and it was envisioned by Ed Cole.

the chevrolet corvette ad

This car was named after an old warship and it’s made from different Chevy car parts. The first Corvettes are notable for being the first car to use fiberglass. There are no other car companies in history that uses a fiberglass into their car’s body. Fiberglass was not usually found in car’s body, it is usually used in different aircrafts, boats and experimental cars.

1953 Chevrolet Corvette

300 Corvettes were made in Flint Michigan for its initial release in 1953. All of them are handmade and these cars are powered by 235 cu in Blue Flame Six with 150hp, paired with 2-speed powerglide transmission.

The release for the 1953 Corvette had been highly anticipated. Even famous celebrities such as John Wayne and Dave Garroway bought the car because they were intrigued by its features. Despite of all the positive comments about this innovative release of Corvette, its future was in doubt. It was dubbed as the “American Sensational Sports Car” but according to Road & Track, “It misses the mark.”

Its stylish and sporty designed body doesn’t match its performance. With the weight of over 2600 pounds, this car could accelerate in 0 to 60mph in less than 13 seconds and its recorded top speed was only 105mph. This performance was somewhat outdated because Corvette’s rival 1951 Jaguar XK120 had already achieved this and its successor, the 1954 Jaguar XK140 was way beyond Corvette’s power.

john wayne corvette

During the production of the 1954 model of the Chevrolet Corvette, its assembly was moved to St. Louis Missouri. The production was improved because it reached 3,640 units, although its price was shred to just $2,774. The additional option for adding a heater and AM radio was still available. Additional color options are also added. Despite of all the great features of the 1954 Corvette, Ford’s new 1955 Thunderbird outsold Chevy Corvette.

1954 Pennant Blue Roadster

The Covette collector Mike Yager is the current owner of this 1954 Pennant Blue Roadster. This car was fully unrestored, even its cracked old tires are still attached to it. Mike believes that his car was the lowest mileage unrestored ’54 Corvette in existence. Due to this, his car has won various awards for being unrestored.

 1954 Pennant Blue Roadster wheels

The original owner of this ’54 Corvette has died many years ago. An avid car collector, Bill McDonald has taken his car to keep it in a dealership inside Nashville, Indiana. In 1995, Mike Yager bought this car with only 2995 miles on its odometer. Since then, this car was kept inside his garage museum in Effingham Illinois.

During this interview, Mike Yager allowed us to drive his ’54 Corvette out of his garage. Using this car was a little bit odd, for example. To open its doors, you need to reach inside and slide the interior door release rearward. It has an uncomfortably small room for its driver and its steering wheel was awkwardly higher than the usual. Everything from starting up the engine to shifting its gears was tricky and its handling was difficult. It took us a while before adjusting to the car’s settings. Surprisingly, its standard brakes are dependable and moving the lever from park into gear was easy. Mike Yager’s car still has its original radio and brake warning light.

*Check out this classic “Chevrolet Corvette Parking Only” sign.*

1955 corvette

Even if it has a major improvement on its power by mounting a V8 engine and manual transmission, it’s no secret why the sales of these Corvettes were low in 1955. After that disastrous release, GM was about to discontinue Corvette but they didn’t want to easily give the win to the Ford Thunderbird. GM restyled Corvette for its 1956-1957 release and luckily, its sales improved and it saved Corvette from being discontinued. Since then, Corvette have their own diehard fans, and this car remained as one of the most successful cars over the last 50 years.

Reference and photo credits

http://autoweek.com/article/car-news/1954-chevrolet-corvette-roadster-flirting-fiberglass

http://st.motortrend.com/uploads/sites/5/2013/06/1953-Chevrolet-Corvette-studio.jpg

http://blog.patmcgrathchevyland.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/1953-Corvette.jpg

http://www.oldcaradvertising.com/Chevrolet%20Corvette/1953/1953%20Corvette%20Ad-01.jpg

http://www.motortrend.com/news/2006-corvette-funfest-museum/

 

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