£65,000

offers 0

Highlights

  • Beautifully presented multiple show winner 
  • Former NEC show car 
  • Restored over 13 years 
  • Matching numbers with 'Blue Flame' engine 
  • Truly exquisite car in superb colour combination 

The Appeal

As the lights went down in the 1953 GM Motorama at the end of February 1953, it became quickly apparent that the sensational Corvette concept car had stirred a desire among the American public for a Chevrolet sports car.

As a result, the production Corvette was rushed into production in record time. So quickly, in fact, that the first production cars would appear before the end of ‘53 . The hand-built prototype, EX-122, was taken straight from the Waldorf Astoria to be developed into a production model.

Cost cuts meant it would have a solid rear axle, though at a price of $3,513, it had evolved into a considerably more expensive car than the $2,000 roadster GM originally had in mind.

The engine was a 235 cu in (3.85-litre) inline six engine that was similar to the 235 engine that powered all other Chevrolet models, but with a higher-compression ratio, three Carter side-draught carburettors, mechanical valves, and a high-lift cam, giving it 150bhp.

A two-speed Powerglide automatic was the only transmission offered, giving a modest 0–60 mph time of 11.5 seconds, but none of this mattered to the car’s fans because of its sensational looks. The outer body, meanwhile, was made out of then-revolutionary glass fibre reinforced plastic material built by the MFG company in Ohio. 

In 1954, only 3,640 Corvettes were built before the introduction of V8 models for 1955, making the six-cylinder early cars extremely rare and massively collectable.

This one is 1954 Corvette number 3,301, which lived in California from new until 1989, when it was imported to the UK and treated to a long-term restoration over 13 years. It’s an absolute honey of a car, a multiple show winner, former NEC show car, and importantly a matching numbers example with its original ‘Blue Flame’ engine.

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The History and Paperwork

  • UK V5C
  • Built in late 1954, Chassis number 3,301
  • Matching numbers – original engine
  • Imported in 1989
  • Restored over 13 year period
  • Photo record of rebuild
  • Huge number of invoices
  • Owner’s handbook
  • Old ad repro brochures
  • Former US license slips
  • Import documentation from 1989
  • Old MOT tests 
  • Recent invoices for gearbox rebuild, carb rebuild and fuel system overhaul
  • Over £1,000 worth of spare parts and literature included in sale

The Interior

  • Gorgeous red leather
  • Retrimmed door cards and carpets
  • Restored ‘Wunderbar’ self-seeking radio
  • Stunning aircraft-inspired dash

Imagine how this car must have felt to Motorama visitors 70 years ago, with its low-slung seats and aircraft-inspired cabin, with interior details to echo the exterior streamlining. 

It’s a wonderful, truly enchanting place to sit and admire the details – delicate chromium dials, and the centrepiece ‘Wunderbar’ self-seeking radio, which was sent off to the USA to be refurbished by one of the only people in the world who was prepared to take it on.  

Condition-wise, it’s lovely. There’s a small amount of pulling to the stitching on the driver’s seat, but that’s pretty much it. The door trims, carpets and dash facings are excellent, with only a couple of very minor paint chips.

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The Exterior

  • Fully restored near concours condition
  • Finished in original Polo White
  • Immaculate chassis
  • Superb chrome

Seven decades since it was previewed, the original iteration of the C1 Corvette has lost none of its visual drama. It’s absolutely incredible today, just as it was then. That said, photos do little to show the size of it. Billed as Chevrolet’s answer to the European sports cars of the era, the ‘Vette was substantial by comparison, but its bulk is hidden by its sinewy curves. 

Restored diligently over a 13-year period, XSV 309 is a lovely-looking car that wants for nothing – the detail of the restoration is flawless and aside from a couple of very minor paint chips, the Polo White finish remains near-faultless. It’s immaculate underneath with a chassis almost as clean as on top, the chrome is all excellent and the fabric roof is in good order, if a little stiff through lack of use.

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The Mechanics

  • 3.9-litre GM Blue Flame Six
  • Two-speed auto
  • Original engine and triple downdraft carbs, with tags
  • Recent £7k gearbox and carburettor rebuild

The exterior of the ‘Vette may have been the expression of a brave new world, but under the bonnet it used GM’s stalwart Stovebolt engine, albeit in its most potent 235Ci form. 

Renowned for its reliability, it’s no wonder that this one still runs sweetly with no known issues. The unit was overhauled during the car’s restoration, along with the rest of the running gear, and has seen little use as the car stayed in storage for some time thereafter. 

It has recently been reconditioned, with a £7,000 gearbox overhaul, carburettor service and overhaul of the entire fuel system. It runs without fault.

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Summary

There are only three known 1954 Corvettes in the UK and this one – a well-known car in Corvette circles – is widely regarded to be the very best. It’s a superb car in absolutely immaculate condition, loved and cherished by its previous owner and restored to an overwhelmingly good standard. It truly is one for the collector. A truly amazing car.   

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1954
  • Make Chevrolet
  • Model Corvette
  • Colour White
  • Odometer 99,473 Miles
  • Engine size 3850
Listing Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Melton Mowbray
  • Location Leicestershire
  • Country United Kingdom

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