The C8 was undoubtedly a huge leap forward for the Corvette, but the Chevy sports car never stopped evolving. However, while the upcoming 2022 Corvette and Z06 are undoubtedly faster than their predecessors, the older Vettes are still worth remembering and keeping. And it’s not just the high-powered models and C2s with split windows, either. As Jay Leno just showed in his latest video, this well-restored 1954 Corvette C1 is still something to celebrate.
The C1 Corvette actually started rolling in 1954, even if it didn’t have a V8 engine yet
|1954 Chevrolet Corvette|
|engine||3.9L Blue Flame Six Inline Six With Triple Carburetor|
|Horsepower (SAE Gross)||150 hp
155 hp (mid-year update)
|Torque (SAE Gross)||223 lbs ft|
|Transmission||2 speed automatic|
|curb weight||2886 lbs|
|0-60 mph time||11 seconds|
Officially, the Chevrolet Corvette celebrates its 70th anniversaryy His birthday is in 2023. However, the first C1 cruisers were mainly handmade. Chevrolet did not begin mass production, as on the factory assembly line, until 1954. As such, the first production “Vettes” are the 1954 models.
Although the Corvette has changed a lot in its 70s, the 1954 cars are markedly different from their descendants. First, there was no evidence, not even as an option. Second, for a car that’s been billed as a Thunderbird competitor, the 1954 C1 is a slightly spartan car. It doesn’t even have exterior door handles or folding windows, I emigrated Notes.
But most importantly, the 1954 Corvette wasn’t particularly fast, even in its day. Admittedly, British six-cylinder sports cars like the Jaguar XK140 were all the rage on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition, Chevrolet upgraded the Blue Flame Six to work in the Corvette with a higher compression ratio, dual exhausts, triple carburetors and a hotter camshaft. Chevy upgraded the camshaft again halfway through 1954.
However, although 155 horsepower was appropriate for a 1954 inline six, the engine itself was from a Chevrolet Bel Air. Not exactly the best origin story for what’s supposed to be an “exotic” sports car.
However, the 1954 Corvette C1 still has its charms. For example, although the suspension is based on sedans, the C1 handles well for its age. In addition, 1954 cars have better fiberglass than 1953 cars, so they are easier to handle. Its exhaust is also longer, which means less soot on the bodywork. And as Jay Leno recently showed, the six-cylinder Vettes are fun to drive in their own way.
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In addition to being one of the first to pilot the C8 Z06, Jay Leno owns several cruisers. One of them is a 1957 C1 Corvette restored by Master Corvette Restorer Mike McCluskey. Most recently, McCluskey bought his 1954 C1 to Jay Leno’s garage.
When McCluskey found his C1, he had been sitting outside in his late friend’s backyard for more than 30 years. However, today, after three years on the job, it’s back in brand-new condition. Or rather, a condition that looks like a new plant, small deficiencies and everything.
For example, the cover of the storage space with a stretch ceiling does not quite fit with the other panels, because that’s how it left the factory. Also, the trunk keyhole is in its correct position for the 1954 and the paint isn’t perfect. On top of that, Chevrolet designed the rear springs to droop slightly to “make it look like they’re taking off,” Jay Leno explains. McCluskey wasn’t swapped out for one of the newer V8s or even had the supercharger installed from the factory.
But that’s why McCluskey’s 1954 Corvette earned a 97/100 rating from the National Corvette Restorers Association. It hasn’t been so restored or “corrected” that you’d be afraid to drive it. This is just a platonic model of the Corvette C1 six-cylinder; “Nice cruising car,” says Jay Leno. Lino notes that it’s also more spacious than contemporary Thunderbird. Plus, you don’t have to go fast to look stylish in C1.
1954 C1 Corvette Surprisingly Affordable Today
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Although McCluskey returned a 1954 C1 Corvette to honor his friend, he doesn’t plan to keep it. As of this writing, it’s for sale; Contact information in the video above. But while 1954′ Vettes aren’t exactly common, they are more affordable than you think.
Although functionally identical to the 1953 Corvettes, the 1954 models tend to command lower prices. Whereas a 1953 car in good condition costs $166,000 today, while a 1954 car in good condition costs $70,500, I emigrated Says. In addition, Chevrolet built 10 times as many 1954 C1 cars as it did in 1953. So, they are not only cheaper, but also easy to find.
However, the plant will most likely not be as fresh as McCluskey’s car.
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