A Matching-Numbers 1954 Chevy C1 Corvette is the Barn Find of the Summer
It’s the second-rarest year for America’s iconic sports car.
A barn find is the automotive equivalent of panning for gold. To uncover one requires patience and persistence, not to mention sifting through mountains of dirt and debris. But Hagerty's Tom Cotter is a man on a mission, and his dedication yields an amazing discovery on the latest episode of Barn Find Hunter: a matching-numbers 1954 Chevy C1 Corvette sitting in a dusty open-air shed on an overgrown lot in North Carolina.
Just over 3,600 Corvettes were built in 1954, the car's second year in production, and all were equipped with the company's 155-horsepower Blue Flame straight-six engine, a Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission, and a red interior. As Cotter points out, it was General Motor's attempt to staunch the tide of foreign sports cars that began to infiltrate the market in the postwar years. But it wasn't until 1955 that a V8 engine option was introduced, and these early models are much more weekend cruisers than nimble racers.
But given that 1954 was the second-lowest volume year for the Corvette, these command a pretty high price. According to Hagerty, a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette in concours condition is worth almost $140,000. And the car Cotter found covered with a tarp and years of dirt and dust? Even with all its issues, it's still in "fair" condition and therefore worth approximately $44,000.
Cotter also points out that even though it looks rough, all the parts are there to make it a "good" condition car with about a week's worth of work, potentially bumping the Corvette's value up to at least $67,000. It also allegedly ran when parked.
Unfortunately, the owner is reluctant to part with his prize, so the Corvette remains tucked away in the shed. But there are plenty of other surprises in store in this episode, including a Rambler Marlin, a 1970 Buick Gran Sport Stage 1 convertible (worth about $63,000 in fair condition), and a whole warehouse full of dusty Italian classics.