JP created the topic: 1954 Corvette by Chevrolet: Eye Candy
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The 1954 Chevrolet Corvette is a caricature of a European Roadster. The first Corvette was released in 1953. As a design, it was much more than a go!
With typical flamboyance, GM’s chief stylist, Harley Earl, was more interested in the way the Corvette looked than the way it drove. But he did recognize that car consumers were growing restless. He saw a HUGE market for a new type of car. With everybody’s dream looking exactly the same, the “plastic” Vette introduced a shot of badly needed diversity to the national car market.
Though cramped and slow, the early models looked like they had been lifted straight off a Motorama (Car show) turntable, which they had. Building the car was a nightmare. For a while GM lost money on each car. Still, nobody minded because Chevrolet now had a new image – as the company that came up with the first American Sports Car.
An aeronautical fantasy, the dashboard had a futuristic, space-age feel. Not until 1958 was the row of dials repositioned for more practical use.
The “Blue Flame” had triple carbs, high compression, and a high-lift cam, but it was still sluggish. Vettes had to wait until 1955 for the V-8 they deserved.
The engine was mounted well back in the frame to improve handling.
Oddly enough, 80% of all 1954 Corvettes were painted white.
With top speed of “only” 107 mph, performance was not up to par with the Jaguar XK120.
Buyers were not enthusiastic about the small trunk, plastic body, and less-than-optimal engine performance, but better things were just around the corner.
The cute body with minimal glitz was one of designer Harley Earl’s best efforts. But, being smitten with jet-styling, he couldn’t resist adding he “jet pod” taillights, which spoiled the car’s symmetry.
These are the cars dreams are made of. To those of you who own one...lucky YOU. Treat it well.