Barn-Find 1954 Corvette Wears Rare Sportsman Red Paint
Check out this all-original, second-year C1 Corvette that last saw public roads during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.
In 1954, Road and Track wrote, “The outstanding characteristic of the Corvette is probably its deceptive performance.” And in the case of this very worn Sportsman Red ’54 Corvette, the deception of performance might be more significant than usual.
Its current owner found it in a barn, where he discovered it last saw street use in 1965. Now, the rare red Corvette is posted for sale on Jalopy Journal’s “The H.A.M.B.” forum. Yeah, you might have squint a bit to see the possibility, but it’s there.
Everything looks original on this one, down to the triple-carb setup on the 235 cubic-inch Blue Flame inline-six. This was perhaps the source of the “deceptive performance.” While history remembers the ‘55 Corvette with the 265 cubic-inch V8, the Blue Flame was no slouch itself with 150 horsepower and 0 to 60 times of 11 seconds.
Like Corvette barn finds? Here’s another lucky ’54 spared from idle decades.
The color remains this car’s most striking feature. While all 300 ‘53 Corvettes were famously Polo White, so too were 80 percent of the 1954 production run with Pennant Blue making up most of the rest. Four were famously built in black and the rest — 100 cars — came in Sportsman Red.
That makes this a super-rare version of the ‘54. Yeah, it lacks the appeal (or the value) of a ‘53 or a ‘55. However, we figure this one should be earmarked for a thorough restoration. And it may very well need it: While everything looks to be intact, all of it lies beneath a half-century of grime and who-knows-what.
Hagerty’s Valuation Tool indicates that ‘54 Corvette values are still recovering from a huge spike and trough around the 2008 Recession. That said, the prices are as high as they’ve been since late 2008.
The asking price of $39,900 comes in on the low end of Hagerty’s tools, although the condition is well below Hagerty’s evaluation of “Fair” condition. Of course, the rare color — who doesn’t want a Princely sports car — should make up the difference in potential.