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Almost from the moment that Chevrolet unveiled the Corvette roadster as part of the GM Motorama, it was an instant success. This totally new car was the perfect blend of sporty looks, open-air driving and even with an in-line six, more horsepower many of the V8s then on the market. When first shown as part of the GM Motorama, the public clamored for this car, so a crash-program went into effect to get the Corvette to market as quick as possible. By June 30, 1953, the first models were rolling out the door of a special construction area set up at GM’s Flint, Michigan’s plant. Located in the back of the customer delivery garage, each car was hand assembled using the new medium of fiber-glass body construction. There was a bit of a learning curve and sometimes the fit and finish were not up to the standards seen in cars with metal bodies. But they learned quickly and before the end of the model year a total of 300 cars would be produced.
All of the cars were identical, finished in Polo White with red vinyl interiors and black soft tops, and all were powered by a souped-up version of Chevrolet’s famous “Stovebolt Six”. Enlarged to 235 cubic inches and fed through a trio of carburetors, it was rated at 150 horses, which was equal to, or higher than a number of V8s then currently available. All Corvettes were fitted with the very reliable Powerglide automatic transmission. Technically, only two extras could be ordered for these first units, the heater listed at $91.40 and the Wonderbar AM radio for another $145.15, and despite being “options”, each of the 300 were equipped with these two items.
Demand far out-stripped production for these new cars, with celebrities of the day include actor John Wayne, making sure they were with the “in-crowd” by owning a new Corvette roadster. Of the original 300 Corvettes produced during the 1953 model year, approximately 225 have been accounted for with estimates that just 73 are still in existence.
We are honored to present car #145, a certified NCRS Top Flight award winner. During a full body-off-the-frame restoration under the direction of a “black hat” NCRS judge, this historic car was brought as close as possible to its “as built” condition including all of the items that made these cars special. Included were the emergency brake warning light, windshield washers and courtesy lights. After the first few units, special full wheelcovers were installed, which have been retained with this car, using proper whitewall tires. Other very desirable and hard-to-find items include canvas side curtains with proper storage bag, rebound straps, proper spare tire and wheel, plus jack and tools, all stored in the authentically appointed trunk, and even a very rare original gas cap. Under the hood, proper air-cleaners, side-draft carburetors, generator, shielding and hood pop-ups.
Scoring a 99.6% score during stringent NCRS standards, brought #145 to the most elite of all Corvettes in being awarded a Top-Flight designation. This is a rare opportunity to own an early example of one of the most important vehicles ever produced, and to have one that has been so carefully restored and brought back to it pure and authentic condition may not be repeated for many years to come.