Amelia Island | Lot 172
1953 Chevrolet Corvette
$201,600 USD | Sold
| Cleveland, Tennessee
22 May 2021
- The 227th of 300 first-year Corvettes produced
- Acquired by the consignor in 2004
- Listed in the Corvette C1 Registry
In the early 1950s, a team of engineers at General Motors, led by the legendary designer Harley Earl, went to work to design a fiberglass-bodied car with the looks and performance to compete with anything that Europe could throw at the U.S. market.
The finished prototype was dubbed EX-122 and made its public debut on 17 January 1953 at the iconic 1953 Motorama display. The public reaction to EX-122 was overwhelming, and GM quickly rushed the car into production beginning in June 1953. Not simply a cultural icon, this first year of Corvette production also marked a significant technical milestone, as GM was the first major American car manufacturer to successfully mass-produce a vehicle with an all-fiberglass body and underpan. The car, of course, would go on to become an American icon that is still revered by those lucky enough to own one.
This attractive Corvette is the 227th of just 300 first-year C1 examples produced for 1953. In 2003, it was treated to a complete restoration executed by Houston Corvette Service of Houston, Texas. This eminently presentable restoration is reported to have earned a Top Flight Award from the National Corvette Restorers Society. Chassis 227 was acquired by the consignor shortly thereafter in 2004, since which it has remained a carefully tended and rarely driven piece of their collection. During this time, the expertise of ProTeam Classic Corvettes in Napoleon, Ohio was utilized to keep the car in shape, with a complete engine rebuild executed in 2012 and a major transmission servicing in 2017.
The accuracy of this previous restoration is still affirmed by the car’s present period-correct aesthetic; the Polo White exterior and red leather interior provided to all 1953 Corvettes is complimented by the correct Plexiglas side curtains, radio, and black canvas top. Power is provided by a 235-cubic-inch “Blue Flame Special” produced on 22 July 1953, which is paired to a two-speed Powerglide automatic of the correct type. The engine’s cylinder head, block, starter, thermostat, and carburetors all display observable and correct stampings for 1953 production.
A set of wide whitewall Firestone tires and chrome caps with matching color accents round out the timeless appeal of this Earl design. As no Corvette collection is complete without an original 1953 model, the enthusiast seeking such a car need look no further than this fine example of America’s sports car.