• Nov 1, 2008
Hemmings reader Joel says when he first heard about the 1954 Corvette sitting in a pine grove for 45 years, he figured he'd find a fiberglass shell sitting atop the rusted remnants of a frame. He thought the early Vette might at least make a nice street rod.

But when he finally saw the car way up in the Colorado Smokies, he was stunned. Not only did the car still have its original hardtop, but the frame was rust free and the "original painted frame stamp from the factory is still on the frame and very much legible," Joel tells Hemmings Auto Blogs.

The story is that the car's second owner drove the Corvette to a friend's house in 1963 to have the seats re-covered. He replaced the driver's seat with a wooden Pepsi box and drove home where he parked it beneath the pine trees until Joel pulled it out.

Now Joel has a conundrum. After getting the car running again, he's totally ruled out street rod, but doesn't know what to do with the car. Frame off? Survivor-car preservation? Currently, Hemmings readers are unanimously recommending the preservation route, arguing there are already too many half-million-dollar frame off restos out there.

We've all dreamed about this happening to us, so how would you advise Joel?

[Source: Hemmings Auto Blogs]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Inflate the tires, make it run. DONE.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If you read the article by clicking on the picture - he cleaned out the carbs and tank, checked compression, checked the brakes, and drove it round the block.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Obviously Joel needs to make this a concours-restored daily driver.

      I would!

      Garage queens are for Jerry's Kids!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Please don't restore! That body has survived 50+ years without rust, keep it dry and drive it in all its glory, but don't touch it!

      Shiny new paint on an antique always seems wrong to me. To me it says "rich old man with more money than taste." If it were a valuable old coin would you go over it with Brasso? If it were a 100-year-old chair would you sand it and cover it in polyurethane? Of course not! A rebuilt car isn't an antique, it's a brand-new car with a few used parts. Call yourself a preservationist or rat-rodder (to your own taste, wine-sipper or beer-drinker), just leave the circular sander alone!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I watched a Barret-Jackson auction the other day and I was amazed at how much money the auction house makes by selling speculation dreams to suckers. They are good at creating the next speculation bubble.

      Take it on as a DIY restoration project; the cost of many of these projects is the cost of someone else's labor. Otherwise, sell it for a profit, if you don't have the time. "One man's dream car is another man's transportation appliance."
      • 6 Years Ago
      I reckon Jay Leno would say leave it as close to original as possible. Jay loves them as-is oldies!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think Jay would put a ZR1 LS9 under the hood and have Coker custom build a set of 15" wide whitewall tires to keep it a sleeper.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That is SWEET.
      Preserve it, don't sell it, please!
      • 6 Years Ago
      needs to much work, scrap it! sell it for the fiberglas and some craft shop can use the pine cones stuck to the frame.

      i'm an idiot
      • 6 Years Ago
      leave it as is. too cool
      • 6 Years Ago
      Unless this has an interesting history, such as ownership by Jesus, there's no way to restore this slug and make money. Far better to sell it to a dreamer who doesn't know this. People go nuts at auctions.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Mr Ed:

        A really nice '54 Corvette, beautifully restored, can fetch $175 grand. Check on Barrett-Jackson.

        Unrestored original? I don't know that this has been explored in the market. If recent auctions are any guide, a really great unrestored car can be worth several times a restored one. but those have all been from before WWII.

        This Corvette would make a fascinating test.

        P.S. What'd our guy Joel pay for this treasure?
      • 6 Years Ago
      minor dissasembly gently clean , shine and buff all parts reassemble and drive
      • 6 Years Ago
      Call up Xzibit!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Preserve it!
      Put some black steelies and firestone whitewall biases on it and it will look really great!

      If it was my car I would have either turned it in to a late fifties kustom or a gasser as shipey also mentioned :)
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