The Coolest Car That Is No Longer!

Concept cars (or concept car ideas?) have been around for a long time. Concept cars are a great way to gauge people’s reactions to new and sometimes revolutionary car designs, which were even more real before the advent of the internet. After all, it’s a lot cheaper to build a few cars than it is to commit to producing a whole year of probably useless cars.

What What Happened to a Concept Car When It Was Finished?

Unfortunately, most of the concept cars are gone. Why? Well, since most don’t carry real VIN numbers, they can’t be sold or even driven on the road. So once their job is done, manufacturers have to pay to keep them or just send them to the crusher after being stripped of any useful parts. Some managed to survive because of cunning employees, and some famous ones have been added to the historic collections of manufacturers, but usually they no longer exist. Such was the case with the original 1954 Corvette Corvair concept car. It appears that five (a debatable number) were made by GM to showcase the fastback body style, and the first was unveiled at the 1954 Motorama Show held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. GM loved doing variations of their new Corvette, including a convertible, sporty fastback, and a sleek two-door station wagon. Most of it just faded away, though the station wagon eventually morphed into a full-size ride called the Wanderer. The fastback body style shown here carries on, but is produced as a completely different car from the four-seater, rear-mounted engine, and futuristic design you see here, called the Corvair (a portmanteau of “Corvette” and “Corvette” Air Bell”).

This particular 1954 Corvette was handcrafted to emulate the Motorama Corvair coupe, and was built by Brett Henderson of Blue Flame Restorations, with every effort made to faithfully emulate the concept car. It is equipped with an original 1956 rear end and a set of AC Delco shock absorbers, as well as an original 1954 front suspension and steering wheel. Front disc brakes help it stop with more certainty, while the 265ci (4.3 liter) V-8 engine is supplied by a four-wheel carburetor. Holley barrels and is powered by a 700R four-speed automatic transmission linked to a two-speed Powerglide shifter. The 15-inch steel wheels are wrapped in a true set of Firestone whitewall tires, providing even more originality. Finished in a new Crystal Red finish, the interior features specially designed Al Knoch bucket seats, custom window panes, gauges from 1956 mounted on the factory 1954 dashboard, and more. Entered into the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, this car was also named a personal favorite by legendary custom car maker George Barris at the Corvette Funfest, also in 2015.

Why Didn’t GM Ever Make a Corvette Corvair?

When the 1953 Corvette was released to the public, its style and fiberglass construction was groundbreaking, but only 300 were sold. It looked amazing, but compared to sports cars coming out of Europe, competitive performance was sadly missing from the mix, in part due to the Blue Flame’s in-line six-cylinder engine and the two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. Without a manual transmission to compete with German, Italian and British offerings, the Corvette isn’t a viable option for many. As such, sales are sluggish, and Chevrolet is considering shutting down the Corvette.

Get into Zora Arkus-Duntov (remember him and the Ford OHV Ardun flathead engine kit?). Zora knew a few things about performance and had the big idea of ​​adding a V-8 engine and manual transmission to the Corvette so that it could better compete in the sports car segment. However, his rescue from the Corvette didn’t happen fast enough to save the Corvette Corvair design, and the concept car was sent into oblivion. The red one replicated here disappeared right after the Motorama show, and a version of the Seafoam Green (some say it’s actually the same car, repainted) was shown across the country before performing the same disappearing act.

1954 Chevrolet Corvette Corvair Mecum Replica Concept Highlights

  • Handcrafted by Brett Henderson of Blue Flame Restorations, with every effort made to emulate the original GM Motorama concept car.
  • 265ci V-8 . engine
  • Four-barrel Holley carburetor
  • The 700R four-speed automatic transmission is connected to the two-speed Powerglide shifter
  • 15 inch steel wheel
  • Whitewall Firestone correction period
  • new paint
  • Entered the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March 2015
  • Original 1956 rear and AC Delco . shocks
  • Original 1954 . front suspension and steering parts
  • Front disc brake
  • Gauges from the 1956 model installed on the factory dashboard 1954
  • Custom designed Al Knoch bucket seat
  • Special window glass
  • Named a personal favorite by legendary custom car maker George Barris at Corvette Funfest in 2015

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