Here are some 1954 Corvette Magazine advertisements and a few extra ones for you to enjoy.
If you look closely, some look as if they are duplicates, but there is a slight variation on them. We have also included some brochures and even some postcards. Also, we have included some other Chevrolet Magazine Ads you might enjoy seeing.
There were 3,640 Corvettes produced in 1954, and was the second-year for the Chevrolet Corvette roadster.
While that first group, the 1953 Corvette only produced 300 units, it was offered in only one color combination of Polo White with Sportsman Red interior. The instant commercial success of the Corvette led to demand for a more diverse color palette in which to dress the sporting new vehicle, and by 1954, four exterior color options were made available: Polo White, Black, Pennant Blue, and Sportsman Red.
The first year’s production run of 300 cars took place in a temporary facility inside the Flint, Michigan, assembly plant. Chevrolet started production of 1954 Corvettes in a renovated St Louis assembly plant in December 1953. The shifted production to the new dedicated facility in St. Louis, Missouri, was designed to produce 10,000 cars per year which was anticipated by the company’s optimistic product planners.
Chevrolet Chief Engineer Ed Cole hired Zora Arkus-Duntov who revised the initial rear suspension design and increased the front sway bar diameter to correct a high-speed handling problem.
A new camshaft gave the Blue Flame Six another 5 HP to 155 HP, and breathing was improved through the switch from a bullet-style inlet tube on each of the three Carter side-draft carburetors to a pair of chromed air cleaners on a common manifold.
We hope you enjoyed our collection of 1954 Corvette Vintage Magazine Ads. At the end of the ads is a little trivia you might enjoy.
As we look at the year 1954 and the ads for the 1954 Corvette, I found it very interesting to look at the economy. The Dow Jones rose to an all-time high of 382.74. This was the first time the Dow surpassed its 1929 peak level that it reached before the 1929 crash. This was 25 years to return to pre-crash levels…Wow!
If you worked for the General, your stocks went from 60 to 98 that year. If you owned some gold, the U.S. official price was $35 per ounce at the end of the year. Some say that in 1954, the U.S. had its second-best business year in history and the best peacetime year ever. Unemployment was at 2.9%. The average inflation rate was 0.32%, and the Federal debt was $270.8 billion.
The median income in 1954 was around $3,960 to $4,700, and the minimum wage was 75 cents per hour.
To fill your gas tank, it would have cost 22 cents a gallon. A typical house price was $1,970, and if you wanted a new house that would cost $10,250.00/average. The average rent was around $85.00 a month. If you had to replace your 20-gallon gas water heater, that would have run around $75. To mail your bills out, your postage stamp cost $.03.
The post-war trends were timesaving modern appliances and the fascination with the television. In April, RCA launches a COLOR Television, for $1,000 a copy. There were just a little less than 5,000 sold that first year. If you still enjoyed going to the movie, your ticket cost 70 cents.
For the ‘little women,’ Kenmore adds a delicate cycle to their washing machines for new synthetic fabrics. The Semi-automatic Kenmore washer sold for $154.95. That year Kenmore becomes the number one seller of automatic washers, just five years after introducing them.
Some of the food cost in 1954 include milk-$.92, bread-$.17, and T-bone steak $.95 a pound.
In early December, the first Burger King opened in Miami, Florida; a hamburger cost 19¢.
Another dining option was the new TV dinner. Swanson TV Dinners sold more than 10 million TV dinners for $.98 per dinner. Your menu consisted of Salisbury steak, meatloaf, fried chicken, or turkey, served with potatoes and bright green peas.
The common new car cost $1,700.00 and the base Corvette cost $2,774, now worth between $104,500 and on the low end $38,000, average being $56,900. This is down nine percent from a year ago but up 46 percent over five years. (Reference: Vette-N-Vestments Corvette Price Guide).
Travel was big in 1954. Shell Oil Company published a book, which came with a budget as to what a typical family could expect to pay. Hotels were the largest expense, estimated $7 a day for double occupancy ($4 if you traveled alone). Hotel rates ran from $5 to $30 a day and a 10 percent tip. Children were less (the children-stay-free idea had not come yet). If you wanted to camp, that would cost $1 a night. To save money, they suggested taking along some food to eat, otherwise, estimate $3.50 per day per person. These were the days before credit cards, so families were advised to “keep an eye on expenses, so they would not run out of money.”
In January, the Motorama returned to the Waldorf Astoria. Spectators enjoyed a 27-piece orchestra, 12-voice chorus, fashion models, wide-screen movies and more. This event lasted six days with more than 1.9 million visitors attending.
The ’53 Corvette had stirred them at Ford. In response, they decided to come out with the Ford Thunderbird. Ford unveiled the Thunderbird to the public at the Detroit Auto Show on February 20, 1954. The irony is that the T-Bird became the major reason for General Motors to continue the production of the Corvette. The Thunderbird went on sale on October 22, 1954 (for the 1955 model). This V8 powered car outsold the Corvette. When the new Ford Thunderbird arrived in the dealer showrooms, they received 4,000 orders on the first day. There were 16,155, 1955 T-Birds sold (Corvette sold 700 in the 1955 model year).
Production of the 1954 Corvette ended in December. There were 3,640 built and nearly a third unsold by the year’s end.
In October, Zora Arkus Duntov wrote a memo to Ed Cole and Maurice Olley expressing that the Corvette appeared to be a failure. He also expresses that to drop Corvette would be an admission of failure and suggested to create a separate department to oversee Corvette development.
Perhaps this is why there are so many ads for the 1954 Corvette. We will look at some this month and will look at more over the next couple of months.
As you look at these ads, some look very similar but have slight variations.
Each month in Vette Vues Magazine we feature old Corvette newspaper and magazine ads in our Rear Vues column. If you have never seen Vette Vues you can check out what our subscribers are reading each month in our ISSUE PREVIEW.
Vette Vues Magazine is the oldest continuous Corvette publication. We started in 1972. You can read about our Corvette magazine history HERE.