Today we are looking back at a rare 1954 Corvette Bubble Top. GM styling chief Harley Earl commissioned approximately 20 plastic bubble canopy tops for the 1954 Corvette, most of which went to special customers and dealers.
The C1 Corvettes (first-generation)did not have a factory hardtop configuration. The base Corvette cost $2774.00.
There were bubble tops for the early Corvettes produced by a handful of aftermarket companies including Model Builders of Chicago, Plasticon, and Scottop of California. The bubble tops were crafted from plexiglass and provided taller drivers a tad more headroom in the cockpit. These ran around $500.
1954 Corvette History
Chevrolet began production of the 1954 Corvettes from its freshly refurbished St. Louis plant on December 28, 1954, after projecting sales of 10,000 units per year.
But, production slowed to a virtual standstill. The result of low demand was caused by the difficulty potential buyers had faced trying to buy the 1953 Corvette model.
To bring them back into the fold, Chevrolet offered an expanded color range. Amazingly, 85 percent of buyers still opted for the Polo White used exclusively in 1953.
Changes were few in 1954 Corvette models.
- The dual tailpipes were extended to eliminate the staining caused by the shorter pipes used in 1953
- Twin chromed open-element air filters replaced the original three bullet-shaped inlets
- A new camshaft added 5 HP, raising output to 155 HP
- The dual hood latch arrangement on 1953 models was replaced by a single release.
The 1954 Corvettes were offered with a wide variety of so-called options, including directional signals, a heater, signal-seeking AM Wonderbar radio, parking-brake alarm, courtesy lights, and vacuum-operated windshield washers, all of which were installed by the factory on every car produced.
1954 Corvette Blue Flame Six
All Corvettes that year were powered by the 235/155 HP Blue Flame Six engine mated to a Powerglide 2-speed automatic transmission.
1954 Corvette Bubble Top Auction Results
Needless to say, there were not many 1954 Corvettes with Bubble Tops. But, we have found three that have gone across the auction block, and as you will see the prices vary greatly.
Our first Corvette is a 1954 Bubble Top Corvette that was on display at the Bob McDorman Corvette show in 2007. This car sold for $50,000 in 2010 at the Mecum Auction on November 6.
This car sold for $50,000 in 2010 at the Mecum Auction on November 6.
Our next 1954 Corvette Bubble Top sold for $88,000 At the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach auction in 2015.
Our next 1954 Chevrolet Corvette Bubbletop Roadster sold at RM Sotheby’s auction in January 2012 for $176,000.
It had just completed a frame-off restoration and only had 57,000 miles on it. In addition, it was featured in the August 4, 2010 issue of Auto Week in an article chronicling the unusual bubble-top accessory as well as in Noland Adams’ Corvette Restoration and Technical Guide (pg. 37).
Wayne Ellwood had a great collection of Corvette Bubble tops in this article C1 Corvette – THE HISTORY OF BODY KITS & DRESS-UP PARTS The photo below is from this article and is a custom 1955 Bubble Top Corvette.
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