When it comes to owning highly-collectible Corvettes, having one made during Corvette’s first year of production ranks up there as one of the highlights. When you consider only 300 were made and that was over 70 years ago, it’s easy to get an idea of the rarity of one of these beauties!
We recently told you about the surfacing of what is thought to be the absolute first production Corvette ever produced. While this car being offered may not hold title to that status, it will still become the highly-prized possession of a Corvette enthusiast somewhere. This car is serial #100 and will be up for grabs as part of Carlisle Auctions’ two-day classic and collector car auction at the Carlisle Expo Center. Many incredible (and desirable) cars have crossed Carlisle’s auction block over the years, but this is the first time the auction house has offered a 1953 Corvette.
The 1953 Corvette’s Early History
This particular car was reportedly built in October of 1953 and delivered to Tom Hoskins Chevrolet in Chicago, Illinois for one of its customers. The car’s first owner was none other than Cyrus Rowlett (C.R.) Smith, the founder and CEO of American Airlines from 1934 through 1968, and again from 1973-1974. Mr. Smith also served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the United States Secretary of Commerce. He was also a United States veteran and is laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery.
The little, Polo White Corvette changed hands numerous times over the past seven decades. The sale of the car comes with significant documentation of the car’s provenance and history since Mr. Smith owned it. It has retained many original components from when it rolled off the Flint, Michigan assembly line so many years ago. Its engine number is 535454 and it still bears the Corvette’s special six-cylinder head with casting number 3836066.
The car’s original, vacuum-bag-molded fiberglass body was treated to a repaint in acrylic lacquer in 2019. Even though the Corvette has been repainted, it is clarified this is not a restoration piece. “Its body has never been separated from the chassis,” states Alan Blay, Editor of On Solid Ground, the magazine of the Solid Axle Corvette Club. He goes on to say, “…other than a 2019 repaint, it’s emulated as close as possible to the car’s original finish and appearance.”
The car will be up for grabs at the Carlisle Expo Center as part of Carlisle Auctions’ two-day classic and collector car auction on April 20-21, 2023. The auction starts at 12 p.m. each day and takes place in conjunction with Spring Carlisle, a five-day event that includes an automotive flea market and car corral. To learn more about the Spring Carlisle event, visit CarlisleEvents.com or call 717-243-7855. For complete information on the auction, feel free to contact the Carlisle Auctions staff at directly 717-960-6400 or visit CarlisleAuctions.com.