In 1953 Chevrolet introduced the EX-122 Corvette show car at the GM Motorama, at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York. They were using the concept as a gauge to measure interest in a new Chevrolet sports car – the interest from the press and the general public was overwhelming.
Production was approved and the model name “Corvette” stuck with the car, chosen as a reference to the small, maneuverable warship of the same name. For 1953 just 300 were made, and the survivors are hugely collectible today. Chevrolet chose to use the 235 cubic inch Blue Flame inline-6 engine – the more familiar V8 didn’t make an appearance until the 1955 model year with the introduction of the 265 cubic inch unit. The Blue Streak inline-6 is capable of 150 horsepower at 4,200 rpm, thanks in part to its triple Carter side-draft carburettors and factory dual exhausts.
Bucking a common industry trend, the 1953 Corvette looked almost indistinguishable from the EX-122 Corvette concept car. Both utilized fibreglass body construction mounted to an X-frame chassis with the the driver compartment sitting just in front of the rear axle. The suspension used on Chevrolet’s new sports car was the relatively standard double A-arms up front with a live rear axle on dual 4-leaf springs in the rear – the now-famous independent front and rear suspension didn’t come until the second generation Corvettes were released in 1963.
The 1953 Corvette you see here is an older frame-off restoration that’s been refinished in its original Polo White lacquer paint, it also maintains its original Powerglide automatic transmission, optional heater, optional radio, and red steel wheels with whitewall tires. Its chassis number shows that it’s the 204th of the 300 Corvettes built in 1953, and Mecum estimate that it’ll sell for between $200,000 and $235,000 when it crosses the auction block this week. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the official listing.