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1954 Corvette Corvair

1954 Corvette Corvair Concept Car

The Corvair concept car was initially presented to the public at the 1954 Motorama at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan. The Corvair presented at the Waldorf was not the same car that traveled to other Motorama shows throughout the year. It was believed that the original red Corvair was sold shortly after the New York show. The Corvairs presented at the other shows were teal colored.

The design of the Corvair sat well with the attendees of the show due to its cutting edge fastback design. Under Harley Earl, the car took inspiration from jet powered airplanes. The license plate housing was designed to resemble a jet afterburner as the roof line came into the tail section of the car. The front end of the car used production fiberglass and had some styling tweaks to further set it apart from the Corvette. The design was also influenced by more aerodynamic European cars at the time, and wanted to look as streamlined as possible. For example, there were ribbed intakes on the hood to route fresh air into the engine. Although the styling was set apart from a normal Corvette, the Corvair shared the drive-chain and chassis from a C1.

The engine in the Corvair was 3.8L cast iron inline 6 that developed 155 horsepower and 223 lb-ft. The power of the car was matted to a 2 speed powerglide automatic transmission that powered the car through the rear wheels. The interior of the Corvair took similar design cues to the C1 Corvette, but was set apart with some different styling elements. The seats in the car featured custom white covers, and the c-pillars had chrome trim pieces. Additionally, the dashboard was finished off with body colored fiberglass. Although it was a beautifully designed car, the slow sales of the first generation Corvette ended the prospects of the Corvair.