An Ultra-Rare “Like New” 1953 Corvette!

Here’s Something You Won’t Likely Ever See Again – A Like New 1953 Corvette – and Its For Sale!

How incredible would it be to discover a 1953 Corvette for sale with less than 6,000 miles on the odometer that had been tucked away and carefully preserved for decades?  That very thing happened in Arizona earlier this year when Classic Promenade, a collector and classic car dealer in Phoenix, Arizona, posted this one-of-a-kind beauty for sale in their showroom and on their website.  The car, which is listed for $249,800, won’t take long to sell (despite the hefty price tag)…and here’s why.

Beautifully restored 1953 Corvette, previously owned by Lyle Hill for nearly a half-century.
Beautifully restored 1953 Corvette, previously owned by Lyle Hill for nearly a half-century.

For anyone that is unfamiliar with the history of Corvette, 1953 had the distinction of being the first year of production for the iconic sports car.  Chevrolet built just 300 examples of the Corvette in 1953 after it captured the imagination of U.S. consumers during its debut at the GM Motorama earlier that same year. Although it took a few years for Corvette to fully establish itself as “America’s Sports Car,” the 1953 Corvette is the cornerstone from which all other Corvettes evolved.  (For a complete history of the 1953 Corvette, please click here.)

This 1953 Corvette has less than 6,000 (just 5,820 at the time of this publication) on the odometer!
This 1953 Corvette has less than 6,000 (just 5,820 at the time of this publication) on the odometer!

The significance of this particular 1953 Corvette cannot be overstated.  First, it is believed that this is the lowest original-mileage example of the 1953 Corvette in existence.  Second, while this car has had three owners  since it was new, its second owner – noted Corvette authority Lyle Hill – had the car for most of its life and did a great deal to both preserve and restore the car throughout his years of ownership.  Third, in addition to be an ultra-low mileage example of the 1953 Corvette, this car has achieved the coveted NCRS (National Corvette Restorers Society) Top-Flight Award status…which, in layman’s terms, means this car is in better condition than when it rolled off the assembly line!

Check out this NCRS Top Flight-Winning 1953 Corvette!
Check out this NCRS Top Flight-Winning 1953 Corvette!

Lyle Hill was just twenty years old when he purchased this 1953 Corvettecar no. 87 (of 300) – from Gerald White in Orrville, Ohio on May 21, 1962. After purchasing the car, Mr. Hill drove it for the next four years and then decided to put the car away so that he could restore it.  The car sat for a number of years as Mr. Hill gained repute as a well-known Corvette authority and a source for rare and hard-to-come-by parts for Corvettes of all-generations.

The quality and overall condition of the chrome on this 1953 Corvette is incredible
The quality and overall condition of the chrome on this 1953 Corvette is incredible.

Time passed as time tends to do, and nearly forty years elapsed before Mr. Hill got back around to restoring his beloved 1953 Corvette Now, as a staple in the Corvette community, Mr. Hill was able to turn to many of the top resources in the Corvette community to have the car fully restored for the 50th anniversary celebration of Corvette hosted in Flint Michigan in 2003.

The car includes the correct factory headlight cages around the exposed headlight assemblies.
The car includes the correct factory headlight cages around the exposed headlight assemblies.

Tragically, Mr. Hill passed away in 2014 and his 1953 Corvette found a new caretaker in its third owner (who chose to remain anonymous for the purpose of this article).  The third owner enhanced the 1953 Corvette by hiring noted Corvette restorers Rex Marshall of Bountiful, Utah.  Under the supervision of Corey Peterson, Rex Marshall worked diligently to restore the car to “better-than-new” condition.  The quality and authenticity of this restoration earned the car 96.6 points and NCRS Top-Flight status – the highest honor any Corvette can earn.

The car's Polo White exterior and Sportsman Red interior are exact matches to the original color used on the first-generation Corvette.
The car’s Polo White exterior and Sportsman Red interior are exact matches to the original color used on the first-generation Corvette.

Outwardly, No. 087 is a beautiful example of the 1953 CorvetteThe car is nearly perfect in every detail and is finished in the original factory Polo White paint.  The car’s body has the correct fiber-type and seams showing throughout and is authentic as when the car was new.  The car’s chrome is pristine and is of top quality throughout the car.  The exterior quality of the restoration is outstanding – from front fascia to rear bumper.  The paint and body preparation on this Corvette was completed by John Salvio from Astoria, New York.  The significance of Mr. Salvio’s work cannot be overstated.  It required a detailed understanding of the type and quality of finish work that would have existed in 1953.  While the quality may not be current with today’s standards for mirror-like finished fiberglass, both the panel fit and body finish on this 1953 Corvette are completely accurate and representative of the technology available from GM in 1953.

Factory-matched whitewall tires and painted wheels with proper center cap assemblies.
Factory-matched whitewall tires and painted wheels with proper center cap assemblies.

This 1953 Corvette rides on the correct bias ply tires, has red painted wheels and the correct factory two-eared spinner hubcaps.

Moving inward, the interior of this Corvette has been finished to concours standards.  Both the interior and black convertible canvas top were restored by John Kennedy in Bountiful, Utah.  John has been a long time technical advisor for Corvette tops and interiors for the national NCRS. The car’s vinyl red interior is complimented by the correct two-tone white and red dashboard.  The dashboard itself is pristine and features beautiful design cues with factory-correct chrome bezels surrounding the round gauges and tachometer.  The red carpeting is beautifully fitted through the cockpit.  The aforementioned black canvas convertible top is properly stored in the car’s convertible-top rear storage compartment.  Also, did we mention the car has just 5,819 miles on the odometer? 

The interior of this 1953 Corvette is beautifully restored to better-than-factory standards.
The interior of this 1953 Corvette is beautifully restored to better-than-factory standards.

Moving to under the car’s hood, the No. 087 Corvette’s engine compartment is also a wonder to behold.  The entire bay looks as it did in 1953, with a beautifully detailed 235 cubic-inch “Blue Flame” straight six-cylinder engine and its triple Carter carburetors resting as the center “gem” in this compartment.  As good as the engine looks, it sounds equally healthy with the low rumble of the engine resonating from the dual chromed exhausts tops that exit the body in-line with the rear bumper.  GM‘s venerable two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission provides power to the rear wheels.  The entire drivetrain – engine, transmission and rear axle – are believed to be the original as when this car was brand new.

Did we mention that this Corvette is believed to be the lowest-mileage example of a 1953 in existence?
Did we mention that this Corvette is believed to be the lowest-mileage example of a 1953 in existence?

Interestingly, the car’s clock and tachometer are not currently functioning.  While this is unusual in a car with an asking price of a quarter-million dollars, the value of this incredibly rare and incredibly well-restored Corvette cannot be overstated.

This beautifully maintained/restored "Blue Flame" six-cylinder engine looks as good now as it did back in 1953.
This beautifully maintained/restored “Blue Flame” six-cylinder engine looks as good now as it did back in 1953.

According to the Classic Promenade Classic Car website, this car is still available for sale at the time of this publication.  While we’d expect this Corvette will become part of someone’s private collection, it is our sincere hope that its next owner might consider donating this Corvette to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  As these 1953 Corvettes become increasingly rare, having such an excellent example of this classic machine available to the world for future history would be a great addition to the Museum and to the global Corvette community.

 

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