What Happens To Concept Cars When They Are Done Being Shown-Off?
Sadly, most concept cars are lost. Why? Well, since most don’t carry real VIN numbers, they can’t be sold or even driven on the roads.
So, once their jobs are done the manufactures have to either pay to store them or just send them to the crusher after being stripped of any useful bits. Some manage to survive due to sneaky employees, and some notable ones have been put into the historic collections of manufacturers, but typically they just cease to exist.
Such was the case with the original 1954 Corvette Corvair concept cars. It seems that five (a number open to debate) were built by GM to show off the fastback body style, and the first one was unveiled at the 1954 Motorama Show held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
GM loved to do variations of their new Corvette, including a convertible, a sporty fastback, and a sweet two-door station wagon. Most just faded away, although the station wagon ultimately morphed into a full-size ride called the Nomad.
The fastback body style shown here carried on, but was produced as an entirely different car than the one with four seats, rear-mounted engine, and futuristic design that you see here, called the Corvair (a portmanteau of “Corvette” and “Bel Air”).
This particular 1954 Corvette was hand built to replicate the Motorama Corvair coupe, and was constructed by Brett Henderson of Blue Flame Restorations, with every effort taken to faithfully replicate the concept car.
It’s fitted with an original 1956 rearend and a set of AC Delco shocks, as well as original 1954 front suspension and steering parts. Front disc brakes help it stop more assuredly, while the 265ci (4.3-liter) V-8 engine is fed by a Holley four-barrel carburetor and is backed by a 700R four-speed automatic transmission linked to a two-speed Powerglide shifter.
The 15-inch steel wheels are wrapped with a period-correct set of Firestone whitewall tires, lending it even more period-correct originality. Finished in a fresh coat of Crystal Red, the interior uses custom-designed Al Knoch bucket seats, custom window glass, gauges from a 1956 installed in the factory 1954 dashboard, and more.
Entered into the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, the car was also named a personal favorite by legendary custom car builder George Barris at the Corvette Funfest, also in 2015.