Has your heart ever missed a beat? As I walked toward the four-car garage behind an early 20th century country home, I knew what awaited me behind the solid oak wooden doors: A 1954 Corvette in cherry red.
As I swung open the twin doors, she smiled at me. She knew what was about to happen. The glistening chrome was kissed by the morning sunlight. Her red lines seemed to flow in every direction but culminated at her tail fins and those white walls screamed, “Take me dancing!”
As I got in the car, I could feel the white stitching against the matching leather coax me into starting the engine. I fired her up and the symphony of her inline six perform the interlude. I was about to ride a unicorn. The C1 was the most prolific sports car ever built and the brand has never skipped a beat.
1954 Corvette: A classic car lover’s dream ride
To this day, the Corvette holds the DNA of every driver on the planet. Lucky for you, I am going to tell you why.
As I pulled out of the garage and onto the drive, I couldn’t believe what was happening. The aroma of high-octane fuel gently caressed the smile on my face. I could hear the orchestra awaiting my instruction. So, I let them have it. I peeled out onto the country road and for a split second I knew exactly what Harley Earl was thinking when he created this masterpiece.
Image: Sergey Kohl/Shutterstock
Everything appeared to be in the right place. I often wonder how this vehicle made so much sense for me and for the Duke. Then again, he gifted it to Ward Bond after realizing it was too small for him.
The gear shift’s handle fit perfectly in my hand. The seats bounced every so slightly leaving me airborne for a second as I made the first turn. But a swift rotation of the wheel and I hard her set on a course for adventure. I giggled when the car’s rear end swerved out.
Hands-free driving? Not in these parts
I moved with the vehicle. I embraced it. It was awkwardly reminiscent of my first jump out of a plane. The enjoyment was uncanny. The responsiveness of the accelerator, the effortless movement of the steering wheel and the sheer beauty of the stark white dashboard against the sportsman red everything.
Sold for $126,500 at a Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale in January, a Resto-Mod 1954 Corvette with a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 and a custom aftermarket chassis.
Sitting in this piece of art as she squealed at every turn, I felt like I was part of it. Driving along the swerving back roads just north of Toronto, I could almost imagine what I looked like as I sped up and down the rolling hills. A sense of sheer serenity overcame me and for an instant I was thrown into another time. This vehicle and its descendants survived the test of time if not overcome it. The 1954 Corvette has been embraced by all walks of life from Generals to Freshmen. Like true classic cars, it has transcended time.
It embodies progress. When you drive it, you feel it. When you feel it, you just … know.
Top image: BananaHub/Shutterstock
Sold for $92,400 at a Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale in January, a restored 1954 Corvette.