When Chevrolet introduced the Corvette in 1953, we’re sure that they knew that they had something good. But, we doubt they knew just how good. The legacy they started more than a half century ago has only gotten stronger over the years, and the Corvette continues to be one of the most sought after classic car, and desired new car on the market. This 1954 Corvette built by Griffey’s Hot Rod and Restoration of Knoxville, Tennessee, lives up to the legacy of its name and goes a step further, making it a car that Chevrolet could only have dreamed of when they first released the two-seater.
“In the 37 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never built a complete car for me or my wife. This Corvette is the first car that we built for ourselves,” Larry said. The Corvette sits on a Jameson double-tube chassis with a C4 front and rear suspension. They narrowed the rearend by 3 inches, and had to widen the body by 3 inches in the back and 1 1/4 inches in the front to get the suspension to fit. They also channeled it to get the right height they were looking for.
Part of the reason why Larry widened the body was because of the wheels that he wanted to use. “Most of these early model Corvettes have flat wheels on them,” Larry explained. “The reason is, they need a lot of back spacing to get the wheel tucked under the body. We used a 20×10 on the back and an 18×8 on the front. In order to do that, we needed to widen the body.” Larry doesn’t like the flat-wheel look, so for him, it was worthwhile to make that major modification to get the wheels to fit.
Another big change he made was adding the top and windshield from a ’56 Corvette onto the ’54 body. If you know Corvettes, then you understand that the ’53, ’54, and ’55 Corvettes had snap-in windows, and the ’56 Corvette had roll up windows. An upgrade Larry wanted.
Larry chose to power this car with a supercharged LS1 engine that is bolted to a 4L60 automatic transmission, that sends power to a 3.73 geared rearend. The car also features a cross-flow aluminum radiator, 2.5-inch stainless steel exhaust, and C4 Corvette rack-and-pinion steering. Although this is a stunning car to look at, it’s built to drive just as much as it is to show.
The build also features a leather interior and custom-made Billet Specialties wheels with Baer brakes behind them for stopping power. The instruments are also a one-off custom set made by Classic Instruments.
We love the look and style of this stellar Corvette. In our opinion, if Chevrolet were to remake the ’54 Corvette with the stylistic ideals of the time, the modern technology of today, and the vision of Larry Griffey, then this would definitely be it. It’s the perfect representation of what the Corvette legacy was built on.