1953 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster Heads to Auction


The fifth Corvette ever built, and one of the first three examples ever sold to the public, is to cross the auction block this month.

Based on the 1952 EX-122 concept, the Corvette remains one of the few GM designs that was virtually unmodified for production. It was truly unique, and its highly-anticipated introduction at New York's Waldorf-Astoria in early 1953 drew a crowd of over 300,000 before production commenced in Michigan in June of the same year. The multiple award-winning first-year example is not only one of 200 survivors of the 300 made in 1953, but believed to be one of the first three ever sold.

Bearing serial number 5 it was first purchased in July 1953 and after passing through several owners it wasn't until 1997 that its return to glory began. Over the ensuing 5 years, the Corvette was painstakingly researched and authentically restored to its original condition. Among its many interesting features, Number 5 is the last 1953 Corvette without an outside rear-view mirror and one of the few early Corvettes with a stainless-steel VIN tag as opposed to later aluminum versions. Corvette 5 was also built with a chrome speaker grille and sold to the public, along with Corvettes 4 and 6, with basic chrome Chevrolet Bel Air hubcaps.

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At the heart of the roadster is a 150hp 235ci 'Blue Flame' OHV inline six-cylinder engine mated to a two-speed automatic transmission. Corvette Number 5 retains an impressive, high-point presentation and is accompanied by copies of original sales invoice, GM correspondence and a fascinating document of Corvette's earliest transition from show car to production. As one of the first Corvettes ever sold, it ranks as one of the most important in existence. RM Auctions are thus confident it will meet its $450,000 to $650,000 estimate when it goes under the hammer on the 20 January in Arizona.

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