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Jay Leno checks out a 99-point restored 1954 Chevrolet Corvette

With the Chevrolet Corvette celebrating its seventieth anniversary, Jay Leno just lately checked out one of many earliest manufacturing fashions, courtesy of proprietor and Corvette restorer Mike McCluskey.

This 1954 Corvette is from the ‘Vette’s second mannequin yr. Solely 300 vehicles have been made for the preliminary 1953 mannequin yr, nonetheless, so Leno considers 1954 to be the Corvette’s first full manufacturing yr.

The Corvette wasn’t a giant vendor in its early years, partially due to what was underneath the hood. The Blue Flame inline-6 was shared with extra humble Chevrolets, and thus did not get sports activities automotive lovers excited.

1954 Chevrolet Corvette on Jay Leno’s Storage

The Corvette model of the Blue Flame did no less than get three single-barrel side-draft carburetors and a solid-lifter camshaft, bringing output as much as 155 hp. That was pretty aggressive with different small (principally British) sports activities vehicles of the time, although the Corvette weighed extra.

Early Corvettes additionally had a couple of quirks. They lacked exterior door handles and aspect glass, which means anybody might attain in and open the door. The trunk lock was additionally positioned beneath the rear license plate. Engineers within the Nineteen Fifties weren’t too involved with ergonomics.

McCluskey, who additionally restored Leno’s 1957 Corvette and labored on his 1963 Cut up-Window, restored the ’54 to the best way it left the manufacturing facility—warts and all. For instance, the automotive sits decrease on the again, which was executed deliberately by Chevy to make it appear to be it was taking off. For his work, the automotive was awarded a near-perfect 99 factors and gained the Duntov award, each from the Nationwide Corvette Restorers Society, of which McCluskey is a member.

1954 Chevrolet Corvette on Jay Leno's Garage

1954 Chevrolet Corvette on Jay Leno’s Storage

Earlier than he might even take into consideration particulars like that, although, McCluskey needed to counteract a long time of decay. The automotive had been sitting in a fellow Corvette fanatic’s yard for 35 years, and required a three-year restoration to get it to its present situation. No less than the Corvette has a fiberglass physique, which might climate the weather higher than metal.

Talking of fiberglass, the 1954 vehicles used the next grade of the fabric than their predecessors, McCluskey famous. The primarily hand-made 1953 fashions used fiberglass fabric that confirmed via the paint, whereas 1954 fashions have a smoother end nearer to standard sheet metallic.

For a lot of the second half of the video Leno takes the automotive for a drive. You may actually hear the putter of the engine that would not encourage any sports activities automotive fanatic. Watch the total video for extra cool particulars of this meticulously restored Corvette. And in the event you like what you see, be aware that it is on the market.

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