The 1954 Corvette changed little from the 1953 model. Some fine tuning was done, including adjusting the exhaust system to prevent exhaust from being drafted into the car and spoiling the paint job, redoing the side curtains and their trunk storage bag and coloring them to match the interior, modestly boosting horsepower of the 235.5 cubic inch straight six cylinder engine, improving the dashboard layout and the convertible top retraction mechanics, and finally offering more color choices, including the popular Pennant Blue, Sportsman Red and the previous year’s Polo White.
1954 saw Corvette production move to a St. Louis plant for an assembly run of 3,640 cars. The automotive industry’s postwar fascination with modern aeronautics stylings, evident in the front grill work and tail fins on automobiles since the late 1940s, would make an impact on the 1954 Corvette in a curious way. The Corvette design team, after a visit to an Air Force Base, would order approximately 20 aeronautic styled canopy tops to be fitted on 1954 Corvettes. Designed to mimic the domed pilot’s canopy on a fighter jet, these bubbletops were crafted from the relatively new acrylic plastic material now known as Plexiglas.
The canopies, while the stunningly styled defining element on the rarest of collectible cars, they were not the best engineering feature to come from the General Motors Corvette team. Drafty, noisy and leaky, the bubbletops magnified sunlight to make the Corvette cockpit unbearably warm. Even so, sold originally to very special customers and top dealers, the few surviving Bubbletop 1954 Corvettes are among the most prized collectible cars of all time.