1954 Corvair Fastback (It's a Corvette!)

Passenger side rear 1/4 view

1954 Corvair Fastback

The 1954 Motorama Corvair Fastback showcar is a one of a kind fastback 1954 Corvette. The name Corvair is a combination Corvette and Bel Air. The exact number of Corvair Fastbacks is unknown. Some speculate that there were two Corvair Fastbacks: a seafoam green one which shows up white in these pictures and a maroon one which shows up as a dark version in these pictures. Others believe that there was only one and it was painted seafoam green to start then repainted maroon later. Unfortunately, the photographs were not dated so we will probably never know.

The Corvair Fastback was a show car and to create it, they built the roof on a regular Corvette body. It isn't truly a fastback as there isn't an open interior like you would expect - just the roof sitting on a regular Corvette body! The pictures that I have show that the area behind the seats is identical to a regular convertible Corvette with a the storage space for the non existent convertible top!

Here's some extremely rare photos of the Corvair Fastback. It took over 10 years of searching to find these pictures:

rear

Here you can see the rear of the Corvair with the tapered roof and rear window. If you are familiar with a regular Corvette, you'l notice that the Corvair trunk lines are straight coming down the rear quarters compared to the "round" trunk lines of the Corvette.

side

Notice the beautiful curve of the window/roof line, how the C pillar louvers line with the quarter windows and how the roof line flows with the rear fender. Simply beautiful styling!

Front 3/4 View

The Corvair is missing the quarter panel "bird" trim and has 3 louvres for interior ventilation. You can just see the hood bulges with the custom louvered grills. Reminds me of the mid 60s SS hoods.

Front View

This shot shows the front view and how far apart the hood louvered grills are. You can get a peak on how the interior of the roof was finished. Also the front license plate support is missing the cross piece from a regular Corvette.

Door

This is the only picture that I have showing the door open and it gives a good idea of what the interior looked like.

The Original 1953 Convertible Corvair

Most people think that the 1954 Corvair only came as a fastback but it originally was a convertible in 1953! Here's the only two photos in existence of the 1953 Corvair convertible (not sure what color it is as the only pictures found are black and white - I think it might be gold):

53Corvair1

Front view of the 1953 Corvair Convertible

53Corvair2

Rear view of the 1953 Corvair Convertible

The 1953 Corvair Convertible is quite a nice car and reminds me of a cross between the 1954 Olds F88 show car and the 1954 Corvair Fastback. The differences from a regular 1953 Corvette are:

  • Front grille uses the same material as the headlight grilles
  • No center license plate bumpers/uprights
  • Center hood ornament
  • Side trim only goes part way across the door
  • Four fender trim pieces on each side without the short piece behind the door on the rear quarter
  • The trunk lid is like the 1954 Corvair Fastback
  • Exhaust exits through corner bumpers

Why didn't they build these cars?

The 1954 Corvair didn't go into production for a number of reasons, the first reason was poor sales. The 1953 Corvette was a sales disaster with only 315 cars being built. They were actually giving them away to celebrities and dealers as promotional items! In 1954, 3,640 were built and quite a few were not sold by the end of the year! The Corvette was looking like it was going to be cancelled! In 1955, only 700 were built when they were expecting sales of 10,000! The saving grace was the new 265 cubic inch V8 and the 3 speed manual transmission, it turned the Corvette into a true sports car and caught the public's and road racer's attention.

It didn't make sense to start production on a new line of cars when you are only selling 700 cars a year! And they were already redesigning the Corvette for 1956 with a new headlight and taillight design which absolutely did not work with the fastback roof design. So the 1954 Corvair Fastback was a beautiful design exercise that was never destined to go to production. Such a shame.

For the 1954 Motorama car show, besides the 1954 Corvette, there were 3 other show cars built: the 1954 hardtop Corvette, the 1954 Corvair Fastback and the 1954 Corvette Nomad wagon. For pictures of these four 1954 Motorama Show Cars go here!

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Copyright July 2013 Eugene Blanchard