1954 Chevy Corvette - Take Out Or Delivery?

The '54 "Pizza Man" racer is a slice of Corvette-racing history

Christopher R. Phillip Apr 4, 2013 0 Comment(s)

"How to reconfigure the car became somewhat of a question for me, given its 10-year tenure on the track, and the many changes it went through—both cosmetically and mechanically—over that time period," Hampton says. "When I looked through the racing prism of the car, with its many successes in four classes [E/F/G and H Modified Production], its World Championship Points wins, and its eight national records, I had to determine what snapshot in history would rule the restoration."

Vemp 1304 07 1954 Chevy Corvette 1967 Nhra Nationals Victory 1/10

Eventually he decided that the car's win at the NHRA Indy Summer Nationals in 1967 represented the zenith of its success, so that became the starting point for the project. "At Indy, the Pizza Man Corvette employed three 45mm DCOE Weber side-draft carburetors; those were easy to find. Not so the manifold, which was a harder hunt," he says. "I sourced a flat '54 hood from California, but the big issue was the hard top. With the exception of two dozen bubble tops made by Model Builders for GM, the primary sources for '53-'55 Corvette hardtops were manufacturers Glasspar, Scott Top, and Plasticon. Finding any one of these three limited-production tops 50 years after they were produced was difficult. Moreover, the rear-window dimensions of these aftermarket tops never looked the same as what I saw in the vintage photos of the car. I have no idea of the origin of the top pictured in those photos.

"During the search, I came across a template for a '53-'55 Corvette hardtop, which had what appeared to be the correct rear- window dimensions. Since it was just a thin piece of fiberglass with the correct side- and rear-window contours, I enlisted Pebble Beach concours restorer Bob Lorkowski of L'Cars of Cameron, Wisconsin, to construct the top.

"Working from that fiberglass template and a vintage photo of the Pizza Man Corvette, the shop's fabricator, Blaine Downer, built a perfect recreation within two weeks. L'Cars also painted the correct hood to blend with the car's patina. Danny Dean of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, reapplied the race car's hand-painted decals and lettering. A set of American Salt Flat wheels on the front and chrome reverse wheels in the rear completed the restoration."

Vemp 1304 08 1954 Chevy Corvette Earl 2/10

Hampton says he's enjoyed the Pizza Man Vette for more than a decade, but now it's time for the car to be enjoyed by a new owner. If your taste buds are crying out for a slice of Corvette Racing History, contact Mecum Auctions at www.mecum.com.

Vemp 1304 09 1954 Chevy Corvette Rear Three 3/10

By 1970, Britt had added "7 Time NHRA Record Holder" to the Pizza Man Corvette's rear quarters. Also note the Cragars on the front, and the class change to F/MP.

Spec Sheet
1954 Chevy Corvette
Owner Dan Hampton; Galesville, WI
Block GMC inline-six iron
Displacement 301 ci
Compression Ratio 11:1
Heads Wayne
Valves Unknown
Camshaft Moon Racing Cams, specs unknown
Rocker Arms Unknown
Pistons Jahns
Crankshaft Unknown
Rods Carrillo
Intake Manifold Weber
Carburetion Weber 45mm DCOEs
Ignition Stock Delco
Transmission B&M Turbo-Hydramatic three-speed
Front Suspension Stock
Rear Suspension Stock
RearEnd Stock with 4.56 gears
Front Brakes Stock drums
Rear Brakes Stock drums
Wheels American Salt Flat (front)/Chrome Reverse (rear)
Front Tires Firestone Drag 500 8.45-15
Rear Tires Goodyear Drag Slicks 9.00-15
Fuel Octane 102
Weight 3,400 lbs. with driver
Best E.T./MPH 12.17/118
Best 60-ft. N/A
Current Mileage Unknown
Miles Driven Weekly 0

The Pizza Man Corvette's NHRA National Class Wins
Date Class Racetrack E.T./MPH
9-25-1965 E/MP M & N Raceway NA/99.85
6-3-1967 E/MP Oklahoma City NA/108.03
6-7-1967 E/MP S.R.C.A Raceway 13.09/NA
7-15-1967 E/MP Minnesota Dragway 12.88/108.56
10-28-1967 E/MP Southwest Raceway 12.68/NA
5-4-1968 F/MP Denver Raceway NA/106.38
5-23-1970 H/MP Thunder Road Dragway NA/112.82
6-27-1970 H/MP Thunder Valley Dragway 12.17/NA

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