As reported by Hemmings recently: "Six years ago, the oldest production Corvette in existence, Corvette #003, sold for $1,080,000 at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale sale. RM Auctions is not expecting a repeat of that sale when the third-oldest Corvette, Corvette #005, crosses the block (in January) at its Arizona auction, but is still predicting a sale price of about half a million dollars.
This car, VIN E53F001005, is one of the first three 1953 Corvettes sold to the public, and its history is well accounted for. Details are available at both the Hemmings website and, of course, the lot posting at RM Auctions.
Just 300 Corvettes were built in 1953, of which about 200 remain, and "the early cars have some unusual features. This one is the last example built without an outside rearview mirror; it, Corvette #004, and Corvette #006 were the only ones sold with chrome Bel Air hubcaps. It features a VIN tag made of stainless steel, rather than aluminum, and a chromed speaker grille."
This particular "roadster achieved Top Flight certification with a score of 99.6 percent at the National Corvette Restorers Society convention in 2003. The National Corvette Certification Board awarded it Gold Certification in 2004, meaning that it had been restored to at least 95 percent of the way it appeared when it left the factory.
"RM’s pre-auction estimate of $450,000 to $650,000 is about twice the book value of a typical 1953 Corvette in #1 condition." We’ll find out what bidders think it’s worth on January 20, when it crosses the block as Lot 266 in the ballroom of the Arizona Biltmore.