For the 1954 Motorama shows, General Motors Styling Section created not one but three distinct Corvette dream cars: the Corvair fastback coupe, the Nomad station wagon, and the convertible coupe. All three shared some recognizable Corvette features, such as the front grille and fascia treatment, but were given certain unique styling elements in order to set them apart. The Corvair and the convertible coupe maintained the same wheel base and overall length as the 1953 Corvette. The Nomad wagon had a longer wheelbase and was approximately two feet greater in overall length.
The Corvette Convertible Coupe was the closest in styling to the production model. It was painted in a muted yellow hue and it’s main distinctive was a fiberglass removable hardtop that gave the sports car new ”all-weather utility” as touted in the Motorama brochure. This feature would appear on production models as an aftermarket accessories beginning in 1955 and would officially become an option for the 1956 model year.
The Nomad combined the sleek styling of a sports car with the versatility of station wagon. Built with a “glass fiber reinforced plastic” body, the Nomad was two-door with space for six passengers. It was built on modified 115-inch Chevrolet wagon chassis to give it the extra space necessary for this seating capacity. The Nomad also had an electrically operated rear window that automatically retracted into the tailgate when unlocked or could be remotely controlled by a button on the instrument panel. The Nomad was most lauded of the three Corvette dream cars for 1954. A larger version of this concept appeared for the 1955
model year and the nameplate would appear on concepts in the late 1990s and 2000s.
The Corvair dream car
was an experimental two-passenger fastback. It was built with a fiberglass body and was touted as a “new aerodynamic design” for the closed sports car class. The streamlined roofline swept back into the jet exhaust-type rear opening. It was originally a ruby-red color for the New York City Motorama in January but had repainted in a lighter hue by the time of the Los Angeles show in March. Sluggish sales of the 1954 production model Corvette deterred GM management from moving forward with the fastback coupe. Hence, the Corvair was the only one of the trio of designs not to make it to production in some form. Of course, the nameplate would be recycled later for the infamous 1960 Corvair
rear-engined compact car.