While attending the Sixth Annual Mitchell Ostry Memorial Show and Shine in Prague, Nebraska, we ran across Don and Deb Kubik’s 1954 Chevrolet Corvette. This car is an absolute treasure, and took us back in time to 1954. I was amazed and completely taken in by the story behind this incredible all-original survivor Corvette.
The journey began in 1954 when Don, then an 18 year-old teenager, brought Corvette, T-Bird, and MG brochures home to his sister Crete to pick out a new car. After seeing the Corvette, Crete and her husband Hu purchased this 1954 Chevrolet Corvette from a local dealership, and began a 60 year love affair with the car.
The Corvette became Crete and Hu’s daily driver. When Crete didn’t have her two boys strapped in the passenger’s seat, the Corvette was garaged and covered. Crete and Hu traveled all over the coast in their Corvette, taking trips to Rocky Mountain National Park, and even racing a Austin Healey at 120 mph on the way to Mexico. She had a trailer hitch installed to tow a trailer to carry additional items needed for their trips. Don also drove the Corvette to college and on a trip all the way to Lake George.
For 60 years, Crete and her 1954 Corvette were inseparable. She treasured and loved this car, it was truly her baby. The pristine condition of this old Corvette, is unbelievable. The only damage that ever occurred was when a neighbor boy scraped the side of it with is bicycle. At 92 years of age it’s not certain if Crete ever really forgave him.
Crete was a woman like no other, before she bought the ’54 Corvette, she worked in the bomber plant in the 40’s which is now Offutt Air Force Base, traveling back and forth to work on her 1936 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
In the 62 years of this Corvette’s existence and all the experiences that Crete and Hu shared in they’re lives, and now her brother Don and his wife Deb are sharing many wonderful experiences as the new caretakers of the Corvette. The original mileage on the odometer is 86,335 miles, which would be more appropriately described as 86,335 miles of love.
After 60 years of this amazing Corvette’s love affair that Crete shared with her family, it was her wish that her brother Don continue this wonderful journey when she passed the keys, ownership, and the legacy of this wonderful 1954 Chevrolet Corvette over to him in July 2014.
Since then, Don and Deb have driven and entered the Corvette in over 50 shows, and won over 35 trophies, and awards. Including winning 1st place in the 1976-older survivor class. The first show Don and Deb took the Corvette to was the All Corvette Show and as he was backing the Corvette in, the Corvette Ambassador of the show ask Don “How Much”? I honestly believe that there is not any sum of money that could ever take the keys away from Don’s hands.
Don took home the People’s Choice Award, and he said that was the one that meant the most to him, because people would come by and say, “Thank You for bringing the car for us to see.” Don said the greatest prize is just being able to display the Corvette.
Don became overwhelmed with emotion several times while sharing this amazing story, the love he has for this 1954 Chevrolet Corvette, and his sister Crete was something that no one could ever be able to put into words. Don and Deb will talk endlessly with anyone that comes by to see this wonderful 1954 Chevrolet Corvette.
There was an estimated 3,230 Corvettes produced in Polo White in 1954. 0-60 Times were right at 11 Seconds and the top speed was around 105 mph. The Chevrolet Corvette quickly became known as “America’s Sports Car”, and while the option list was short, the driving experience of it was truly exhilarating for the time.
A 155 horsepower, 235 cubic inch Blue Flame 6 cylinder engine resides under the hood Performance was increased by raising the compression ratio from 7.5:1 to 8.0:1, and adding a solid lifter camshaft, triple side draft Carter carburetors mounted on an aluminum intake manifold, dual exhaust, a chrome coolant reservoir, and 6-volt electrical system. A heater, and AM signal seeking radio were included by Chevrolet to help boost sales of the Corvette in 1954.
Since it has glass side curtains instead of roll up windows, these were stored in a leather case in the trunk. The glass side curtains had a flip open wind wing section that allowed access to the inside door handle knobs, because there were no outside door handles on the Corvettes from 1953 to 1955, only to appear with the new body style beginning in 1956.
It’s the wonderful and loving story behind this Corvette and the Kubik family could never be scripted, but only be lived through the eyes and hearts of a brother’s and sister’s love for each other, and for this very rare, survivor Corvette.
I can’t express enough of my appreciation and thanks to Don and Deb Kubik for sharing this wonderful and inspiring Corvette story with us.