A 1954 Corvette Roadster bricked away like the victim in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” and sprung decades later bid up to $100,000 but ultimately failed to sell at auction last weekend.
Bangor Daily News had reported the Corvette could fetch upwards of $175,000 at a car auction in Kissimmee, Florida, but in the end, it didn’t clear its reserve price reports car collector blog Hemmings Daily.
The car was originally purchased in 1954 by grocery store magnate Richard Sampson and driven until 1959, at which point Sampson had it sealed — with less than 2,500 miles on the odometer — in a brick and mortar vault at the construction site of one of his stores in Brunswick, Maine. There it remained, undisturbed, for 27 years.
Under the hood, the ’54 Corvette packs Chevy’s trademark “Blue Flame” six-cylinder engine, referring both to the distinctive denim-blue color of the engine block and the extra horsepower that came with that upgrade. “They built her to handle like an angel, with every ounce of weight right where it belongs for perfect balance,” says the speaker in this commercial of the ’54 Corvette, describing it as “clean, sleek and efficient-looking, and light and strong.”
Sampson’s buried Roadster wasn’t due to emerge until the turn of the century (2000), but he voided that order before he died in 1969, allowing his daughter Cynthia to disinter it in 1986 as part of an agreement with an auto dealer who’d purchased the building in 1982. Until she sold it in 1996, the vintage sports car sat in her living room, and even after she let it go, it was kept in its original condition.
Considering how long it’s gone between touchups, it doesn’t look half-bad in the online snaps, though its original “Polo White” finish now looks decidedly more “Entombed Khaki.”