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Boyd Coddington poses with Steve Pratt's 1953 Corvette.

Boyd realized you shouldn't mess with the classic lines of a 1953 Corvette, so he cleaned it up and have it modern power and handling.
Ron Pratt's 1953 Corvette By Boyd Coddington

by Boyd Coddington, Jr. & Society Staff - reprint with permission only

The history of the "only true American sports car" has seen a tradition of innovation, exploration of performance technology and always-edgy styling that started with this shape you see here, little changed from it’s 1953 intro appearance.

With our 20/20 hindsight, we might not think the first ‘Vettes were that cool, but in those early years it’s clean roadster shape and rocket-booster taillights were a galaxy away from the stodgy passenger cars of the time.

For the Boyd Coddington Garage to tackle one of these rare beauties, customizing the body was not considered necessary, what was needed was a wolf-like chassis and drivetrain to purr beneath the sweet sheep’s clothing. Thus, an Art Morrison GT Sport tubular chassis was made to order and fitted with Corvette C5 front suspension, six-piston Wilwood disc brakes, triangulated four-bar rear end, and the goodies and geometry required to put "now" (great) handling under that "then" body.

Given the Corvettes we’re used to today, it’s hard to imagine that the one thing lacking in the early ‘Vettes was performance to match the sexy shape. For 1953 and 54, they had a warmed-over Chevrolet passenger car six-cylinder and were fitted with Chevrolet's two-speed iron-case Powerglide automatic.

We solved this motivational issue with the injection of an up-to-date Chevrolet LS2 motor and a rugged Richmond five-speed stick trans. We then topped the engine with custom valve covers that disguise the LS2's individual spark plug coils, adding later-’Vette-styled fins and lettering. Further, we made a new engine top that had a finned "plenum" made to look like the Rochester Fuel Injection units of the late 50s and 60s.

Looks, power, handling and comfort is the desired quartet, so Gabe Lopez and crew fulfilled that last item with their buff-colored leather interior with darker-brown inset details. The woven-wool carpet and wood-rimmed Boyd 3-spoke steering wheel added the classy touches of expensive vintage sports cars.

Lets face it, an 80-year-old man with glasses and no teeth could get dates if he held the keys to this machine!

See you on the road . .

Boyd Coddington Jr.

This poster was issued to commemorate the Pratt 'Vette builld

The classic 1953-54 Corvette lines were not altered - they speak for themselves

From every angle, the car looks good. Boyd made sure the body was flawless.

A favorite shot of the early years - head on.

You can't make a modern LS2 V8 look like a "Blue Flame" I6, but you can give it a look that emulates '60s 327s.