The Superior 54 Sport Wagon Project History
The Superior 54 Sport Wagon project was started in the 1980s by an individual trying to build his own piece of history. The years went by and the project languished. In 2004, Superior Glass Works acquired the unfinished dream. Five more years and many thousands of hours later, the Superior 54 Sport Wagon is available…at last.
The journey was one that combined old-school craftsmanship and leading-edge technology. One of the most significant pieces of this project was to create the ‘plug’ – the body from which a mold could be made. Without an original body to start with, the plug was build using wood, foam, fiberglass, body filler, steel and anything else that would yield the desired form. These materials were shaped entirely by hand using only simple tools to create an extremely accurate model from which the molds were made.
The next phase of the project blasted our team into the modern era of product design and development. The now-perfect plug was imaged with a 3-D scanner, producing electronic files of the body from every angle. These were handed off to a CAD drafter to digitally create all of the body and window trim pieces. Rapid-prototyping technology was utilized to produce each part in full scale that were then installed on the body. After final hand-fitting of each trim piece, the master parts were finished and ready for production and chrome.
Since we were building a Corvette tribute car, it only seemed fitting to use the high-performance 1997-2005 C5 Corvette suspension under the skin. Leveraging decades of in-house street rod and racing chassis experience, and working with our friends at Art Morrison Enterprises, we designed a chassis from the ground up to meet our exact specifications. Art Morrison then built it up in their leading edge chassis production facility and we have a world-class platform on which this car will drive.
Many challenges were encountered and all were overcome through hard work, innovation, and creativity. Superior Glass Works received a lot of help from many people along the and we would like to thank and recognize them here:
Body - Legendary Styling. 21st Century Performance.
The 1954 Motorama show introduced a car that was revolutionary in its day: A Corvette-based wagon that blended sleek sports car styling with wagon practicality. Modern in its time, timeless in its appeal, the Chevrolet Nomad concept became more than a car. It became a legend.
Manufactured with the highest-quality, hand-laid composite and reinforced with a stout steel sub-structure, the body is skillfully built with every attention to detail, including a complete set of custom-crafted window glass and chrome trim. The body’s stunning looks are enhanced by modern conveniences such as power windows, power door locks and air conditioning.
Your Complete Rolling Package will be delivered with the body and chassis fully assembled — ready for you to add paint, interior, engine, wiring and other personal touches to create the Retro, Custom, or Pro-Touring look you want.
The fore-father to the famous 1955-56-57 Chevy Bel Air Nomad, the prototype 1954 Motorama show car introduced the world to the 'form before function' sport wagon. The Superior 54 is true in size, proportion, and function to the prototype.
Clean lines and an exquisite balance of window height to the lower body really set this car apart.
One of the most dramatic and difficult to reproduce features of this car is the radically sloped windshield that wraps down and around to the A-pillars. Each windshield is custom made and included with each Complete Rolling Package.
A close up view of the windshield, shown in the green tint commonly used in the 50's. The windows are also available in clear or a light gray smoke tint. Also note the removable cowl vent panel. This can be fixed in place, smoothed over, or made functional. NOTE: Shown with prototype window trim. Production trim is at the chromer.
Those teeth! Possibly the most famous grill in American automotive history still looks great after all these years. Top quality reproduction grill teeth, bumpers, and headlight rings are included and installed with each Complete Rolling Package. The chrome fender and door spears are custom made for this car. They differ from the trim used on the production Corvettes in that the fin points down instead of up. This historically correct detail adds to the authenticity of each Superior 54 Sport Wagon and is also visually stunning.
Side sliding windows are functional, included, and installed. We use reproduction Nomad stainless trim and window gaskets to seal and finish the joint where the two windows meet. Power door windows are also standard with each Superior 54.NOTE: Shown with prototype window trim. Production trim is at the chromer
This is a sports car, not the family wagon, and it has the stance to match. Low to the ground but still quite drivable as all the suspension, driveline, and exhaust sit within the frame rails and do not hang down. Roof height is elbow-high on this 6-foot tall man, or about 54". This will vary depending on suspension settings and wheel/tire choice.
Ready to accept original or reproduction 1953 Corvette dashboard parts including the speedometer bezel, speaker bezel, and gauges. Corvette experts will note that the dashboard has been widened several inches on either side on the center gauge cluster as the Superior 54 is wider than the original Corvette.
The one-piece fiberglass floor lays directly on the frame rails and is bolted down prior to installing the body. Additional balsa and Coremat reinforcement will be added later in the production process.
The Superior 54 Sport Wagon chassis is equipped with modern, high-performance, C5 Corvette suspension that not even the renowned auto-innovator Harley Earl could have imagined. Designed and built in partnership with Art Morrison Enterprises, Inc., the chassis brings today's sports car technology to this classic.
An Art Morrison perimeter frame built to our specifications serves as the sturdy and capable foundation for this sports car. We use low-mileage, original equipment 1997 – 2004 Corvette suspension components as the basis for the Superior 54 chassis. We add Art Morrison’s front cross member, steering arm, sway bar, and power rack and pinion steering to the stock Corvette control arms, spindles, and brakes. Hi-performance coil over shocks replace the stock leaf spring. The independent rear-end and transaxle are bolted to the frame using a narrowed stock cradle, with the half-shafts and leaf spring narrowed accordingly.
Your Complete Rolling Package will be delivered with the Body and Chassis fully assembled—ready for you to add paint, interior, engine, wiring and other personal touches to create the Retro, Custom, or Pro-Touring look you want.
The Chevy LS-V8 motor mounts are provided and installed. These custom motor mounts are insulated at the frame with urethane bushings. We have this design in hundreds of high-performance chassis over the years for everything from mild-small blocks up to blown big-blocks.
Complete Rolling Chassis.
Includes Corvette C5 front and rear suspension, transaxle (6-speed shown), brakes lines, torque tube and driveshaft. Wheels, tires, and engine not included.
Using the torque-tube from the shorter-wheelbase C5 required we stretch it and the driveshaft. The brake lines and exhaust will route through under the center stiffening plate, but not hang below the frame rails.
Close up shot of the Corvette IRS. All of the original components and geometry are maintained.
Narrowed half-shaft in the C5 rear suspension
More information is available at www.superior54.com
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