Rhoads Chevrolet - The Chevillac


 1954 Corvette Sporting a Cadilac V8

The Chevillac

The October 1954 Motor Trend article shows a 1953 or early 54 Corvette with a Cadillac engine and Hydramatic tranny.   (The overflow tank for the radiator is the production tank and lacks the bands that Chevy placed on most 54 Corvettes).   Walt Woron took the Chevillac to a drag strip, and the Cadillac drivetrain certainly improved the performance of the Corvette.  The Chevillac hit 86.12mph in the ¼ mile race, when stock Corvettes were turning around 74mph.  The Chevillac could go from 0 to  60mph in 8.3 seconds, while the stock Corvette took about 11 seconds to get to 60mph.  These times don’t look all that great when compared to later Corvettes, but in 1954, I suspect many guys were amazed by what the Chevillac could do. 

Walt Woron noted that the Cadillac drivetrain added about 230 pounds to the car, with about 56 percent of the total weight of  the car landing on the front end.   Woron stated that the extra weight adversely effected handling, with the rear end coming around too quickly when de drove the car hard.  Woron also noted that the conversion cost added about $2000 to the cost of a Corvette purchased new from Rhoads Chevrolet.  

The collection of ebay pics from Rhoads Chevrolet contains an engine shot of a Chevillac Corvette.   The engine pic is different than the pic contained in the Motor Trend magazine.  In the ebay pic, the radiator overflow tank is a 1954 job – with the two bands.   The carb is different, and the ebay pic shows a windshield wiper fluid jar.  Thus, I think it is reasonable to conclude that Rhoads Chevrolet created at least 2 Chevillac Corvettes.

Russ Uzes
Mill Valley CA
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