1953 Corvette #276

Driven Hard - 1957 to 1974

A pic of 1953 #276 in 1957 

David Elie worked in the trust department of a bank, and was a very active ski coach in the Pacific Northwest during the winter. A bachelor for much of his life, David apparently loved his 1953 Corvette, and drove the 53 Corvette EVERYWEHRE. David was very much a Corvette enthusiast - David was a Charter Member of the Pacific Northwest Corvette Association (circa 1958) for example. David was also an early owner subscriber to the Corvette News. When Corvette News conducted a survey of 1953 owners in 1969, David told CN that #276 had about 270,000 miles on it. The Tachs David used support this mileage. (The CN Plaque Given to 1953 Corvette Owners Who Particpated)

David snapped a fair number of pictures of his 1953 Corvette from 1957 to 1969. These pictures show the car starting out as an everyday workhorse/fun car/ski car, and the evolving into a collector car. Here are a number of pics of the car in chronological order:

1957 Pictures

53 #276 on A Foggy Day
Same as Above
A Bit Blurry

David claims that the car was very original when he acquired the car in 1957, other than the gold paint. The above pictures confirm that to the extent possible. The hood, trunk, body, steering wheel, side mirror, hood emblem, chrome and stainless, and wheel covers all appear to be original. Over time, David changed many of these things. Thus, as you look at the pictures below, you will see on-going changes to the car.

At Ellensburg Race in 1958

53 #276 on the Left
A 57 FI Corvette and a 56/57 Corvette
Group Photo with 53 #276 in Backgound

More Corvette Race Pics
More Corvette Race Pics
More Corvette Race Pics

David was a race fan. David apparently did not race the 1953 Corvettte competitively. But David was into performance, and modified his 53 Corvette to maximize the car's performance. As the above pictures show, David attended races. And David also served as pit crew for cars sponsored by Davies Chevrolet in Seattle (where David purchased many parts for his 53 Corvette).

Gymkhana Win - 1959

Name Plate on Trophy
Trophy for Winning Group
Gymkhana Results

David particpated in several Gymkhanas, and one at least one of them. David entered a Gymkhana in June 1959 held on a Boeing field in Seattle, and finished first in his class and sixth overall. David received a trophy (above) and a dash plaque. David entered another Gymkhana in 1963, and finished well ahead of a number of newer Corvettes.

Ski Pics - Late 50s to Early 60s

Great 1963 Photo
Blurry View of the Trunk on Ski Day
Blurry, But Showing the Ski Setup

David was a HUGE ski fan. David's life was centered around skiing - he was a excellent skier, and coached young skiers for years. David was close friends with Olympic caliber skiers and ski designers. David was also the Vice President of the United States Ski Association at one point. During the winter months, David toured the western United States skiing and coaching skiers. David probably averaged 20k miles a year, most if driving to ski events.

David's wife says that the 1953 Corvette was a heck of a ski car. Nimble, fast, and reliable. So many miles on wet slick roads, and the car is unhit and without rust. Just amazing.

David modified #276 in several way to deal with the snow/ice/mud conditions he faced - metal trunk divider, metal strips on driver's side, metal strips on passenger side

David also had a special hardtop custom made in Seattle for #276. The hardtop is a marvel - the hardtop has lights above the driver and passenger doors, and a vent and reflectors on the back. I suspect the vent helps greatly with the flow of air in the cockpit when the side curtains are in.

Corvette News Photos in 1969

Nice Shot of Front
Photo Eventually Published by CN
Blurry Cockpit Photo

David told Corvette News in July 1969 that #276 had approximately 270k miles on it. The mileage is supported by the revs on David's mechanical tachs. David obviously drove the car very hard form at least a decade, with many miles coming in winter type driving. As you would expect with all the miles David put on the car, David was frequently replacing parts and even upgrading the car. By the time 1969 rolled around, #276 had a completely new drivetrain.

Corvette Shows in Ealry 1970s

Interest in restoring and collection Corvettes started to catch on in the early 1970s. David was a fairly early member of Ed Thiebaud's Vintage Corvette Club, and Ed published several pictures of #276 in the VCC magazine (Picture 1, Picture 2) I don't know if the shows David attended in the Seattle area were VCC events, or just a group of local Corvette enthusiasts. I see VCC grille badges on several of the cars, including David's #276, so the above pics could relate to a VCC event.

Mid - 1970s - David Elie's Corvettes

1978 - David ElieWith His Corvette

2004 - David Elie Behind The Wheel - 47 Years After Buying #276

Russ Uzes
Mill Valley CA
Russ Email