The firm flexed its custom car muscles, began experimenting with the contemporary C5 Corvettes, and the result is a fittingly modified and styled tribute to those early sports car icons. They’re called the 1953 Commemorative Edition Corvettes, and this one recently surfaced on eBay.
While its styling may be polarizing to some of the Corvette faithful, its mission was admirable–meld the triumphant visual cues of the first Corvette with the modern performance afforded by today’s cars. It achieved that through the installation of new retro body panels, replacing the C5’s standard front and rear fascia, hood, fenders, headlights, turn signals, and taillights.
The Commemorative Edition Corvettes packed in significantly more oomph as well. Bear in mind, the ’53 Corvette came with only a 150 horsepower straight-six and a two-speed automatic…not exactly the high step on the performance ladder.
The Commemorative Editions were built using C5 Corvette donor cars provided by AAT’s customers, and this car comes fitted with the hearty 5.7-liter LS1 V8, good for 350 horsepower, which it mates to a four-speed automatic.
The exterior is convincing enough to prompt a double take on the highway, though you’ll have no doubt of what you’re looking at if you take a peek inside. Unlike the the ’53 Corvette, which optioned up a heater or radio, this retro edition packs in all the conveniences offered in the early 2000s.
According to the seller, just over 200 Commemorative Editions were built, this being number 209 of 212. Rarer still is a wagon variant produced by Advanced Automotive Technologies, built in a small handful, which was inspired by the Corvette Nomad show car at the 1954 General Motors Motorama. Spot one of those an you’ll have actually witnessed a unicorn.