Driver-Quality Cruiser: 1961 Chevrolet Corvette

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The first generation (aka C1) of the Chevy Corvette would continue to soldier on in 1961, not due for replacement until the Sting Ray era that would begin in 1963. The most noticeable changes for ’61 were in the styling in the rear of the car where a “ducktail” look was adopted. Under the hood and inside the passenger compartment, things were mostly status quo. This nice, driver-quality 1961 Corvette has been in the same family for decades and could be a nice weekend vehicle, as long as perfection isn’t required. Located in Hickory, North Carolina, this ‘Vette is being offered (we think) by a dealer here on eBay where the bidding has reached $43,300.

Few cars that are in production today have the rich history of the Chevy Corvette. Beginning with 1953, every model year has seen a Corvette in Chevy’s showrooms, except for 1983 (a transition year). Eight generations have led to the most sophisticated version of the car built today, using a mid-engine layout for the first time. The C1 from 1953 to 1962 may be most known for its “starring” role in the 1961-64 TV series, Route 66, where Martin Milner and his companions tooled around the country in a shiny new Corvette. Just under 11,000 copies were built in 1961.

This example may be finished in Jewel Blue paint, although it looks darker than what Chevy offered, so perhaps it’s an older repaint. The seller says the ‘Vette looks nice from about 15 feet, but once we get closer you see the nicks and chips that would be associated with an older car that’s been used minimally in recent years. If you like a vintage car with a few minor war wounds, you could drive this Chevy without much worry. The driver’s door will need some adjustment as it does not open and close properly.

The interior could be original though 106,000 miles is a lot of use for 1960s materials. We’re told the car runs well and the seller assumes the engine and transmission are original but has not attempted to verify that. The 283 cubic inch V8 was the engine of choice that year, with several iterations available including fuel injection. Three-quarters of all Corvettes came with a manual tranny, and this car has a 4-speed. The tires are affixed to a set of later Chevy Rally wheels and have most of their usable rubber left. If you bought this Corvette, would enjoy it the way it is or opt for a complete restoration?

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Don’t think I’d do a restoration just so I could drive it. One thing I would do though is get the ride height down to stock or a little lower so you can get around a corner without losing control of it.

    Like 6
  2. TRP

    I agree with the comment about bringing it down a touch. I would also pitch the rally wheels for the correct hubcaps. In my garage, Rally wheels have no place on a C1.

    Like 6
  3. Rw

    Put some Radir wheels and drive it.

    Like 1
  4. Jost

    My thoughts are a little bit different:
    Rebuild the suspension with corrected , lower it a bit and put disc brakes up front ( leave the rallye wheels or put on tourque thrusts). re cusion the seats, freshen the engine a little bit and enjoy driving it! Its refreshing to see a car that is not only restorable for a backyard wrench but one that can be driven while you upgrade it. Great find!

    Like 7
  5. Doug Melton

    I think the car was originally red.

    Couple places look like touch of red paint below the blue. Not that it matters.

    Like 1
  6. Hammer

    Ya would think for this kind of money the owner would look up the numbers? Same with the build sheet on the 70 road runner , flip the seat and look. Wouldn’t that be a plus for making a sale? Cause that car needs all the help it can get. Just saying.

    Like 2
  7. CeeOne

    I agree on the height! I can’t stand the way the beautiful stock valve covers have had those vents put on them. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    Like 0
  8. Lance

    Hmmmm, says the engine shows no issues and runs strong. I wonder if they can explain the oil on the oil pan and why there is oil dripping off the tie rod ends. Looks like a great car to just drive around and not worry if it got another scratch.

    Like 1
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      You could probably find that those rocker cover vents sucking and blowing could produce enough oil to cover the pan and tie rods. Good way to get road dust in your engine. Got one aluminum valve cover with those vents on it but they don’t vent, just sit there and look cool.

      Like 1
  9. CCFisher

    I do like the duck tail C1s, but why does this one ride higher than a Subaru Outback?

    Like 0
  10. RexFoxMember

    Jost’s suggestions align with my thoughts completely. 61s and 62s are my favorites because they have a trunk with that great looking C2 style and fixed headlights.

    Like 0
  11. chrlsful

    “Missed it by this much” (holding up a bearly not touching thumnb’n forfinger)
    “One year.” (Big smile)
    ‘Duck’s tail’ you say & I call it his… well, leave that out for substitute “DA”.

    The car didnt pull it together till later (4th yr?) and lost it again in ’61. For 4 yrs (& again in ’63) it was a home run w/all bases loaded. My opinion (who cares)? the DA was not as damaging as other mods coming w/C2. THAT needs hrd top & split window or is a loss too. I hate the mako shark years but now I’m really off the point.
    Great color, nice ride (w/o custom hight), wrong wheels~

    Like 0
  12. Mike J

    Not surprised that it’s gone. That was a great price. As a matter of fact Barn Find’s had a double today. That 68 L89 was surprisingly priced right as well. Great job.

    Like 1
  13. Stanley

    I agree with Hammer on the numbers and build sheet issue, and here’s my thoughts, I believe that most sellers have looked for let’s say a build sheet and didn’t find one, so they say they didn’t look for one to give the new owner some hope, unfortunately I feel a lot of people are misleading, but that’s me!!

    Like 1

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