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Island Container Find: 1961 Corvette Convertible

An island fantasy isn’t complete without a classic American convertible rumbling along a Hawaiian highway, and for one lucky owner in 1961, this dream came to life. However, like all fantasies, reality catches up. It might be in the form of a bitter divorce or a disgruntled creditor, or simply a frozen caliper. For whatever reason, this 1961 Corvette convertible spent the last several years in a shipping container on the island of Waipahu. Following its recent extraction, it was listed here on eBay.

1961 was a significant year for the Corvette, marking the final year for white wall tires and the coves painted in contrasting colors on the car’s sides. It also saw the introduction of the new rear tail design, with four distinct tail lamps and a mesh grill design. Other styling cues unique to this generation was the wrap-around windshield convertible-only body style. Mechanically, this ’61 has the 283-c.i. V8, but its exact specifications remain unknown. Several options and configurations were available, but this car’s specific equipment can only be confirmed with the engine serial number. The seller mentions that the car turns over and starts with ease.

The seller doesn’t offer much information on the car’s mechanical provenance, so we would recommend following up to see if its numbers matching. The car’s seemingly preserved condition and its manual transmission are added bonuses, indicating to us that this first-generation ‘Vette might indeed be an honest-to-goodness unrestored example. With body damage said to be strictly cosmetic and no mention of rust, we’re hopeful that the ocean air hasn’t wrecked too much havoc despite the car’s less-than-ideal storage conditions.

While the body is in good nick, the interior sounds like the source of the car’s most significant issues. Without pictures and few details, the seller doesn’t specify what needs the most attention, but he does mention that a carpet kit, door panels, seat covers, door handles, knobs and other miscellaneous trim are included in the sale. The dash and gauges are fortunately in good condition, as those pieces command high prices. Without photos it is hard to determine how badly the seats have deteriorated.

As if living in paradise wasn’t enough, a lucky hunter opened the right storage container that hid this ’61 for twenty years. The wide-whites and matching hardtop complete a classic look that we would drive as-is. Though a set of the original spinner-style hubcaps would complement the body’s chrome bumpers, simply removing the top and giving the go-pedal a workout would make us quickly forget the car’s cosmetic shortcomings. Plus, the lucky buyer could have an excuse to fly out to Hawaii and drive their newest acquisition around some of the region’s best roads.


  1. fred

    Didn’t original Corvette engines say Corvette on the valve covers?

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  2. Anonymous

    they had chevrolet on them and thay did not have pcv valves either

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  3. J. Pickett

    Is that a pcv hose on a 1961 engine, I don’t believe it belongs there. Hope it has a realistic reserve.

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  4. m. cullen

    its a 62 model 58 /61 had long singel tail lights

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    • Michael J Amato

      the ’61 and ’62 had the pointed rear deck and twin round tail lights and the ’62 didn’t have chrome trim along the coves.

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      • Tony C.

        They also had a usable trunk that you could put ‘stuff’ in, not like the later models where you had to try and shove gear behind the seats, picnic chairs being one example! On my last visit to the Aussie Corvette Nationals there was a lack of chairs, sun shades and drink coolers on a hot day, took a while to figure out why then it dawned on me.

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  5. scottst

    The Island of Waipahu? How about Waipahu, Ewa, Oahu, Hawaii? Gotta put some effort into these listings.

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  6. Forrest

    In’t no ’61 distrubutor nor air filter neither. Lots of ’70s-’80s poo on there.

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  7. mds

    Seller can’t be bothered to use any capitalization or punctuation at all. It makes his/her listing an unreadable mess. I simply cannot trust a seller who can’t be bothered to at the very least *attempt* to make their listing marginally attractive.

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  8. Alan

    Re: The opening paragraph…No calipers on a ’61 Vette.

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  9. Bill in Texas

    Waipahu is a small town on the island of Oahu.

    The corvette is cool, clean it up, drive it and never put the hard top back on.

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  10. Bob

    Looked at the first paragraph, pretty sure the frozen caliper referred to abandoned cars in general, not this Corvette.

    It is a 61.

    58-60 had the long narrow taillights.

    62s have a piece of trim along the bottom of the side. 61s did not. This is a 61.

    The base engines did not have the aluminum valve covers. They had steel valve covers with a decal.

    I’d worry about frame rot on a car in Hawaii.

    Or maybe they rust from the top down?

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