It’s a Write Off: 1961 Chevy Corvette


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Not too long ago, we featured a Stingray that had been through a fire, leaving it a ragged pile of a project. Interestingly, it appears as if the same seller has yet another burned-out ‘Vette for sale. This 1961 Corvette here on eBay is well-cooked and begs the question as to what you do with it. There’s not much left aside from maybe some hubcaps and whitewalls, but even those are likely suspect. The seller is asking $18,900 or best offer.


It must have been gut-wrenching for the owner of this Corvette to see his pride-and-joy go up in flames. The fire took no prisoners, scorching the interior along with all outside surfaces. The shift knob may be salvageable, but not much else. It does appear the fire was stopped at some point, since the carpeted floormats are still present and the paint near the bottom of the door and front fender appears to be untouched.


Fiberglass does funny things when it lights up. The Corvette looks more like a stunt double for the Mutts Cutts van Jim Carey drove in Dumb and Dumber than a cherished sports car. It’s odd to see the top isn’t melted as well – perhaps it was stowed when the fire began, or maybe there’s a flame retardant quality to soft tops I wasn’t aware of. Looks like you could save the bumpers and tail lights, but I suspect the only thing a buyer would want is the VIN.


The seller says the ‘Vette has a six-cylinder, but the Blue Flame was a distant memory by this generation. The small block looks fairly unscathed – is it safe to assume the fire did not originate in the engine bay? Regardless, it may be possible the engine and transmission can live on in another chassis with the correct VIN tag attached, which could provide a compelling reason for harvesting this one for parts. It’s not my area of expertise, so perhaps one of our readers can clue us in to the value of a burned-out Corvette.

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  1. 68 custom

    its fuzzy!
    lots of good drive train parts, but not 18k worth! motor appear to be later or at least the heads do.

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    Man, looking at that.once beautiful car just makes me ill.

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  3. Steven C

    How is the same guy coming up with multiple burned corvettes? That is a weird thing to be into.

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    • cudaman

      Copart sells insurance salvage cars. Google that name. It will make your mouth water.

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    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      When my barn was torched from a lightning strike, it consumed 5 Packards. Would not be surprised to discover a Corvette collection that had been in the same garage. Hence multiple torched ‘vettes.

      This Corvette was the victim of a “Flash-over” fire. It consumed only the upper parts of the car. The flash-over situation causes a huge updraft of cooler air from the floor area, and until that cooler air is gone, the lower areas won’t burn. That’s why items like the tail lite lenses are not melted away, & the tires still hold air. The wavy look of the glass fiber might even be as a result of the high pressure water stream from a fireman’s hose, playing back & forth across the body shell until the flames were out. Since the convertible top was in the storage well, it was protected from the fire. I would hazard a guess that it was only in a few minutes of fire.

      When my 1948 Packard Super 8 convertible was hit by a flash over situation, it burned the convertible top 100%. The falling embers from the top material caught the interior on fire, the windshield rubber melted & the glass fell out. The upper paint surfaces blistered & peeled, but the lower parts of the car were fine. Only damage to the under hood area was melted rubber parts from the heat.

      The car in the next bay was a 1950 Packard Super Deluxe convertible. As it was closer to the major fire area, it was on fire all the way to the floor, total destruction.

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  4. PackardMike

    It appears to me it was in a garage fire. Possibly both this ’61 and the Stingray were toasted at the same time. Pity…….

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  5. Mark S

    Pull the body off the chassie, grab the bumpers and any other part that survived. Scap the body and buy a reproduction body. Oh don’t forget the tags. This looks like an arsen fire to me with an excellerant pored all over the car.

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    • Junior Johnston

      Can’t, the vin has been labeled non re-build able, so if that vin shows back up somebody is in deep trouble.

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      • Mark S

        I wasn’t aware of that I’m in Alberta Canada if an auto is written off up here it can be repaired, it then gets inspected by a certified inspector and if done correctly it gets recertified. The mechanical part of this car looks solid to me I guess you Americans would need to find a corvette with a rusted out frame and use this car as a donor. Would you then be able to use the vin off of the car with the rusty frame? I don’t get why you can’t prove legitimate ownership through receipts and documentation. Don’t you have certified inspectors on your side of the boarder, To check and see if repairs were completed correctly.

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  6. flmikey

    …maybe he’s a smoker and keeps tossing the butts inside the car…and I agree…it makes me ill too….

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  7. Chebby

    Replace the interior and drive the hairy beast! No one else will have one like it.

    Like 1
  8. JohnD

    Folks, this has a CA Non-rebuildable salvage certificate. I have done a bunch of rebuildables but I don’t think you can rebuild those . .. You are bidding on . . . a trophy??? A coffee table???

    Like 0
    • Junior Johnston

      In know here in Missouri, once it’s labeled as Non-re-build able, it’s just a parts car or scrap. There is a guy here serving 15 years for re-boding older cars that were labeled Non re-build able.

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      • racer99

        Here in GA the laws are the same — you cannot rebuild a car with a non-rebuildable title and re-title it (we rebuild insurance salvages as part of our business). One of the loop-holes is that a car over 25 years old doesn’t require a title here so an underhanded seller could sell it on a bill-of-sale to someone not smart enough to run a history on it. As long as the title status had been updated on NMVTIS the new owner could probably never title or register the car for street use. I am guessing that legally it SHOULD carry the original VIN if you re-bodied it with an aftermarket body but it would depend on who you got to do the final inspection whether that happened or not. The inspectors here are not real consistent in application of all the rules as they are written and might allow it to be registered under the newly assigned VIN that goes with the body but it would have a special VIN associated with a kit car or a special VIN assigned by the state with no history.

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  9. racer99

    These the same guys that had the Eleanor wanna-be that was crushed so bad a couple of months back? Sure looks like the same building.

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  10. Chris in Nashville

    Not 100% sure but this looks like a building I went to once to pick up an insurance write off vehicle that a buddy bought on Ebay. Can’t recall the name but it was kind of a clearing house for insurance write off vehicles.

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    • cudaman

      again, COPART

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  11. theswede

    Has a r&p conversion – aftermarket front suspension. Suspect the motor may be NOM also.

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  12. Howard A. Howard AMember

    California wildfire victim.

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    • Dan h

      I was going to say…seems like either gas was poured on it and lit or it was in the way of a wildfire.

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  13. alan

    Gives you a warm fuzzy feeling all over. Just bring a drum of resin.

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  14. Jeffro

    Anybody want to cook some smores?

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  15. Lee A

    The ultimate patina car! Get it running, put some truck rug car covers on the seats, give it a quick clear coat and drive the heck out of it! Man, I can just see this thing burning up the streets. Big flames shooting out of a pair of lakes pipes along the rockers. At 18,500 they must be throwing in the fork lift that appears in the undercarriage shots.

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  16. DolphinMember

    Let me get this straight. A vintage Corvette is burned all over to the point that the ‘glas is fuzzy all over the outside surfaces, from front to back. The seats, dash, and the upper (but not the lower) parts of the door panels are burned/melted.

    BUT……The floor mats and carpets are fine. The trunk looks pretty good, with the plywood spare cover not even singed. The engine bay is perfect, even the rad hoses and all the rubber tubes are prefect. The underside—including the gas tank—is in the kind of condition that any vintage Corvette buyer can only hope for in an older, unrestored car.

    Something does not compute. This is just a wild guess, but this looks like a flame job, with accelerrant poured all over the top surfaces, and then…what? Call the fire dept. and then the insurance company?

    Who knows? I don’t. Like I said, these are all just a wild guesses. But I doubt this is just a car that somehow caught on fire without someone’s help.

    That, and the nonrebuildable title—–I’m out.

    Like 0
    • Rustowner

      It looks like a slow burn fire in a well sealed space. Fire originated somewhere else, brought the heat in the building up and then consumed most of the working oxygen in the space it was burning in, hence the reason it didn’t engulfed the whole car. You will end up with burn patterns just like this car in those conditions. If this was fully engulfed, there wouldn’t be much to look at. This was involved like a slow smoking/charring scenerio, hence the good paint on the bottom and unburned floor mats, yet the top exposed areas of the car are toast. Top may have had a boot on it and stored down. Heat builds from the ceiling down…I was a firefighter for many years….

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      • Loco Mikado

        I used to work for a company that specialized in fire damage. After a while you can spot a set fire using accelerants vs an accidental or not set fire. The burn, heat & smoke patterns are totally different. If anyone thinks they can get away with arson they are sadly mistaken.

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      • Jesper

        I think that teori is right.
        What a shame.
        But 18-19,000$

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  17. Prowler

    Extra crispy for sure

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  18. Joe

    Cute.. Says rebuild-able under the Ebay listing title, but elsewhere says the title says non repairable. Can’t be both….

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  19. Van

    Is this burn finds. It looks freaky with the top up, your brain says how is the top not burned. You should be able to buy another car and do a body swap.

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  20. Dan Skopp

    Ya!!! That’s it, It would make a wonderful conversation piece as a coffee table!!!!

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  21. ben

    yea right insurance claim to me used to be and adjuster back in the 80s I sure would invasgate that one before a pay off looks like poured fuild all over the inside and top of the body and yea hows the top its stored under the flap theres a guy here in fla that builds 58 bodies hes on creags list in ocola fla might be a way to go but not 18 k

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  22. jeff6599

    Doesn’t make any difference how anything happened or if anyone altered anything. What you see is what is for sale. Lots of VIN tags and lots of states out there. I assure you that worse cars have been made drivable and sellable.

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  23. ron h

    I, too, think it was probably a garage fire. The paint, even when dry burns easily. Not likely an accelerant fire. The top was probably folded under the cover and behind the seats and the car was parked in the garage; without a hardtop. Heat rises and fire normally burns from the bottom up. When it does move down , it is a slower process and the heavier damage will be high. The FD probably extinguished the fire before the rest had time to burn so the carpets could easily remain intact. Speaking as one who used to rebuild burnouts and had 30 years in the fireservice before retiring.

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    • ron h

      BTW, information only, arson cannot even be investigated as a cause unless all possible accidental causes have first been eliminated.

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  24. DAN

    California wildfire victim.

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  25. Joe Nose

    Looks ready for the Zombie Apocalips.

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  26. Jeff G

    Brings new meaning to the old saying “Here comes the fuzz!”

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  27. JagManBill

    burn pattern is quite probable. I had a house fire 8 years ago. 69 E Type was in the adjacent garage. Fire spread to the garage. Heat buildup/ignition the E Type burned from the top down. Seats were toast but the floor mats under the char were fine. All suspension was fine below the uprights (top control arm bushings burned, lowers still look like new). It this was in a wild fire it would be a chassis sitting there and no more.

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  28. JeffPS

    Hmmm listed with a manual and a 6 cylinder ,must have burn 2 cylinders off the engine ,and got so hot it melted the manual tranny into a Automatic, and the clutch into a torque converter …
    Yep its a long haired hippy Vett with a bad hair day !

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  29. Bill Parmenter

    The Owner must have gotten too close to the fire & sucked in too much smoke ….

    His mind is fogged up to think anybody would go 18k for a 5k salvage job ….

    Like 0

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