Long-Stored Fuelie: 1961 Chevrolet Corvette

This 1961 Chevy Corvette has been off the road and stored since 1985. It is a desirable fuel injection car, otherwise known as a “fuelie” and retains its numbers-matching engine. The body was originally red and trace remnants remain in the door jambs. As a two-owner car that hasn’t been driven regularly in decades, there may be a survivor underneath that drab exterior. Find it here on eBay as a non-runner with bidding at $25K and the reserve unmet.

The body looks decent enough, and the chrome bumpers appear serviceable. The seller mentions it comes with two tops, and that the soft roof needs new canvas. Some level of restoration has clearly been attempted, and the hole in the body once housed an antenna – presumably removed in a disassembly phase. I’m sure this means there are at least a few parts missing, but no word from the seller on what may need to be sourced.

The fuel injection system is present, though the more I read about it, the more I wonder how practical it is. Sure, it adds value – no doubt, given the rarity. But the overall consensus seems to be that they run poorly in warm weather and any fuel with ethanol in it will cause the car to run poorly. Race gas and night-time driving are recommended by many fuelie owners, which speaks to a level of commitment on their part to only driving their Corvettes under strict conditions.

Of course, we all make sacrifices to own classic cars, and the desirability of a genuine fuelie likely  trumps any compromises owners have to make for driveability’s sake. The black interior is the original color combo, but no word on whether these are replacement skins and carpets. I can’t imagine the red instrument binnacle surround is correct, but our Corvette enthusiasts can certainly correct me. A few items are missing, including the radio, generator, air cleaner, and exhaust manifolds; however, the seller is likely correct that this Corvette’s value will continue to rise after the inevitable restoration is complete.

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  1. 86 Vette Convertible

    looks like it’s already gone

  2. Pete

    Won’t last long being a fuelly car. They never do.

    • Rocco


  3. Rocco

    This author has no idea what he’s talking about!!

  4. Rocco

    This author has no idea what he’s talking about!!. Fulie vet’s have no problems running on today’s gas. The red dash is original!!

    • gbvette62

      I agree 100%!

      Owners have had trouble with seals as a result of the ethanol in today’s fuels, but no more so than people with carburetors, and there are now ethanol resistant parts available for rebuilding FI units.

      A properly rebuilt and maintained Corvette fuel injection, will give plenty of miles of reliable performance, in any kind of weather. The early FI units will run on today’s premium fuels, and manage to get pretty decent mileage too.

      As far as the red wheel and cluster, they are original 61 pieces, but they would have been black, in a black interior. I’m guessing someone had plans to change the whole interior to red at some point.

      At $33,900, I think someone got themselves a nice project car.

      • Rocco

        Agreed indeed. Any fuelie car is worth its weight in gold.

  5. Uncle Bob

    For those unwilling to do the work, it sold two days ago for the $33.9k buy it now offer. Next would be to see if it pops up again because the “buyer” flaked out or not.

  6. Jeff

    Do both the 61 & 62 have the same front and back end? I thought 62 was the transistion year of the old front and 63 back end. Thank you, 08’ convertible owner.

    • Rocco

      Yes they do. 60 was the last year of 57-60 rear . The front on 61& 62 have some minor bumper difference . 61 being the last year of the cove ‘s being painted a different color. 62 had rocker panels below the doors.

  7. Bing

    Heck, restored fuel injection units go for up to twelve grand. A car like this selling at this price point seems like a lot of $, but that is what the market is for these rarer old Vettes.

    • Rocco

      How do you figure that $$$ when you answered your own question! Fulie vet’s C-2’s bring premium $$$$ especially 327 Fulie big tank , big brakes, Air box intake!!

  8. Ken S

    Appears to me that at $33.9k this was a very good buy ffor a fuelie car.

  9. Rocco

    Agreed !! He stole it as far as I’m concerned!!

  10. John

    If you look closely at the interior, you’ll see that it has no shifter. Does that mean no trans? Still, parts are available everywhere, even a spare gearbox I would presume. I would have loved to have been able to bring it home.

    • Rocco

      The transmission is in the car just no shifter. You typically don’t leave an engine in the car without a trans to support it. The motor could tilt back & bust the distributor. However if no trans is with any old Corvette a date period correct trans should be obtained to preserve the value!! You just don’t get any transmission for this.

  11. Sid Cannon Sid Member

    My 58 290hp FI runs ok on ethanol gas but easily vapor licks when turned off hot. Not as bad as it sounds. Just takes a few more cranks to fire up and a few seconds of sputtering to clean out the hot fuel then away I go. This problem is almost nonexistent with no ethanol gas that has a higher flash point.

    • Rocco

      You didn’t mention what coast your located ! Try to use the highest octane available if you have to use that gas. Carry a bottle of octane booster see if this works. Depending on time of year ethanol blend changes. On the north east coast oxygenated fuel is used which sucks.

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