No Reserve Barn Find: 1961 Chevrolet Corvette

Whether traversing Route 66, the A1A, or the PCH, it’s hard to imagine a more iconic steed than a classic Corvette. This 1961 Chevrolet Corvette in Miami, Florida almost certainly took a turn on Florida’s Atlantic coastal A1A before being socked away for decades. The listing describes a true barn find with both hard and soft tops, a manual transmission, and two owners since new. The No Reserve auction here on eBay has at least 19 bidders contesting ownership, and hopefully immediate attention. Already above $26,000, the fiberglass two-door has only begun tugging the wallets of the Sunshine State’s plentiful retirees. Thanks to reader Larry D. for submitting this tip!

With no mention of originality, the motor could have begun life in a school bus or plumbing van, but rebuilding or replacing OnAllCylinders‘ top engine of all time may be the easiest part of putting this classic back on the road. Underhood rust suggests a proximity to salty air or moisture in general, yet the undercarriage shots show solid dry metal, perhaps thanks to what looks like decades-old undercoating. Someone sprung for an Edelbrock chrome dress-up kit and a patriotic red, silver, and blue AN-style fuel line, popular ’80s add-ons.

Despite having one owner since 1981, the drop-top Chevy’s listing espouses all the prose of a bitter divorce, a terse 32 words. The weathered finish reveals no signs of bodywork, and the trim shows well. Though Corvettes rank among the planet’s most over-restored cars, I can’t help picturing this one after a sympathetic refurbishment and a coat of wax on the honest-looking patina.

The original interior shows its age, but the metal bits may come back to a reasonable luster with some effort. Being so complete can only help, though the left door panel is neither shown nor mentioned in the spartan description. Do you picture this highly original ‘Vette resurfacing factory fresh or as a mechanically-sound survivor?


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  1. RayT Member

    I was never a fan of the ’61-’62 Vettes, believing the mismatched front and rear views did them no good. The designers fixed that in ’63, of course! Everything else about the basic car appeals to me: the V8 and manual transmission are just what I would have ordered.

    But I have to wonder if this car spent time on A1A or in the Intracoastal Waterway. That underhood corrosion is worrisome enough, and the chassis looks a little dubious where the undercoating has worn/flaked off. This seems to be needing a total restoration. From chassis to interior, everything needs to come apart and be thoroughly cleaned/painted or simply replaced.

    To me, the bidding’s currently at the top for a rough ‘Vette, even if the engine is original, which for some reason strikes me as unlikely. This doesn’t present as someone’s pampered pet, and it wouldn’t surprise me if keeping the mechanicals in condition was any more important to past owners.

    With a lot of work — and a pretty fair wad of money — this could be be a really nice cruiser. But it won’t be easy.

    Like 7
    • Frank

      1962 is the year to own. First year for the 327 engine and last year for a trunk.

  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Might have missed something here but I don’t remember the the white Vettes having the red oxide primer. Ray T called it. Lots of work and money ahead.

    Like 3
    • gbvette62

      The lack of blackout paint behind the front bumpers, and signs of white overspray on some of the door weatherstrip, are good indicators that this car was repainted at some point in it’s past.

      Personally I don’t think $25K (the current bid) is too bad for what appears to be a fairly complete 61. Indications are that it’s not the original 283, so chances are this car is destined to become the basis for a high dollar restomod, and not a restoration.

      Like 2
  3. 19sixty5 Member

    The red oxide primer is the fiberglass trying to mimic the rust under the hood!

    Like 2
  4. RKS

    This car looks like it was underwater for some time. Also, waxing this car would only make it look worse.

    Like 1
  5. RexFox

    ‘61 and ‘62 Vettes are among my favorites because they have that great rear end, but do not have flip up headlights. This one though, not so much; its needs exceed my skill set, and it will need more than I would be willing to give it if I were just writing checks.

  6. Andrew S Mace Member

    With all due respect to NCRS standards and such, this is a car I wouldn’t mind restoring (“driver” level) while preserving the period personalizations, such as the engine dress-up bits and those Lucas “Flamethrower” high beam inserts! Then see if either Todd or Linc would be available for a bit of a tour ’round the country! (Cue Nelson Riddle music….)

    Like 2
    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Keep me posted, Andrew! The thought of an epic road trip in a convertible Corvette reminds me of two guys I bumped into in Tombstone, Arizona years ago, who had the interesting job of getting paid to put 10,000? real-world miles on an EPA test mule of the Panoz roadster (Mustang V8) so it could be emissions-certified. Nice work if you can find it!

      Like 2
      • Andrew S Mace Member

        Will do, Todd! If anyone named Linc replies, I’ll put them on the list for a future season…er, trip! ;)

        Like 1
  7. Steve Clinton

    Looks like patina, feels like patina, smells like patina, but it ain’t patina!

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