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 Chevrolet Corvette C1 photo

Image credits: © Chevrolet. GM Corp

1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1

The Chevrolet Corvette's introduction in 1953 launched the start of a two-seater sports car that was a radical departure from the marque hitherto associated almost exclusively with sensible family transport. It was based on the 1952 EX-122 show car and made use of existing GM running gear and a shortened chassis frame, upon which Harley Earl created elegant coachwork out of fiberglass. Power was sourced from Chevrolet's 235.5 cubic-inch (3.8-liter) overhead-valve straight-six backed by an automatic transmission, features that created much adverse criticism at the time.

Performance and sales were initially sluggish and the model came close to being axles, surviving thanks to Chevrolet's need to compete with Ford's Thunderbird. Its position within the market was solidified in 1955 when it received a V8 engine and a radical restyle for 1956. A facelift followed in 1958 and it gained a quartet of chrome-trimmed headlamps and numerous other minor styling changes. With strong sales, attractive styling, and a host of performance options, changes to the Corvette in the immediately proceeding years were few.

1961 was the penultimate year for the solid-axle Corvette, and corporate literature described them as 'special equipment for sports car meets.' It continued to use the same basic body design introduced for 1958 but now simplified with reduced ornamentation and chrome, as well as a clean blacked-out grille treatment, devoid of the 'teeth' that had been apart of the Corvette since its inception in 1953. It also featured an all-new rear treatment (dubbed the 'duck-tail'), with four round lights foreshadowing the style that would soon be used on the forthcoming second-generation Corvette Sting Ray due to be launched for the 1963 model year.

This was the final year that whitewall tires were offered on the Corvette. It was also the last year for the 'coves' that were painted in contrasting colors. It would not be until 1978 before it was again possible to order a Corvette in two-tone.

General Motors had adopted the controversial and short-lived 1957 AMA (American Manufacturers' Association) ban on corporate racing, however, lead Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and his development team continued to endow the Corvette with a growing arsenal of high-performance parts and race-proven upgrades. Using their talents and skills, Chevrolet's small-block V-8 engine made quantum leaps in reliability, sophistication, and power output. The 1961 Corvette was offered in a wide range of five available small-block V-8 engines ranging from 230 to 315 horsepower, with transmission choices including the two-speed Powerglide automatic and T-10 four-speed manual units. The copper-core radiators were replaced with aluminum versions, increasing capacity by 10 percent while reducing weight by almost half. The Corvette's handling prowess was further enhanced by new anti-roll bars. The list of performance options included the 24-gallon fuel tank (RPO 1625), of which 25 were installed in the 1961 Corvette. The heavy-duty chassis equipment package (RPO 687) added a fast-ratio steering, heavy-duty shock absorbers, and large sintered-metallic drum brakes with cooling fins, vented backing plates, and air scoops. (A total of 233 Corvettes were fitted with this option in 1961.)

Stock Corvettes were entered into the 12-hour Sebring race by a Dallas Texas Chevrolet dealer named Delmo Johnson. Johnson and his co-driver Dale Morgan finished 11th. This was the best placing for a stock Corvette to date. In 1960, Briggs Cunningham had entered eight Corvettes in that year's Le Mans 24-Hour race, with the car driven by Fitch/Grossman winning the over-4,000cc GT class on its way to 8th overall. Corvette sales improved significantly, ensuring the car's survival and enabling it to go on to become the world's best-selling and longest-lived sports car.

During the 1961 production run, 10,939 Corvettes were produced. The base price was $3,934, with half of the buyers buying the removable top option. 1,462 examples were fitted with the 283 cubic-inch, 315 horsepower engine.


Related Reading : Chevrolet Corvette History

Very few vehicles elicit the same kind of satisfaction as the Chevrolet Corvette. The Vette is a symbol of childhood dreams and grown-up triumph. The only true American Sports car, this car stands for excellence and became an icon as a high-performance and dynamic sports vehicle. First introduced in January of 1953, the Corvette has only become more renowned as the years drift by. Undergoing many....
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Chevrolet Corvette Roars Into Its 60th Year

On June 30, 1953, the first of a new kind of Chevrolet – indeed, a new kind of American car – rolled off an assembly line in Flint, Mich. The car had only two seats. There were no roll-up windows, or exterior door handles, for that matter. Its body wasnt stamped from steel but, rather, molded from reinforced fiberglass. While the postwar Baby Boom was in full swing, this was definitely not....
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Corvette's Chassis Innovations Refined on the Race Track

Its been said that racing improves the breed, and when it comes to the Chevrolet Corvette, nearly six decades of checkered flags are the proof. As Corvette marks its 60th anniversary in 2013, the design of the chassis, suspension and other drivetrain features are rooted in the rigors of competition. Candidly, Corvette was not a high-performance car until Zora Arkus-Duntov fitted it with a V-8,....
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1961 Vehicle Profiles

1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

This car is one of just 10,939 produced in 1961 and carried a base price of $3,934. The original color is Roman red with white coves. This was the first year of the new duck-tailed rear end and four cylindrical tail lights. ....[continue reading]

1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

The 1961 model year was one of transition for Corvette design. Its styling foreshadowed things to come and yet still drew heavily from its predecessors. This was the first year of the 'duck tail' rear end with the now familiar four round taillights....[continue reading]

1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

Chassis Num: 10867S105619
Engine Num: 1105619

This Chevrolet Corvette is painted in Roman Red paint with white accented coves. The car was manufactured in February of 1961, which was the final year of the colored coves. It is one of the final 321 cars to be given the two-toned paint designs. ....[continue reading]

1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

Chassis Num: 10867S100344

This 1961 Chevrolet Corvette is painted in Roman Red with white side coves and a new black Haartz cloth top. There are red painted steel wheels and correct bright wheel covers. Amenities include a tachometer, clock, heater, defroster and an AM radi....[continue reading]

1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

This 1961 Chevrolet Corvette was once owned by Colonel Norman Suits, Commandant of USAF test Pilot School & MIG Test Pilot. This vehicle has both a convertible soft top and a removable hard top.....[continue reading]

1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

Chassis Num: 10867S107377

It is believed that around 15 competition-oriented Corvettes were ordered new with the 315 horsepower PRO 582 fuel-injected 283 V-8 and the RPO 687 heavy-duty brake and suspension option. Richard Hibma purchased the car in 1980 and put the numbers-ma....[continue reading]

1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1 vehicle information

Convertible

Chassis Num: 10867S104046

The 1961 Chevy Corvette was given a handful of important changes, with the most noticeable being the cars' refreshed rear-end styling. It became more angular than the prior years, with four taillights, and it was a design that would carry through to ....[continue reading]

Convertible
 
Convertible
 
Convertible
Chassis #: 10867S105619 
Convertible
Chassis #: 10867S100344 
Convertible
 
Convertible
Chassis #: 10867S107377 
Convertible
Chassis #: 10867S104046 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1961 Corvette C1
$393-$22,755
1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1 Base Price : $393

Other 1961 Chevrolet Models

Corvette C1

Year
Production
Wheelbase
Engine
Prices
300
102.00 in.
6 cyl., 235.50 CID., 150.00hp
$3,500 - $3,500
3,640
102.00 in.
6 cyl., 235.50 CID., 150.00hp
$3,525 - $3,525
102.00 in.
8 cyl.
700
102.00 in.
6 cyl., 235.50 CID., 155.00hp
8 cyl., 265.00 CID., 195.00hp
$2,800 - $3,000
3,467
102.00 in.
8 cyl., 265.00 CID., 210.00hp
8 cyl., 265.00 CID., 225.00hp
8 cyl., 265.00 CID., 240.00hp
$3,118 - $3,118
6,339
102.00 in.
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 220.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 245.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 250.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 270.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 283.00hp
$3,460 - $3,460
9,168
102.00 in.
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 230.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 245.00hp
8 cyl., 348.00 CID., 250.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 270.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 290.00hp
$3,630 - $3,630
9,670
102.00 in.
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 230.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 245.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 250.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 270.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 290.00hp
$3,875 - $3,875
10,261
102.00 in.
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 230.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 250.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 270.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 275.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 315.00hp
$3,900 - $3,900
102.00 in.
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 230.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 245.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 270.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 275.00hp
8 cyl., 283.00 CID., 315.00hp
102.00 in.
8 cyl., 327.00 CID., 250.00hp
8 cyl., 327.00 CID., 300.00hp
8 cyl., 327.00 CID., 340.00hp
8 cyl., 327.00 CID., 360.00hp
$4,000 - $4,000

Industry Production

#1#2#3Chevrolet
1966Ford (2,212,415)Chevrolet (2,206,639)Volkswagen (1,168,146)2,206,639
1965Chevrolet (2,375,118)Ford (2,170,795)Volkswagen (1,174,687)2,375,118
1964Chevrolet (2,318,619)Ford (1,594,053)Toyota (1,068,321)2,318,619
1963Chevrolet (2,237,201)Ford (1,525,404)Fiat (957,941)2,237,201
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)2,061,677
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)1,318,014
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)1,653,168
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)1,462,140
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)1,142,460
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)1,505,910
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Buick (572,024)1,567,117

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