1961 Chevrolet Corvette 283/230
- Numbers-matching example; factory red over red
- Factory four-speed and rare power windows
- Recent freshening of an older restoration; in storage for 33 years
First introduced as one of the GM Motorama Dream Cars, skeptics thought of the Corvette as merely a publicity model. The car was quickly rushed into production by June 1953 with a body built of fiberglass. This eliminated the lengthy time needed to produce dies and build the car the conventional way out of steel. Each car was essentially hand-built. All were Polo White with red interiors and equipped with an anemic 150-horsepower “Blue Flame” six-cylinder engine and two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. “The rest,” as they say, “is history.”
Campbell-Ewald, Chevrolet’s ad agency, said in a 1961 ad, “Aficionados are made, not born. Corvette enthusiasm, like manhood, is a condition that develops slowly.” The 1961 Corvette blended a ’50s-style nose with a tapered ducktail rear end as used by Bill Mitchell’s XP-700 show car, his first commission at General Motors. It suggested styling of the new Sting Ray set to appear for 1963. With a base price of $3,934, it was Chevrolet’s most expensive car, and many items previously optional on a Corvette—windshield washers, courtesy lights, sun visors, and a thermostatically controlled radiator fan—became standard. A total of 10,939 Corvettes were produced in 1961.
This numbers-matching “Little Red Corvette” is painted Roman Red with white side coves, a red vinyl bucket-seat interior, and a white convertible roof, as originally built when delivered new. It is well equipped for a 1961 model, including rare power windows (just 698 units were factory equipped), a factory removable hardtop, an AM Wonderbar radio, white sidewall tires, a heater, and a Positraction rear axle. It is powered by the 230-horsepower, 283–cubic inch V-8 and fitted with the optional four-speed manual transmission.
Last summer, the Corvette was taken out of 33 years of long-term storage, having been “put away” in excellent condition following the completion of a professional restoration. The car is described as completely detailed, including a near-perfect body, great frame, terrific brightwork, and a near flawless interior on a true factory red-over-red car with no color change from new. The consigner notes that the only work required in 2015 to get the car in excellent running condition was to refresh the tires, fuel, brake, coolant, oil, and electrical systems. As the consignor so aptly noted, “Not bad for a 55-year old sports car.”