1961 Chevrolet Corvette

A very nice Black and Silver 1961 Chevrolet Corvette.

Once upon a time, just a few years ago, owners of America’s only sports car were on the receiving end of constant gibes from the “sporty car set,” which held that the only thing the beast had to offer was drag strip performance. It would go like the wind (in a straight line, they said), but it wouldn’t corner, it wouldn’t stop, it had a boulevard ride, and a glass body. And it took 265 cu in. (4.5 liters) to get that performance.

Well, these derogatory remarks probably were true at one time. At least, some of them were. But engineers have now achieved an excellent package, combining acceleration, stopping power, a good ride and handling characteristics whose adequacy is indicated by the car’s race-winning ways.

In our January 1959 test report of the 1959 we said the 1960 would be the year for the big changes in the Corvette. We were wrong. The 1960 model wasn’t too much different from, or too much better than, the 1959 version. Lacking any great changes in 1960, we might logically have predicted a major change in 1961, but luckily we didn’t.

However, the few changes which have been made are for the better. Continual refinements since 1954 have made the Corvette into a sports car for which no owner need make excuses. It goes, it stops, and it corners.

The major change in the appearance is the rear end treatment, which was derived from the Sting Ray, GM racing Corvette, owned by Bill Mitchell. The stubbier look achieves a more crisp and a fleeter appearance than that of previous models, which looked “soft.” The front end remains basically unchanged. New bumpers fore and aft blend nicely into the body design, and the exhaust tips are now under the body instead of through the bumper tips. This was a good move; there’s no mistaking the Corvette for any other make and it is a better looking car now.

The finish of the fiberglass body is generally excellent, although we did find a few minor flaws on our test car, mostly in obscure places. Panel fit and fairing from one panel to another were good and showed Chevrolet’s great attention to the Corvette molds.

Interior trim and design are similar to past models and well done, but have a little of the Motorama touch. The seats are excellently designed and are very comfortable. Our longest single excursion was of some 200 miles, but no sign of driver fatigue was evident and we honestly feel a day behind the wheel of a Corvette could be put in without undue strain.

The instruments are easy to read and include a speedometer, tach (reading to 7000 rpm — red-lined at 6200), gas gauge, temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge and ammeter. Indicator lights are used for the turn signals, high headlight beam and parking brake. The parking brake light on the panel lights up when the key is turned on (if, of course, the parking brake is on) and when the engine is started the light blinks its warning to the driver. The only fixture in the Corvette interior that’s hard to use is the radio, which is mounted in a console deep under the instrument panel. This console also carries the clock, which is difficult to see and should be looked at only when the car is stopped.

The seats have 3 in. of fore and aft movement, which gave everyone on our staff adequate leg room, but the body panel between the seats interferes with the driver’s elbow (when shifting) when the seat is at its rearmost position.

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The Gorgeous Curbside Classic 1962 Corvette – The Marilyn Monroe Of Cars

Seductive, voluptuous, hot, fast, flawed, sexy, modest beginnings, all-American, iconic, hits the big time in 1953, gone forever in the fall of ’62, immortal, unforgettable. The Corvette and Marilyn Monroe entered my life on the very same day in August 1960, both unleashing a visceral response that my seven-year old body had never experienced before. Fifty-some years later, looking at my pictures of this Sexy Corvette, I suddenly made the obvious connection: the Corvette and Marilyn both represent that key moment in our personal and collective lives when innocence was lost.

Both had modest beginnings. Norma Jean Mortenson was the product of a broken and dysfunctional family in working class Los Angeles. The Corvette borrowed its frame, suspension, brakes, engine and Powerglide automatic from a 1953 Chevy sedan. Its “Blue Flame” six cylinder engine was an evolution of Chevy’s first six that was probably conceived about the same time as Norma Jean was.

Both hampered by expedient but damaging early choices: the Corvette’s feeble six teamed with the Powerglide and Marilyn’s nude pictures; youthful making-do with their given assets, innocent of their latent potential. But Americans are a forgiving folk, and in 1953, Marilyn finally found the right vehicle as well as a new on-screen persona for success in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, her first big hit.

And in 1955, the Corvette finally found its ability to seduce gentlemen who prefer V8s, thanks to Chevy’s brilliant new small block. One learned to act, the other to fly; both now hit their stride, right into the hearts and pants of mid-fifties America.

The Corvette and Marilyn both first entered my life on the very same day: August 29, 1960, just two days after we arrived from Austria. I was completely innocent of the existence of either of them prior to that fateful day. I first laid eyes on the Corvette while on a sightseeing tour of Manhattan, which already had my senses buzzing. An Ermine White ’57 was tooling down Park Avenue with its top down, alluring and seductive, and for the first time I experienced feelings that a car had never induced before. Up to then, my passion for cars had been strictly platonic.
That very evening, Marilyn gave me an encore of that feeling, with that inimitable seductive look of hers emanating from the pages of a Look magazine. I felt myself sucked into a vortex of a foreign world I didn’t yet understand, but wanted to, badly. While the rest of my family struggled with the strange surroundings, a foreign language and jet lag, I was already head over heels in love with all things American, thanks to those two. America’s unlimited possibilities grabbed me by the balls I barely knew I had.

The Corvette created its legend thanks to its most obvious assets: sexy looks and a red-hot V8. That engine’s full potential was unleashed by its new performance coach Zora Arkus Duntov and his magic camshaft. In 1957, when the new 283 cubic inch engine was blessed with fuel injection, its 283 horses feeding through a new four-speed transmission and the right rear axle numbers vaulted the fiberglasstic ‘Vette to untouchable performance: Zero to sixty in 5.7 seconds, and the quarter mile in 14.3 seconds at over 90 mph. Unbelievable numbers for a streetable and affordable production car; it would be a decade and another hundred cubic inches before they were bettered. The Corvette went racing, racking up an impressive record against the exotic semi-production European sports-racing cars. Once the Corvette was given the right parts, it became a credible and world-class competitor.

Marilyn discovered the Actor’s Studio the same year that the ‘Vette found its V8, and she broke through to new levels in her performances thanks to acting coach Paula Strasberg. They unleashed new levels in her performances, earning her a nomination for a Golden Globe that year for Bus Stop. Once dismissed as lightweights by Hollywood and the racing world, both were now firing on all their cylinders, thanks to the right parts and proper coaching.

Although darlings of the moment, they both couldn’t fully escape their intrinsic limitations. As stylish as the Corvette’s cockpit may have been on the Motorama stands in 1952, when it came to actually living with one, its ergonomic shortcomings were all too obvious. That delicious big wheel was practically in your face, the instruments were more about looks than being intelligible, and the Corvette’s ride, braking and real-world handling were anything but effortless. Their shortcomings demanded unconditional love and devotion.

Marilyn’s temperament, insecurities and complexities were hardly the stuff of smooth rides and easy handling for the men in her life. Joe DiMaggio lasted a year before the bumps became unbearable; but he never quite got over her either. She got under men’s skin, in both definitions of those words.

Although the Corvette was capable of winning races with the right parts and preparation, that’s not to suggest that it was a world class sports car. Its crude underpinnings were hard to hide, even with that veneer of plastic fantastic. I spoke to a guy recently who bought a new Corvette in 1962, like this one, on a whim. He was heading to California from NY for a new job, and he figured he would treat himself for the drive cross the country,and recreate the Route 66 tv show with him in the leading role.

He said it was faster than stink, but he sold it as soon as he arrived in LA; the harsh ride, primitive handling, crappy brakes, and lack of creature comforts just didn’t wear well with him. It was a short, intense, but exhausting fling, and he traded it in on…damn; I can’t remember, but it was something from Europe, and it had a proper suspension, brakes and comfortable seats. Maybe even a Peugeot. But his eyes lit up as he remembered that wild trip in his Corvette.

It didn’t take long for Marilyn to find a new hubby, Arthur Miller. Although it lasted longer, Marilyn’s exhausting unpredictability, fits and intense mood swings made their marriage anything but a smooth ride. The Corvette and Marilyn extracted plenty of pain in exchange for their pleasures.

I was innocent of the Corvette’s crude underpinnings when I first fell for it in 1960. A cart-axle rear end suspended from a pair of leaf springs and rum brakes were looking mighty primitive compared to the complex IRS rear ends that Mercedes and Jaguar were showing off under their skirts. Never mind their disc brakes and OHC engines.

My eyes began to wander; innocence is so easily lost. By 1962, it was impossible to deny that the Corvette was past its prime.

Bill Mitchell, that master plastic surgeon, gave the Corvette’s drooping buttocks one of the finest lifts ever seen: a delightfully crisp new ass for 1961, borrowed from one of his shark-inspired concepts. It may have distracted the eyes from what was hidden beneath it, but that was the extent of it. despite the years, Marilyn’s own rear was aging better, even without intervention.

That’s not say everything was hunky-dory with Marilyn, by any stretch. A troubled beginning is hard to shake off, and she was much more intelligent, complex, and idealistic than her carefully-cultivated public persona might suggest. She was praised by actors and directors alike for her talents and comic genius. Marilyn was not the blond bimbo she played so perfectly. But she was trapped by her creation and the public’s expectations.

Her last movie, “The Misfits”, is a true gem, and in it she finally breaks out of her typecast to a considerable degree, and embodies the forces of social change that were just starting to swirl about. Marilyn and the Corvette were now parting ways. Her Misfits co-star, Clarke Gable, also in his last role, embodies the dying era of the rugged cowboy individualist, not unlike the rough and ready C1 Corvette.

Marilyn only barely got through the film’s shooting. Drugs and alcohol didn’t help. A visitor to the set later described Monroe as “mortally injured in some way.” In her last interview, she said prophetically: “What the world really needs is a real feeling of kinship. Everybody: stars, laborers, Negroes, Jews, Arabs. We are all brothers … Please don’t make me a joke. End the interview with what I really believe.” Might sound a touch trite, but it’s more true than ever today.

The Misfits is about the great change that was in the air, the end of the era still associated with cowboys, hunting and male patriarchy. Marilyn represented the future: idealistic, humanitarian, environmentally aware, and…feminine.

Obviously comparisons with cars ultimately only go so far. The Corvette was a machine, locked into its role by its creators. Marilyn was evolving, struggling to break free from the world that she came from and had used for her benefit. But it wasn’t working for her anymore. The rift between her true self and her persona was becoming untenable.

The C1 Corvette was nearing the end of its run, but at least it was injected with a burst of final-year energy, in the form of the brilliant new 327 small block. Now the Corvette had the best all-round performance engine in the world, and European exotic car manufacturers were lining up to buy it to power their Iso Grifos, Bizzarinis, and the like. But the original Corvette’s time had run out, and in the fall of 1962 the new 1963 Sting Ray inherited the ’62 Vette’s tidy tail and the 327 but little else, to finally take its place among the world-class sports cars of the day.

Marilyn, sensing the end of her run, took another route. About the same time the last C1 Corvette ran off the line in St. Louis, Marilyn checked out for good. Some icons can be replaced; others not.

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Carissa Kruger With Her Classic ’61 Corvette

Carissa Kruger with her classic 1961 Chevrolet Corvette.

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1967 Chevy Corvette Coupe in Marina Blue

American Muscle – 1967 Chevy Corvette Coupe in Marina Blue – 1/18 Scale Die Cast Collectible American Muscle Car

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This Spectacular 1955 Corvette in Harvest Gold Is Super-Rare

Only 700 total 1955 Corvettes were sold, making the car pretty hard to come by as-is. Factor in the Harvest Gold color and the number is cut down to around 120 produced.

Blue 1955 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 265 CID V8 2 Speed Automatic

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Classic 1950s Corvette

An 11×14 inch art print of a 1956 57 Corvette from handpainted artwork by Parry Johnson. 3 color choices. The artwork is freehand drawn, acrylic handpainting and airbrush. Printed with archival ink on premium 45 lb. matte paper. Mounted to sturdy acid free backing board. Unframed. Made in the USA – Sold direct from the Artist.

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1965 Corvette Sting Ray

Spectacular 1965 Corvette Sting Ray with a customer paint make over. The 1965 Corvette Sting Ray became ferocious with the mid-year debut of a big-block V-8, the 396 Turbo Jet. The Turbo Jet delivered 425 bhp and a thumping 415 pound-feet of torque. 

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The Spectacular 1963 Corvette

A base Corvette coupe in 1963 was $4,257. If a buyer ordered all possible options on a coupe, the sticker price jumped to more than $6,200. A convertible’s base price was $4,037. Ironically, with the beautiful new coupe design, nearly as many convertibles were sold that year.

The engines that were offered for the 1963 Corvette included three carbureted versions; a 250-, 300-, and 340-horsepower variants, as well as a 360-horsepower fuel-injected powerhouse engine, which was made available to consumers for an extra $430.40.

Chevrolet manufactured 21,513 Corvette Sting Rays in 1963, of which 10,594 were coupes, of which 199 were produced with the Z06 option package. *Road & Track test of a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray convertible powered by the 360 hp, fuel-injected 327-cu.in V-8 with 3.70:1 gears and a four-speed transmission.

10,594 split-window coupes were made in 1963. Total Corvette production for the year was 21,513 and the other half was comprised of the convertible. The 1963 coupe included hood vents that were merely decorative and non-functional. These were also removed in 1964.

After seven years of design and planning, the 1963 Sting Ray (now spelled as two words) began production in the summer of 1962, and offered to the public on September 28th. Designer Larry Shinoda, under the styling direction of Bill Mitchell, is given credit for the final design.

Color Options:

  • Tuxedo Black.
  • Silver Blue.
  • Daytona Blue.
  • Riverside Red.
  • Saddle Tan.
  • Ermine White.
  • Sebring Silver.
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A Razzle-Dazzle 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

1964 Chevrolet Corvette RoadsterL-84 327 c.i. 375 h.p. fuel injectionCorrect numbers matching, K66 transistor ignition system1 of 552 (4-speed M20), G-81 positraction rear axelAll above done certified G.M. fuelieIn 40 plus years runs better than new, beautiful Riverside red #923All interior restored black #898, seat covers with new foamDoor panels, carpets, professionally restored gauge clusterUpgraded quartz clock, new wiring harness, complete frame rust-freeNew brakes & lines (hoses G.M.), bumpers bright “shiny”Cast aluminum knock-off wheels restoredBuilt only 8 years, super hard to find, bring 6 figures at auctionWinter Black Friday deal with free shipping to continental U.S.License UAA010 Washington, registered with NCRS certificateSold new at Lyman Slack Motors, Portland Oregon, produced 4/16/1964V.I.N. 40867S115781Stock # 2553750046 miles$79,999 (trade for 1955 210 post no billet)For more info please call Louis Lamb 425-343-7079, Kent Chaplin 206-713-7844 or Adolfo Sandoval 206-683-5855

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1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Roadster

1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Roadster

The 1969 Corvette was again a Stingray — spelled as one word on the front fenders. For this model year, the designers worked hard to address complaints from the previous year, to give a smoother and more pleasant ride. 

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