1961 Corvette

I purchased my 1961 Corvette, in May of 2019. The ‘Vette is powered by a 283 cubic inch small block Chevy engine that is topped with a 4-Barrel carburetor. The rest of the drivetrain includes a Borg-Warner T10 4-speed transmission and Positraction Rear. The engine is a replacement with correct date codes but not the original to the car.

My plan is frame-on resto-mod. Keeping it as original appearing as possible while adding modern enhancements like power disc brakes, power steering, possibly Vintage Air. Plans also call for rebuilding the seats, replacing the carpets.

Carl Hollopeter

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21 Responses to “1961 Corvette”

  1. Paul Hayes

    Just got done with a 61 I did what you want to do 95 susp power brakes power steering 283 2×4 auto 700r4 trans air condition

  2. Jim

    Why not resto mod is about modern day conveniences, plus it gets hot in Alabama. Then you can drive it more while being comfortable. I drove around a 66 Big Block roadster 30 years ago with factory a/c years ago wearing a tie.

  3. Donald Bodinsky

    I would also add an aftermarket fuel injection like a Holley or Fast. You would add reliability improve mileage while increasing performance. The new kits are easy to install and tune.

  4. Mario Tomsich

    Owned a 1962 with white base and red coves. Mine had a 327 300hp engine. Sold it for $1,450 when I recieved my orders to go to Vietnam. Wish I still had it.

  5. Ernest R Henschel Jr

    My Friend Brian from CO. had LS-6 big block powered, 58 vette, 4 speed. total stock looking, did an LS swap, with a 6speed, before alt changes, car ran bad, now, Injected, no problems, and great gas milage..Hope to afford, a simalar swap for my 57 Chevy Nomad.

  6. John

    My first car was a 1961 Corvette, red on red with white side panels, white convertible top, & red removable hard top. Bought the car in 1970, in 1972 replaced the engine with a 1969 DZ 302 with solid lifters & 4 barrel carb. With 3:51 posi rear end & 4 speed trany, that little red corvette was hard to catch! Sold in 1981 to buy a house, wish I still had it.

  7. Vic Bary

    Having owned a 1961 I can tell you right off the bat that the shift lever boot is not correct and the shifter should have reverse lockout ears. The rest of the cockpit looks correct.

  8. Don rownd

    I have a1966 beaumont sport deluxe convertiblewe went to hot August nights wish i would of put ac in my car my wife and i were sweltering. We were like two eggs in a cast iron frying pan

  9. Grunt0331

    Some words of wisdom…having personally owned two Corvettes (a ’71 LT1, and as the 2nd owner of a matching #s ’66 Coupe 427/425, which recently sold for over $100K).

    Considering that although I do not know what you paid, and from the level of originality (and condition) that I can see in the photos, if your car is #s matching, I strongly suggest that you keep it as is, with exceptions being what is now, (or will be) required as far as cosmetic cleanup and normal maintenance. Your car is worth more as it appears in the photos, than it will ever be if you add A/C, PS & PB, etc.
    “Originality” + “Matching #s” + “Condition” = $$,$$$ to $$$,$$$. If you don’t have the expertise, capability, and $$,$$$ to do a concourse NCRS Quality restoration, don’t do anything at all to this car!

    • Mitch

      It depends on the individual. If you bought it as an investment, don’t change a thing and tuck it away in a dry storage area for the next owner to enjoy. However you will get the most enjoyment driving it. I’m on my 8th Corvette at 70 yrs old having purchased my first at age 26. I have always owned at least one since of all generations. My current a 1966 coupe. I have always bought them to drive, enjoy & upgrade to improve ride and dependability. IE gas shocks, radial tires, electronic ignition, after market ac etc. always keeping the original parts and appearance. Enhance and drive it.

  10. Paul F Hirleman

    My friend had a 72 that he used as a daily driver. We tried in vain to make him stop and restore it. Do what you want wi r h your ride but I’d never put a/c in a vintage rag top.

  11. Wally

    Resto-Mod…Absolutely. If the car is not totally “as born” why not? Make it a pleasure to to drive safely. We tend to forget that 30, 40 50 or 60 year old cars are really miserable by today’s standards, to drive. While not a real looker such as your Corvette, I took a 46 “fat fender” Ford Coupe that had a superb body and chassis, but had 65 year old running gear. Kept and modified the flathead motor, added a 5 speed OD trans, Explorer limited slip rear, 4 wheel power disc brakes ( booster under the floor) electric power steering, upgraded cooling system, sound system and converted to 12 volts with LED lights. Interior redone but looks retro stock. I drive it 3-4 K miles a year and it is reliable as well as a hoot to drive…It will never be totally done…planing a vintage air system soon. Costs??? Don’t ask, just enjoy…Good luck … Go for it all

  12. Wally

    Resto-Mod…Absolutely. If the car is not totally “as born” why not? Make it a pleasure to to drive safely. We tend to forget that 30, 40 50 or 60 year old cars are really miserable by today’s standards, to drive. While not a real looker such as your Corvette, I took a 46 “fat fendered” Ford Coupe

  13. Gloria

    Classics are the best, depending on experience, workload, try RC Cars….just saying…been there done that…

    • Gerald

      The perfect Corvette…! Make it safe and fun to drive.. I added all of those things to my 1967 Camaro Convertible..

  14. collectorsauto

    Air Conditioning in a topless corvette? I personally wouldn’t do it – – – just something else to have problems with later on. With the top pon the car (if you have it – – – might be icicles hanging from the sun visors (LOL) Beautiful car though. The rest like PS/PB/Slotted Drilled disc brake conversion – – great enhancements. Enjoy your ride.
    Fred Alexander
    Saskatoon SK