REIMAGINING A LEGEND: This 1961 Chevrolet Corvette Resto-Mod Takes Performance to New Heights

Credit: Original article published by Barrett-Jackson.

Written by Nicole Ellan James

By 1960, the Chevrolet Corvette had demonstrated that it was a serious contender on the racetrack. As the second generation of the Chevrolet Corvette was on the horizon, they opted for a mild refresh of the first-generation C1. A team of Chevrolet designers had been recruited to develop cosmetic and performance upgrades to the existing C1 body styling.

The design of the 1961 Corvette largely retained the iconic shape and styling cues of its predecessors, characterized by sleek, flowing lines and a two-seat convertible body style. The most notable update for 1961 was the introduction of a new “tail lift” or “duck tail” rear-end design that featured four round taillights, a design element that became a signature feature of later Corvette models. The redesigned rear also increased the available luggage space by 20%.

The 1961 Corvette offered a range of engine options mainly carried over from the fuel-injected models of 1960, which provided customers with various levels of power and performance. The interior of the 1961 Corvette featured a driver-focused cockpit with a simple and functional layout. The car featured bucket seats and options for power windows, power steering and power brakes.

General Motors built 10,939 Chevrolet Corvettes for the 1961 model year, making it the second most common model year of the C1 – the 1962 model year saw 14,531 cars produced.

Undoubtedly, the 1961 Corvette was a modern marvel for its day. Better still, this particular custom 1961 Chevrolet Corvette offered with No Reserve during the 2023 Las Vegas Auction takes performance up another notch. This modified Corvette has been upgraded with a modern LT4 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine kicking out 650hp and 650 ft/lbs of torque mated to an 8L90E 8-speed automatic transmission with a tap shifter. The tap shifter allows drivers to control the transmission like a manual by sliding the shifter over, tapping the shifter forward to upshift and nudging back to downshift.

The body of this Corvette sits on a new Art Morrison GT Sport independent front suspension chassis augmented by Strange adjustable coilover shocks and an adjustable sway bar; it also utilizes a power rack & pinion steering. The rear suspension is a triangulated 4-bar suspension with a 9-inch rear end, adjustable coilover shocks and an adjustable sway bar. The chassis was finished with a Gunmetal Gray powder coat for durability and to match the engine color, contrasting with the House of Kolor Orion Silver paint. All the engine accessories were finished in gloss black and all hoses were black braided.

Giving the Corvette its aggressive stance is a set of custom-built Schott Wheels that measure 18 inches up front and 20 inches at the rear, wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Behind the wheels are large Wilwood disc brakes. Other custom-built features seen on this Resto-Mod include polished stainless headers and exhaust, as well as a stainless gas tank by Rick’s Tanks.

The custom leather interior by Paul Atkins Interiors features custom Dakota Digital gauges, a Vintage Air climate-control system for driver comfort and an Alpine sound system with Bluetooth capability, in addition to an integrated backup camera. Other custom highlights include electric side windows controlled by switches in the custom center console, an electrically actuated hood opener and an electrically actuated emergency brake.

The 1961 Corvette was a significant milestone in Chevrolet’s history, solidifying its position as a serious contender on the racetrack while maintaining its iconic styling cues. Fast forward to the present day, and the 1961 Chevrolet Corvette Resto-Mod showcased at the 2023 Las Vegas Auction takes performance to new heights. Register to bid today to make it yours.