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The 1961 Chevrolet Corvette

1961 Black Convertible Corvette

The 1961 Corvette was the first to include aluminum radiators as standard equipment. These radiators featured a new crossflow design. Unfortunately due to production delays some early 1961 Corvettes were built with the same copper radiators that were used in the 1960 models. The exhaust was moved to exit the car under the rear bumper instead of out of the bumber itself, this was to prevent the bumpers from getting dirty from the exhaust. The rear was completely redesigned to include the 4 tail lights that we now expect on a Corvette, the first year for that. The front of the car was the first that did not have the heavy teeth of previous years. The base engine was still supplied with a stamped valve cover with the Chevrolet script while the optional engines had 7-finned cast alloy valve covers. The 4-speed transmission was provided with an aluminum case this year. The transmission tunnel was also narrowed by 20% to give more interior space. This was the last year that the two-tone paint could be ordered from the factory. Dual carburetor engines were also available for the last time in 1961. This was also the last year for the 283 ci engines. Courtesy lights, windshield washers, temperature controlled radiator fan, sun shades and parking brake warning light all became standard this year.This was the only year for the Jewel Blue color. In 1961 17 Corvettes were delivered in non-standard colors or primer. 1961 also introduced us to the first "Shark" concept car.

Production Options and Build Statistics

Total 1961 Corvettes Built - 10,939

Serial Numbers
Convertible10867S100001 - 10867S110939

The serial number (Vehicle Identification Number -- VIN) is located on a stainless steel plate welded to the top of the steering column mast under the hood.

Serial Number Decoder

2-308body series: Corvette
6SAssembled in St. Louis, MO
7-12100001 to 110939production sequence

Engine Serial Number Decoder

1 to 70001001sequential production number
8F or TFlint, MI or Tonawanda, NY
9 to 10Carburetion & transmission
  • CQ = 283-cid 230-hp V-8 with 9.5:1 compression ratio, three-speed manual transmission, and four-barrel carburetor
  • CR = 283-cid 275-hp V-8 with 11.0:1 compression ratio, three-speed manual transmission with fuel injection
  • CS = 283-cid 315-hp V-8 with 11.0:1 compression ratio, three-speed manual transmission, high lift camshaft, and fuel injection
  • CT = 283-cid 245-hp V-8 with 9.5:1 compression ratio, three-speed manual transmission and dual four-barrel carburetors
  • CU = 283-cid 270-hp V-8 with 9.5:1 compression ratio, three-speed manual transmission, high-lift camshaft and dual four-barrel carburetors
  • DG = 283-cid 230-hp V-8 with 9.5:1 compression ratio, Powerglide automatic transmission and a four-barrel carburetor
  • DJ = 283-cid 245-hp V-8 with 9.5:1 compression ratio, Powerglide automatic transmission and dual four-barrel carburetors

The body number plate is located on the engine side of the cowl. Fisher Body Style Number 61-0867 identifies a Corvette. The body number is the serial number of the body.

Production Options

867Base Convertible$3,934.00 10,939 100.0%
101Heater$102.25 10,761 98.4%
102AM Radio, Signal Seeking$137.75 9,316 85.2%
242Positive Crankcase Ventilation$5.40 N/A N/A
276Wheels, 15x5.5$0.00 337 3.1%
290Whitewall Tires, 6.70x15$31.55 9,780 89.4%
313Powerglide Automatic Transmission$199.10 1,458 13.3%
353283ci, 275hp Engine (fuel inj.)$484.20 118 1.1%
354283ci, 315hp Engine (fuel inj.)$484.20 1,462 13.4%
419Auxiliary Hardtop$236.75 5,680 51.9%
426Power Windows$59.20 698 6.4%
440Two-Tone Paint Combination$16.15 3,368 30.8%
468283ci, 270hp Engine (2x4 carbs.)$182.95 2,827 25.8%
469283ci, 245hp Engine (2x4 carbs.)$150.65 1,175 10.7%
473Power Operated Folding Top$161.40 442 4.0%
675Positraction Rear Axle$43.05 6,915 63.2%
6854-Speed Manual Transmission.$188.30 5,328 48.7%
686Metallic Brakes$26.90 920 8.4%
687Heavy Duty Brakes and Susp.$333.60 119 1.1%
1408Blackwall Tires, 6.70x15$15.75 N/A N/A
162524 Gallon Fuel Tank$161.40 N/A N/A

Color Options for 1961

Soft Top Color
Interior Color
N/ATuxedo Black$0.00N/AN/AN/AWhite/BlackRed/Black/Blue/Fawn 1,340 12.2%
501AFawn Beige$0.00N/AN/AN/AWhite/BlackRed/Black/Fawn 1,363 12.5%
502AJewel Blue$0.00N/A4143-LN/AWhite/BlackBlack/Blue 855 7.8%
506ARoman Red$0.00N/AN/AN/AWhite/BlackBlack/Red 1,794 16.4%
509ASateen Silver$0.00N/AN/AN/AWhite/BlackBlue/Black/Red 747 6.8%
510AErmine White$0.00N/AN/AN/ABlack/WhiteBlue/Black/Red/Fawn 3,178 29.1%

Two-Tone Paint Production

440Roman Red / White9548.7%
440Honduras Maroon / White6475.9%
440Ermine White / Silver3853.5%
440Fawn Beige / White3583.3%
440Tuxedo Black / Silver4293.9%
440Jewel Blue / White4193.8%
440Sateen Silver / White1591.5%

Interior Colors

N/ABlack$0.00 3,487 31.9%
490BBlue$0.00 1,331 12.2%
N/ARed$0.00 4,459 40.8%
N/AFawn$0.00 1,662 15.2%

1961 Corvette Specifications

Mechanical Dimensions

Wheelbase102 in.
Track Front/Rear57 in. / 59 in.
Length177.2 in.
Width72.8 in.
Height51.6 in.
Frontal AreaN/A
Ground ClearanceN/A
Curb Weight3,035 lbs.
Fuel Capacity16.4 gal.
Coolant CapacityN/A

Interior Dimensions

Headroom34.7 in.
Hip Room$$$ 21.5 in. per bucket
59.6 in. total
Leg Room46.5 in.
Shoulder Room49.4 in.

Engine Specifications

FeatureBase EngineRPO 469RPO 468RPO 353RPO 354
TypeV-8, Overhead valveV-8, Overhead valveV-8, Overhead valveV-8, Overhead valveV-8, Overhead valve
BlockCast iron blockCast iron blockCast iron blockCast iron blockCast iron block
Displacement283 cid283 cid283 cid283 cid283 cid
Bore & Stroke3.87 x 3.003.87 x 3.003.87 x 3.003.87 x 3.003.87 x 3.00
Compression ratio9.50:19.50:19.50:19.50:110.5:1
Brake horsepower230 @ 4800 rpm245270275315
Main bearingFiveFiveFiveFiveFive
Valve liftersHydraulicHydraulicHydraulicHydraulicSolid
CarburetorCarter four-barrel Type WCFB Model 3779178Two four-barrel carbsTwo four-barrel carbsRochester fuel injectionRochester fuel injection

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