In 1961 hopes were high for big growth in Corvette production and while the numbers didn’t move much, Chevy was still able to produce 10,939 units for the 1961 model year. This model year had some important updates including the first to include aluminum radiators as standard equipment. Cosmetically a big improvement was moving the exhaust to exit the car under the rear bumper instead of out of the bumper itself which stopped the bumpers from getting dirty from exhaust fumes and gases. 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.
1961 Production Volumes by Model Variant
Of those cars, 700 were all convertibles since that was the only body style in 1955.
% of Total
1961 Production Volumes by RPO Codes & Colors
Below, we have broken out the 1961 Corvette production builds by RPO codes and options so you can see how popular or rare certain options were.
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.