Guide for the 1961 Corvette

The 1961 Corvette is the first redesign of the model and included an iconic ducktail rear end, complete with increased trunk space.
Written by Tiffany Leung
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Jan 18, 2023
The 1961 Corvette is a later model in the C1 generation and is the first year to receive a facelift. The ducktail rear-end design and the pair of small, round taillights first appeared on this year’s model, which eventually became the Corvette’s signature look in future generations.
The Corvette sales in the previous two years continued to rise, which prompted the green light for the 1961 Chevy Corvette to be restyled in 1961. The ducktail design from the Stingray race car, as well as Mitchell’s XP-700 show car, was incorporated into the new design. So were the now-iconic small, round taillights. Other design modifications were also made to streamline the look of the Corvette. Although the Corvette interior remained largely unchanged, the improved manufacturing process led to the 1960 Corvette’s recognition as the best-built Corvette of its time.
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has created a guide to walk you through the information you need to know about the 1961 Corvette and where to get one. This guide covers information including ownership costs, the strengths and weaknesses of 1961 models, and other essential details about this classic car. We'll even show you how to save on
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Ownership costs for a 1961 Corvette 

The cost of owning a 1961 Corvette largely depends on the version you own. On the highest end of the spectrum is the Corvette
. The other 1961 Corvettes are standard convertibles with RPO 469, RPO 469C, and RPO 579 or 579D powertrain and engine options. shows that a used or restored 1961 Corvette can sell for anywhere between $67,000 to $127,000 depending on the condition. And according to the J.D. Power and NADA Guide values, the average 1961 Corvette base prices are:
  • Original MSRP: $3,934
  • Current low retail value: $38,400
  • Average retail: $58,800
  • High retail value: $101,400

Where to buy a 1961 Corvette

If you want to buy a 1961 Corvette, you can search for nearby inventory at dealerships through
. You could instead opt to buy from a fellow enthusiast on a
Corvette forum
—a great option if you want to learn more about particular Corvette models, as well. 

What does the 1961 Corvette bring to the table? 

The 1961 Corvette sported an all-new design at the time, which then became synonymous with this classic car in future generations. In terms of practicality, the redesign of the Corvette rear end came with an additional benefit of a 20% increase in trunk space.
This 1961 classic was quickly recognized by critics and enthusiasts as the best-built Corvette yet, after the improvements in fiberglass manufacturing combined with refined assembly processes upgraded the car’s fit and finish. 

Strengths and weaknesses of the 1961 Corvette

Before you enter the market for a 1961 Corvette, here’s a breakdown of the good and bad of this classic car.

The good: speed

Although there is no official top speed recorded for the 1961 Corvette, being a contender on the racing circuits guarantees that this car is fast. To give you some numbers, it tops out at 230 hp at 4,800 rpm to 315 hp at 6,200 rpm.  

The good: luggage space

The 1961 Corvette boasts a 20% increase in luggage space after being redesigned. This aspect of the redesign makes this year’s Corvette more practical for those planning to drive the car regularly. 

The good: design

Since the Corvette’s rising popularity from the last model, the 1961 Corvette took a chance on a fresh design—most notably the new ducktail rear end, which is now beloved among Corvette enthusiasts. 

The bad: price 

While the 1961 Chevy Corvette had an MSRP of $3,934, the market price has since drastically increased to over $100,000—especially for the sought-after Stingray edition.
Serious Corvette fans would need to have a large budget ready, whether cash or a car loan, in order to own this car.

The bad: interior design

Once again the 1961 Corvette falls short in the interior design department, like many older model years. Despite the exterior revamp, the interior remains almost unchanged from its predecessors.

The bottom line—which 1961 Corvette to buy

If you’re looking for a classic car with an iconic style and impressive performance, go with the Corvette RPO 579. This option gives you the most horsepower and a four-speed transmission (if you want it). 
On the other hand, if you aren’t looking for anything race circuit-worthy, the Corvette Standard is a great choice and wouldn’t cost as much. 
If you are looking for a more unique 1961 Corvette, the obvious pick is the Corvette Stingray. But be sure to check the vehicle’s authenticity and condition before handing your money over. 

How to save money on car insurance for the 1961 Corvette

Whichever version of Chevrolet’s classic Corvette you choose, more affordable car insurance options can be found with some research.
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