1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1
(Featured on 9th July 2013)
Registration: DX1 491
Sellers original description:
1961 Corvette C1.
I have always been into cars and have been through lots of classics already from Spitfires and MGs to Mustang Fastbacks and Shelby clones. They were all great cars, but I was after a new challenge - something rare and something extra special!
I wanted a classic muscle car and I finally found this Corvette which I believed could be restored to its former glory. It was a 61 car that had been stripped of all its parts and was a rolling shell with the advantage of a 350cu engine replacement. It looked like it had been undersealed and was ready for painting.
I had already bought a few American cars on Ebay over the years and was confident that I knew the import process well enough.
Once the car arrived, it was evident that the parts that were sent with it were pretty much useless and only fit for the bin. Also, the engine had seen its last days and the "underseal" turned out to be nothing more than some hand painted grey paint! It’s the risk you take when buying a car unseen, but I wanted a full, professional restoration anyway so wasn't that fussed.
The first task was to strip the shell back to the fibreglass which highlighted some stress cracks that needed repair and strengthening. Other repairs to the fibreglass were made where needed and the shell was soon prepared and ready for spraying. The inside and the engine bay were done in matt black and the body was red with white coves. The underneath was painted in Shultz and the chassis was wax injected.
Most parts are readily available, but the rarer items can be expensive and harder to find. Shipping can be expensive and you also get hit for VAT when they arrive! I had to resort to Ebay for some of the harder to find parts, but there are specialist sellers on there that can pretty much get whatever you need, at a price!
For example, window regulators for a UK classic car can be around £30, but for a 61 Corvette, they are £250 each! The chrome is another item that costs a lot with each front corner bumper costing £300 (If you have the originals, they can be re-chromed for a saving of at least 50%). Buying parts for the car was a continual process with the restoration company patiently waiting for new deliveries.
Although they had rebuilt many cars, they had never done a C1 before and to help them out, I bought an original assembly manual. However, some parts still proved difficult to fit. On several occasions I had to post questions on the enthusiast forums and ask suppliers how things were supposed to be assembled. It all takes time, but the answers are out there!
The car didn’t originally come with a 350 engine and some modifications were required to the brackets and pulleys, etc to make it fit. I have just fitted a BRAND NEW crate engine which has done less than 100 miles!
The car was finally finished and has hardly been driven since!
This car remains virtually as new (if not better!) with all parts being replaced and having undergone a nut and bolt restoration costing almost £70k to complete.