Streetside Classics - Nashville
6000 Reliance Dr
Hard not to love a vintage Corvette, and while some purists might cringe at the upgrades under this 1961 Corvette's fiberglass skin, the net result is a car that runs and drives like a Corvette should. Add in the classic look that was completely unaltered, a stylish cockpit, and excellent build quality and you end up with a car that gets better and better the more you look at it.
Roman Red on a Corvette is never a mistake, and while the '61s were nearing the end of the "solid axle" era, they're also among the most attractive. None of the modifications made to this car change the awesome look, from the quad headlights and wide-mouth grille up front to the gently tapering deck lid that was a preview of the Sting Ray to come. Even though it's a few years old, finish quality is outstanding thanks to a professional freshening that involved a lot of sanding on the fiberglass substrate and high-quality urethane paint that should look good for years to come. There are a few signs of use, because there's just no way to resist sliding behind the wheel of this 2-seater, and the flaws are so minor and the quality of the work shines through brightly that you just won't care. Good gaps, no ripples or waves, and crisp details are all evidence of professionals at work. All the brightwork is probably original so it's showing some age, but then again a Corvette with a bit of character is arguably more appealing than perfection and all of it looks right on the car.
The red interior is very correctly restored and from behind the wheel you'd be hard-pressed to spot the modifications. The skinny 3-spoke steering wheel, the rounded gauges with the tach in the center (although they're all modern tech from Dakota Digital), and the dash-mounted rear-view mirror all give it that vintage feel that makes old cars so appealing. Heck, they even kept the original shifter and adapted it to the Tremec 5-speed manual that's underneath today. A/C was added as well, and it was so discreetly installed that you many not notice it, even if you're really looking. Everything is in excellent condition, so obviously the work is quite recent, making this a car that perfectly blends the past and today. For weather protection, there's a factory hardtop that's been restored to match (a convertible top frame is also included) and the trunk is only a rubber mat away from being correct.
A later 350 cubic inch V8 is an easy installation in the vintage 'Vette engine bay, but with a 4-barrel carburetor, MSD ignition system, and long-tube headers, it's got about double the horsepower of the original 283. For reliability, there's a big radiator up front, plus a modern alternator to keep up with the A/C and stereo. Lots of chrome and polished aluminum makes the engine bay worth showing off and obviously it runs great, as most 350s do. That 5-speed manual transmission is a smart choice, with a low first gear for acceleration and a tall overdrive for cruising, and it spins what appears to be the original rear end. A custom dual exhaust system has an awesome V8 burble that's perfect for a Corvette and the suspension and brakes appear to be stock, so that part of the driving experience is undiluted. 15-inch Cragar SS mags are a period-perfect choice and are wrapped in sensibly-sized 215/65/15 front and 255/60/15 rear Firestone radials.
This Corvette is not radical and with a change to the rolling stock, it would be almost impossible to spot the upgrades, which is the very best way to build a resto-mod: reliable where it counts and gorgeous everywhere else. Call today!
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