1961 Corvette

1961 Chevrolet Corvette


The first generation of the Chevy Corvette is known as the C1 and was built from 1953 to 1962.

The 1961 Corvette got a redesigned 'ducktail" rear end which was flatter than the previous design. For the first time, the Corvette got four round tail lights. It would become a Corvette trademark. The exhaust pipes no longer exited through the rear bumpers, and came out under the car in a more traditional manner.

Up front, there were also a number of changes. The front grill had a finer mesh pattern, the headlight bezels were now body colored instead of being chrome, and the front emblem was a smaller crossed-flags design. The side cove insignia was also changed for 1961 only.

Engine and transmission options remained unchanged. 1961 would mark the last year of the 283 small block Chevy in the Corvette, and the last year of the dual four-barrel carb engines.

1961 Corvette Key Differences

Key differences of the 1961-62 Corvettes include the new "ducktail" rear end with four round taillights, the finer front grill mesh, and body-colored headlight bezels.

A 1961 Corvette can be differentiated from a 1962 by the front crossed-flags emblem not being enclosed by a circle, the three bar side cove insignia, chrome trim around the side cove and three chrome strakes in the cove, and the absence of a lower rocker-panel chrome strip.

Similar Years

The 1961 and 1962 Corvettes shared the same body design. Minor badge and trim differences distinguish the two years.

How to Identify a 1961 Corvette


  • C1 Corvette body style (1953-1962)

1961 Corvette Rear End

  • For 1961, the rear end was redesigned to be flatter (1961-1962)
  • Tail lights relocated from the top of the fenders to the rear of the car (1961-1962)
  • Exhaust pipes now exit under the car, not through the rear bumpers as before (1961-1962)

1961 Corvette Side Insignia

  • For 1961 only, the insignia on the cove changed to a design that incorporated three horizontal bars

1961 Corvette Grill

  • Front grill changed to a finer array of horizontal and vertical bars (1961-62)

1961 Corvette Headlights

  • Bezel around the headlights is now body-colored instead of chrome (1961-62)
  • Dual headlights with a grill opening set below continued (1958-62)

1961 Corvette Front Emblem

  • Front emblem changed to a standalone crossed flags design from a larger disk badge (1961)

1961 Corvette Tail Lights

  • Four round tail lights were introduced, which continues to be a Corvette tradition to this day (1961-62)

1961 Corvette Side Cove

  • The side cove remained the same with three horizontal chrome strakes (1958-61)
  • Last year for the chrome trim around the side cove (1958-61)
  • Last year that the side cove could be painted a different color (1956-61)

1961 Corvette Trunk Emblem

  • The trunk emblem continued without change (1956-62)

1961 Corvette Dash

  • The dash remained unchanged (1958-62)

1961 Corvette Hubcap

  • The slotted hubcap design carried over from the previous year (1959-62)

More 1961 Corvette Pictures

For more photos of vintage 1961 Corvettes, visit the C1 Corvette Image Gallery at the Muscle Car Jungle.

If you have any comments, or would like to report any errors or omissions, contact us at feedback@oldcarsguide.com

Field Guide to American Autos

Need help identifying a classic car from the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, or 1980's? Old Cars Guide .com has illustrated make and model guides to help you identify the most popular vintage North American automobiles. Year to year and generational changes are outlined in easy to use picture identification guides.

Musclecar Jungle
T-Shirts & Gifts

Musclecar t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs, buttons, stickers, and more are available at
The Musclecar Shop