Corvette C1

Reviving the Legacy of the Corvette C1

    Engineering, Performance, and Conversion Brilliance

1961 Chevrolet C1 Corvette 1961 Chevrolet C1 Corvette RM Sotheby’s Perhaps no Corvette generation experienced more significant changes than the C1. The car that rolled off the production line just six months after the 1953 GM Motorama was more of a preliminary draft than the final product. Initially, it debuted as a small roadster, available only in Polo White with a red interior and a removable black top. It bore a striking resemblance to the compact sports cars produced by Jaguar and MG. The C1 didn't truly come into its own until the 1956 redesign, which extended the car's length and introduced a new front fascia reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. However, Chevy continued to refine it, and the last model year of the C1 featured a new rear end, the first to showcase the nameplate signature quad tail lights.


Design wasn't the only aspect of the Corvette first generation that underwent rapid and drastic changes. The car initially launched with a 3.9-liter inline-six engine, producing a modest 150 horsepower under the bonnet. To make matters more challenging, this engine was paired with a two-speed automatic transmission. Fortunately, things took a turn for the better in 1955 when a 4.3-liter V-8, generating 195 horsepower, and a three-speed manual gearbox were introduced. This effectively transformed the Corvette into a full-fledged sports car. By the end of this generation, the model was available with a fuel-injected 5.4-liter V-8 engine that could deliver up to 360 horsepower.

Corvette C1 Petrol Engines (1953-1962)

  • Maximum Power: 152 hp / 112 kW
  • Engine Size: 3,859 cm³ (235.5 cu-in).
  • Maximum Power: 157 hp / 115 kW
  • Engine Size: 3,859 cm³ (235.5 cu-in)
  • Maximum Power: 198 hp / 146 kW
  • Engine Size: 4,344 cm³ (265.1 cu-in)
  • Maximum Power: Up to 228 hp / 168 kW
  • Engine Sizes: 4,339 cm³ (264.8 cu-in), 4,638 cm³ (283 cu-in)
1957 - 58
  • Maximum Power: 233 hp / 171 kW
  • Engine Size: 4,638 cm³ (283 cu-in).
1961 - 62
  • Maximum Power: 253 hp / 186 kW
  • Engine Size: 5,354 cm³ (326.7 cu-in)