Motor Matters: 1961 Corvette All the Way with JFK

Larry Gray’s childhood was spent in Pine Bluff, Ark., during the “I Like Ike” era, followed by the “All The Way With JFK” years. In order to make a couple of dollars young Gray worked several jobs. He delivered newspapers for 35 cents a week and also pumped gasoline part time at the local gasoline station.

In those days station attendants would pump the gasoline, check the oil level in your car and wipe your vehicle’s windshield. One of Gray’s newspaper customers, an elderly gentleman, was also a gas station customer who was memorable because he drove a 1961 Chevrolet Corvette.

A total of 10,939 Corvettes were produced during the 1961 model year, all of them were roadsters with a base price of $3,934.

About a year and a half ago Gray learned of a large gathering of old cars every Saturday night in the city of Houston. After attending on a few occasions, he saw his dream car — a pearly white, freshly restored 1961 Corvette.
The 283-cubic-inch V-8 engine was rebuilt and the four-speed manual transmission was overhauled. With the single four-barrel carburetor feeding fuel to the engine Gray says, “It purrs.”

A set of 6.70×15-inch black sidewall tires support the car on a 102-inch wheelbase. Gray has the original pressed steel wheels and full wheel covers that came with the Corvette five decades ago, but he is taken with the chrome wheels that presently are on the car.

— Vern Parker, Motor Matters

Copyright, AutoWriters Associates Inc., 2012



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