1961 Chevrolet Corvette - Second-Chance '61

A few years back, Robert McNerney went to the Atlantic City Classic Car Auction in hopes of finding a C1 that he could buy as a weekend driver. He missed this gem the first time around.

Step By Step

Going Out In Style: Robert's Vette was built in the last month of the '61 model-year production; one of the last ones out the door at St. Louis with two-tone paint and wide whitewalls.

By The Numbers: Original '61 gauge cluster includes 0-160 mph speedometer and 0-7,000 rpm tach with 5,500 rpm redline.

Robert's '61 now has about 76,000 miles on it, and it's an eye-grabber everywhere it goes. "It's unbelievable, the attention," he says. "You pull up, and you have two, maybe three people asking you about the car." What's it like to drive? Robert puts it simply: "It's pretty powerful!"

When asked if he plans to seek NCRS Top Flight certification for it, Robert replies, "I did have an NCRS judge look at it, and he gave me a breakdown of what I had to do," he says. "Again, it's not something that I'm pursuing, but it wouldn't take very much to do it. I'm just enjoying it at this point."

That enjoyment includes showing it locally with his son, Ryan. "He loves it, as well. We've been to several car shows with it, and we've won trophies with it. It's something we do together." Does that show-going-and subsequent highway beautification-include trips to events like Corvettes at Carlisle in the future? Robert says that showing at Carlisle isn't in his plans, for now, and selling it is definitely out of the question. "I have a couple friends who are really into restoring cars, and they're trying to talk me into selling it, but I told them, 'I waited too long for this one, I'm not selling it.'" With this late-production '61 filled with firsts-and-lasts, who can blame him?

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