Auctions and Brokerage
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Tom Terrell Jr., Berwyn, Illinois (acquired new in 1961)Stephen Knell, Champaign, Illinois (acquired by 1970)Gary Rolfe, Urbana, Illinois (acquired from the above in July 1970)Robert Hinkley, Urbana, Illinois (acquired from the above in 1971)Elmer Lash, Champaign, Illinois (acquired from the above in 1989)Ronnie and Alvin Stienman, Waterford, Connecticut (acquired from the above in 1998)Gino Burelli, Michigan City, Indiana (acquired from the above in 2006)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2008)
SCCA Road America June Sprints, 1961, Terrell, No. 5 (5th Overall)SCCA National Meadowdale, 1961, Terrell, No. 53 (7th Overall)SCCA Wilmot Hills, 1961, Blanchard, No. 5 (1st Overall)SCCA Road America 500, 1961, Terrell, No. 55 (7th Overall)
Chevy Vettefest Nationals, 1993 (Gold Spinner Award, Triple Crown)NCRS National, San Antonio, Texas, 2006 (Duntov Mark of Excellence)
For 1961, the penultimate year of the solid-axle Corvette, Chevrolet offered several high-performance options. They were described in factory literature as “special equipment for sports car meets.” The most popular of these was the powerful fuel-injected 283/315 engine, which found its way into just 1,462 Corvettes. A mere 233 were ordered with heavy-duty chassis equipment (RPO 687), which included fast-ratio steering, heavy-duty shock absorbers, and large sintered-metallic drum brakes with cooling fins, vented backing plates, and air scoops. Even scarcer was the extra-large 24-gallon fuel tank (RPO 1625), which increased range on both road and track. In all, just 25 “tanker” Corvettes were built in 1961.
The Corvette presented here possesses all three ultra-desirable options, as well as a close-ratio four-speed gearbox, Posi-Traction rear axle, 4.11:1 final drive ratio, and 5 1/2"-wide wheels required for the large drum brakes. Finished in Ermine White with red upholstery, this car was originally sold through Quality Chevrolet in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and was prepared for racing by Nichels Engineering in Highland, Indiana.
The Corvette’s first owner, Tom Terrell Jr., immediately entered it in several SCCA races including Road America and Meadowdale. At Wilmot Hills, Terrell’s friend, Chuck Blanchard, drove it to a first-place finish. The fuelie remained in Illinois throughout the 1960s and was retired from the road in 1973. In 1989, Corvette collector Elmer Lash discovered the car in Robert Hinkley’s garage and, recognizing its rarity, immediately offered to buy the car. Over the next four years, the Corvette was restored to its original as-delivered condition with the goal of displaying it in judged competition.
Since its debut at the May 1993 NCRS Regional, this rare Corvette has received important honors including Top Flight awards and the prestigious Duntov Mark of Excellence, the club’s highest award. In addition, the fuelie has been Gold Certified, awarded the Chevy Vettefest Triple Crown and, in 2001, included in the Bloomington Gold Special Collection. Furthermore, it has been featured in several publications, including Corvette Fever (March 1994), on the cover of that year’s Bloomington Gold calendar, and is listed with the Registry of Corvette Race Cars.
Carefully maintained in a major East Coast collection and presented today in outstanding condition, this Corvette is offered with a removable hardtop, correct “elephant ear” brake cooling scoops, and a documentation file that includes award certificates, magazine articles, copies of previous titles, and correspondence.
Presented here is one of the exceedingly rare original fuel-injected, big brake tankers built for 1961. The appearance of this car at auction represents a unique opportunity to acquire one of the finest examples of a rare breed of factory-built competition Corvettes.