1962 Chevrolet Corvette C1 Racing Car

  • 1962 Chevrolet Corvette C1
  • Rebuilt to competition specification from 2011-15
  • Raced at the Le Mans Classic and Goodwood Revival
  • Current FIA-HTP papers and ready to race

Imported into the UK in 2011, this 1962 Chevrolet Corvette C1 was fully restored and rebuilt to competition specification over a period of four years. The work was carried out by Adam Ruddle, an engineer for Tesla, with assistance from famous Kent-based specialist Claremont Corvette.

Completed at the end of 2015, the car is a tribute to the Scuderia Scirocco Corvette that ran in the 1962 Le Mans 24 Hours, where it was driven by the Anglo-American pairing of Jack Turner and Tony Settember. With cars lining up for the start of the race in order of engine capacity, the 5.4-litre Corvette – which was given the race number ‘1’ – was actually at the front of the queue as the flag dropped and drivers sprinted across the track.

It ran well during the race until an error by one of the drivers damaged the transmission, and in the end the rumbling Chevrolet retired after fourteen and a half hours.

In 2016, this Corvette was invited to race in the new one-hour Kinrara Trophy at the Goodwood Revival. Co-driven by Henry Arundel, the Earl of Arundel and Surrey, it took its place on a mouth-watering grid of pre-1963 GT cars – including Ferrari 250 GTOs and Short Wheelbases, plus Aston Martin DB4 GTs and Jaguar E-types – and successfully reached the chequered flag.

The car also competed at that year’s Le Mans Classic – 54 years after the Scuderia Scirocco team had raced at La Sarthe. Despite being the oldest car in Plateau 4, where it was up against the likes of GT40s and Shelby Cobras, the Corvette ran strongly throughout – particularly in the dawn session on Sunday morning, where its V8 muscle led to it overtaking the likes of Porsche 911s and a Ferrari 275 GTB.

It also competed at the Silverstone Classic that year, before having a winter refresh that included a respray, a new clutch and a rebuild of the four-speed Muncie gearbox. The Corvette subsequently returned to the Le Mans Classic in 2018 and has raced at other major international events such as the Donington Historic Festival and the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or.

Now offered for sale at The Classic Motor Hub, this Corvette C1 is a charismatic and robust choice of historic racer that is eligible for the world’s finest events. It comes with FIA-HTP papers that are valid until 31 December 2026, and is fitted with the original Rochester injection system – although it includes the complete kit for switching to a Holley carburettor.

It has a choice of exhaust system – a straight-through set-up for racing, plus silencers for road use – and comes with an extensive collection of spares, including a pair of wheels with tyres, hoses, gaskets, ignition components and an electric fan.

Model history

Launched in 1953, the Corvette has become one of the most enduring sports cars of all time. Built using a glassfibre body, it was introduced with a six-cylinder engine and an automatic gearbox, and sales were relatively slow until a V8 powerplant was added in 1955.

Upgrades came thick and fast during the lifetime of the original C1 model, with electric windows being added in 1956 and a four-speed manual in 1957, and there were various facelifts along the way – including one in 1958 that gave the front end its distinctive quad headlamps.

The Corvette’s mechanical underpinnings were relatively simple – drum brakes and a solid rear axle were used throughout C1 production – but its straight-line performance was immense. Just before the second-generation C2 was launched in 1963, the Corvette’s small-block V8 was enlarged to 327 cubic inches – just under 5.4 litres – and it produced 250bhp in standard form, or 360bhp running on fuel injection.

In the latter form, it could cover the quarter-mile in less than 15 seconds and get from 0-60mph in only six seconds.

Zora Arkus-Duntov was the man who did the most to give the Corvette a level of overall performance that matched its looks. He also recognised the importance of competition, but at the time there was a gentleman’s agreement between major American manufacturers that prevented them from officially taking part in motorsport.

There were ways around it, however, and in 1960 the American privateer Briggs Cunningham entered a trio of near-standard Corvettes for the Le Mans 24 Hours. The car driven by John Fitch and Bob Grossman finished eighth overall and won its class – the start of a long history of Corvette success that has continued into the 21st century, at La Sarthe as well as other endurance classics.

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