This Preservation Class-quality Jewel Blue 1961 Corvette was formerly owned by Anthony A. Ripepi, Jr. of Parma, Ohio, who acquired it from Roger’s Auto Sales of Lakewood in 1985, at which point it had 10,264 miles.
Mr. Ripepi subsequently sold the car in September 1987 with 12,671 miles to Daniel Spencer of North Olmstead, Ohio, only to later buy it back at 14,383 miles in 2000. After remaining with Mr. Ripepi for another twenty years, the vehicle now shows 16,194 miles . . . reflecting only minimal, careful use over the years by its loving owners and verified by the ownership documents remaining with the car.
Most impressively, this remarkable Corvette Roadster remains almost entirely original, so much so that it was presented to Bloomington Gold in 2017 as a Survivor participant and was awarded Silver Certification for having 90-94% of its original surfaces preserved (see the certificates in the photo gallery). Most of the deduction was due to the left front fender having been carefully repainted after being scratched. In addition, a slip-up while jacking the car resulted in a new inner panel being fitted behind the right front wheel.
Otherwise, all of the factory body finishes are preserved and for their age remain in remarkable condition. On the exterior, the headlight lenses remain crisp and clear, the chrome trim is remarkable down to the wheels, and the factory hardtop is in fine shape.
The interior of the trunk is dry and, while it shows some age, appears to retain all of its original finishes and houses a correct spare and jack. The spare’s cover even has its original instruction labels.
The interior is particularly amazing, reflecting a welcome patina of use. The carpets and floor mats are somewhat weathered but charmingly so, while the upholstery and dashboard are in remarkably fine order. The latter is still outfitted with its original clock, push-button Wonderbar radio and defroster controls, and the proper tachometer redlines at 5,500 rpm.
Former owner Dan Spencer investigated the car’s drivetrain, confirming that it retains the 245 hp version of the 283 cu in V8 with dual four-barrel carburetors and hydraulic valve lifters. Ten years ago, both the original engine and transmission were removed, cleaned and detailed with nothing replaced other than the motor mounts when the motor was reinstalled.
The original exhaust is in place, although showing its original patina. The starter was restored, a new cable and bracket fitted for the emergency brake, and new brake lines installed. The stabilizer links were replaced, and the ball joints exchanged oversized units. Further, the cooling fan was restored, while the radiator was replaced by a correct Harrison OEM unit.
While all of this work was done at roughly the same time, it remains so clean as to appear to have been done yesterday. Both front and rear bumper brackets are newer and were likely replaced some years ago, and the right rear axle bracket is also new; the left remains original.
Undoubtedly there is no finer original and unrestored 1961 Corvette available on the market today – it is a car that wears its past proudly.