Years ago I had this neighbor, Marge, who was seriously into opera. She had several three foot wide closets with four shelves each filled with LP albums. A small bedroom served as her sound enclosure. There were two five-foot high speakers, an old Macintosh tube amp with no cover, and the best turntable you could get. She would go in there, crank it up, and get involved. The bedroom was next to my driveway. When she was in the zone, her house shook. You could hear her weeping over the music. She also had twelve cats and a house full of antique furniture. There were frequent feline/furniture finish issues. One of the cats was nearly always in the doghouse, so to speak.

Cars were important to Marge. I remember she bought a new 1975 Pontiac LeMans equipped with interlocking seatbelts. The car wouldn’t start unless the seatbelts were fastened. Problem was, Marge didn’t wear seatbelts and wasn’t going to start anytime soon. So she took matters into her own hands and reverse engineered the system. Scissors made short work of the shoulder strap. That made the lap belt portion of the system easy to solve. Latch it together and stuff it between the seat cushions. The circuit was now permanently closed.

She came over to me one day with this 45 rpm Chevrolet promotional record called “The Sounds of a 1961 Corvette.” It featured Gene Staley, General Manager of Chevrolet, and a narration by Zora Arkus Duntov including the sounds of riding in a 1961 Corvette. I had the presence of mind to tape the recording, and recently found it after many years. Be sure to listen to Zora’s explanation as to why they gave the car more legroom. I shook Duntov’s hand on a visit he made through Pontiac Studio in 1973.

Enjoy the soundtrack. It’s a bit over six minutes long.
61Corvette.mp3

8 Comments
  1. Richard Hyden

    Wow… what memories this record brings back. I was about 9 when this record was published. I remember my Uncle Elden Hyden who was a car salesman in Columbus, Ind ( Bill Dunfee Chevorlet). He brought this record to our house for my Dad to listen to. It was amazing. The car sounded so powerful. Owning a Corvette was not possible for my Dad. There were 7 kids, a wife and a Corvette just would not fill the need. Thanks for the ride down memory lane. R.T. Hyden, Troy, Ohio

  2. Sheldon Payne

    1961 was the year I graduated from high school, and I really wanted a Corvette for my first car. Of course there was no way I could afford a new one, but I naively thought a used ’56 might be within reach. Unfortunately, my father talked me out of it, thinking a new Corvair would be more affordable and reliable, so I dutifully ordered one through the GM A-Plan (Dad was a Fisher Body employee)…big mistake!
    This recording reminds me of an old LP I have called “The Sounds of Sebring,” in which Corvettes play a good part. The sound of that big V8 on the overrun brings out goose bumps and was a real treat to the senses. How prescient of you to have made that tape, and thanks for sharing it.

  3. Chuck

    Hi – I had a copy of that record – and it was in pristine shape. A family friend borrowed it and refused to return it to me. I have long wished that I could recover it. Thank you for sharing this mp3 so I can listen as many times as I wish – it brings back many memories.

  4. Ivan Cardenas

    A very close friend had an original recording of this, given to him by another friend who had recently purchased a Fuely ’61 Corvette (new) and reportedly given to him by the salesman upon delivery of the car. I was 21 years old at the time and was so impressed each time I heard it (which was a lot) that I decided that I too, would own a Corvette. In 1964 my dream came true and I purchased a used 1960 Corvette, not fuel injected but a factory dual-four, 4 speed, with a 4:11 positraction rear end, radio delete (still relatively rare for the time). Fortunately I still have the car complete with the dual fours, 4 speed and Positraction and still enjoy it whenever I choose.

  5. Donald Kinyoun

    I have the original 33 1/3 (6 7/8 ‘) recording of Chevrolet Presents “Sounds of Corvette”. In fair condition, and for sale. Looking for offers. Used to own a 1961 and 1962 Corvette.
    Don

  6. Dave Oldham

    I still have my copy that my friend gave me compliments of his uncle who was a Chevy salesman. (including the cover) I am going to see my friend this weekend for the first time in 40 years. I wonder if he still has his copy. Mine will never be for sale! In 86 we were finally able to afford a Vette which we still have, just not a 61.

  7. Walter

    The original recording was a square plastic record. My Dad work as service Manager at Benson Chevrolet most of his life. He brought home all those goodies including a pedal car 56 Corvette which my Mother threw out after I out grew it. Now I know its worth about $6,000 since only one was given to each dealer.

  8. Jim Simonin

    I have a poster sized picture of my 1961 Corvette hanging above my computer screen! Mine had the two WCFB four barrel carburetor setup. You had to special order them back then!

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