Another Record was Set with the 1960 Corvette as Little on the Car Changed
The 1960 Corvette was practically a clone of the 1959 model but there were still some slight modifications done to the American icon. 1960 also brought a wonderful milestone for the fledgling sports car as for the first time in the Corvette’s history sales would surpass the 10,000 unit mark.
While there were not a lot of changes done to the engines there were some power upgrades that were made to the two top engines available in the 1960 Corvette. On the first version, solid lifters and a higher compression gave the 283 fuelie an output of 315 horsepower at 6200 RPM which was a marked improvement. A second version that featured hydraulic lifters that allowed for easier maintenance pushed out 275 horsepower at 5200 RPM. However, due to the added power, the Powerglide was no longer available on the 1960 Corvette if it had a fuel injected engine because the torque was simply too much for the transmission to handle.
Even though Chevy had decided to stop promoting the Corvette as a ‘racer’ and instead decided to tout it as a ‘no fuss’ touring car, if a buyer wanted a racer, there were plenty of options available to accommodate. Aside from the 315 horsepower engine buyers could also obtain optional equipment such as:
- Positraction: This complimented a more powerful drivetrain and gave the best performance possible.
- Four-Speed Transmission: The four-speed continued to be a favorite of the speed freaks in 1960.
- Metallic Brake Linings: This came with the RPO 687 package and allowed for better overall stopping and didn’t take as long as conventional brakes to heart up thus working at full capacity quicker.
- Black-Wall Nylon Tires: This only added a little bit of money to the price tag as white walls remained the standard.
With all the added options for speed and performance, the 1960 Corvette was once again basically a street legal racecar.
On the racetrack itself, chief GM engineer Bill Mitchell was unveiling his privately funded ‘Stingray’ and that lent to the ramped rumors of an all new Corvette in the making. Because Mitchell had replaced the retired Harley Earl just two years prior in 1958, the fact that he himself was debuting a racecar made everyone think that it was what was coming down the pipe for the Vette; and in some ways it actually was.
In reality, Mitchell and his team were constantly working to come up with the next generation of the Corvette but their progress would be slowed. The Corvette’s next generation had to take a backset for a little while as the Chevrolet Corvair took center stage and a lot of resources on its way to being deemed more important at the time. Though Mitchell and his team had many ideas, they would have to wait until 1963 to see any of them come to fruition.
The biggest news for the 1960 Corvette was the sales for the model year. When it was all said and done GM managed to move 10,261 units. This was the first time that the Vette had sold that physiological number of 10,000 units or more and at that point GM had all the confidence in the world in the Corvette.