Q:

What does it mean if someone say they have a matching numbers Corvette? I have a 1961 Corvette and want to know if mine can be called a matching numbers car.



A:

Thank you for taking the time to write concerning your questions about your 1961 Corvette numbers. The question of whether or not a Corvette is a "Numbers Matching" car is a question that means many things to many people. In the simplest of terms, the statement "Numbers Matching" means that the numbers on the engine block pad are correct, factory authentic, stamped numbers and letters that were placed on the engine pad at the time of build for any specific Corvette.


There are also numbers and letters that were cast into the original castings, most specifically the engine block, that also should match in terms of date and appropriateness. In fact, the term "Numbers Matching", taken to its extreme, means that all the numbers, letters, date codes, proof marks and inspection marks on the entire car should match "typical factory production" information that have been observed on original, unchanged examples of early Corvettes. A car that was preserved in exactly the same condition, as it was when it left the factory would be a perfect example of a real "Numbers Matching" car. Your question asks about your VIN tag, located on your steering mast, under the hood, just forward of the firewall. You mention that it is held in place with rivets. This is not the typical method of attachment of the VIN tags that were installed on 1961 Corvettes.


All original 1961 Corvettes had spot welded, stainless steel VIN tags attached to the steering column mast, in approximately the same location you describe. The sequence and style of letters and numbers tells me that you have a "State assigned vehicle identification number". This is a common thing. If the VIN tag is lost or damaged, the state will apply a replacement tag, and in doing so, the numbers may be kept the same, or they may be changed. In your case, it seems that the state has made up a completely new number. I believe that your original VIN number, which would have appeared on the original VIN tag, would have read: 10867S107432.1 can surmise this from the numbers you quote as present on your engine pad. You say: 1107432F0413CQ. These numbers and letters tell me that your sequential build number of the car was 7432, approximately April 17,1961, and that your engine was assembled in Flint (F) on April 13(0413) and was a 230 HP, standard base engine with a four barrel carburetor and a manual transmission, (CQ). Note that the build date of the engine precedes the build date of the car, which is something we look for in judging the authenticity of the engine assembly. Your engine casting number of 3756519 is the correct engine casting number for all 1961 Corvettes.


Your transmission appears to be a later model four-speed transmission. It is a Muncie, all aluminum case transmission, probably made in 1967. Your rear axle third member sounds like a June of 1962, open, (non-positraction) type differential assembly, also probably a replacement part. The good news is that your engine does appear, from the information you provided, to be the original, factory-installed engine. This is the one item that is most important to many Corvette enthusiasts. (Be aware that it is possible that it has been re-stamped by a previous owner. This is possible, but not probable). The other primary items that you mentioned, the transmission and rear differential assembly, appear to have been changed somewhere during the life of the car.


Thank you again for your question. I hope I have been able to shed some light on the subject.