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You can absolutely do it without cutting the frame horns off, but you will most likely have to remove the front crossmember. If I remember correctly the crossmember on the '61 Vette sits under the frame rails and is a big bulbous affair. All the A frames, etc. connect to it, and the front swaybar hangs above the frame, not below like later Vettes.
If you grind off the rivets and then punch them out, you can save the crossmember to sell or keep. The remaining frame rails are nice and straight, and will be a great base to hang the straight axle perches on.
Here's a pic of your frame I found on the internet:
 

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Welcome Tom. I'd love to see another '61 Vette straight axle car. I had a friend back in the early 70's that had one, a beautiful yellow and white convertible. He was in the Army at Fort Bragg. Lost contact with him years ago but can still see the car in my ageing mind.... like yesterday. Good luck with your conversion and post some pics when you can. :)
 

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Just a note I thought of, and you may have already too. Before removing the crossmember, be sure to weld a round or square tube up at the front to hold the rails in place once the crossmember is removed.
After looking closer at the picture I posted, it appears the crossmember is a bolt in, so easy to remove as one piece, without removing all the suspension first. Looks like 16 bolts hold the whole frontend on the frame rails.
 

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