A Monza for All Seasons
I picked this 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Club Coupe—one of 151,738 built that model year and 1962’s most popular Corvair—as a daily driver for a variety of reasons. One was traction: The rear-engine, rear-drive configuration will go anywhere I ask it to, regardless of road conditions. With its horizontally opposed engine and willingness to perform in Vermont winters, the Corvair seemed the perfect vintage equivalent to the ubiquitous Subarus found here in the Green Mountain State. It’s an ironic home for an Oakland, California-built car, but the paperwork I found in the glovebox implies it moved to Michigan when it was only six years old and spent the next 30 years there as a daily driver. “Monza” trim and “high-performance” 102-hp engine notwithstanding, the little coupe is at its best as transportation— racking up 111,202 miles as of this writing.
Compromises were made over the course of those miles and the car has suffered certain indignities. A 1979-vintage Michigan license plate (once registered to the car, according to the paperwork) was used to patch a hole in the driver’s footwell; in the back seat area, a painted over “Keep Right” sign serves the same purpose. The engine cover and trunk lid were both appropriated for installation on a convertible—black-primered substitutes were left in their place. The passenger-side bucket seat is gone, and a red, 1963-style unit that won’t lock in position is in its place. The bumpers, presumably too pitted for replating, are silver powder coated. All that’s perfect, as I’m not driving somebody’s restoration project or a well-preserved survivor into the ground. Nope, I’m just driving a car that happened to have turned 50 in November 2021.
Steering boxes aren’t inherently dead and wandering. Fresh bushings in the front suspension may well take up all of that slop. If not, it’s time to adjust the box.
Tools are a must when you’re daily driving an oldie. The original spare-tire position (to the engine’s right) will make a perfect mount for a vintage toolbox, which will include a tire-patching kit.
In lieu of carpet and padding, I’m going to treat the floorboards with POR-15’s rust-conversion system, and then apply POR-15’s bedliner to the topside. Below, the rust converter will be followed by POR-15 undercoating.
To supplement the TEMP/PRESS and GEN/ FAN warning lights, I’ll be installing Stewart-Warner oil-temperature, oil-pressure, and voltmeter gauges. A New Vintage USA 1967-series tachometer will mount to the ash tray.