Tag: corvair

A Road Racing-Inspired Mid-Engine Corvair? Yes, Please – Mike Austin @Hemmings

A Road Racing-Inspired Mid-Engine Corvair? Yes, Please – Mike Austin @Hemmings

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The annual SEMA Show encapsulates so many things we love about the car hobby. Heritage, innovation, and craftsmanship are all on display. Take Lonnie Gilbertson’s RareVair, which is headed to this year’s festivities in Las Vegas. It’s a 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa, with a mid-mounted small-block LS, painted to match a unique piece of Chevy road-racing history.

A mid-engine Corvair is not a new idea, of course. Kelmark and Crown made kits, and there are no doubt countless DIY efforts. Gilbertson’s personal introduction to the Corvair happened when his brother bought a Corsa in the 1970s. “That’s when I kind of first became aware of what Corvairs were and I’ve always liked that body style,” he says. “So progress up to now, I was looking around for another project to build, and I thought I’m going to go for a Corvair.”

The inspiration for the car began with the Yenko Stinger. “With the style of that body, it just fit for the sports racer feel about it,” Gilbertson says. Combine that with a 1972 De Tomaso Pantera his shop restored a few years ago and, Gilbertson says, “I’ve always had a thing in the back of my mind about how a mid-engine V-8 car is just a lot of fun to drive. So that combined with the Yenko Stinger and my need for speed, I just thought, I gotta do this.

“After finding a suitable donor car, Gilbertson sourced an LS3 V-8 from a 2009 Corvette. For the gearbox, he went to the 930-generation Porsche 911 Turbo, given its reputation for strength and the fact that the earlier four-speeds have one of the shortest bellhousings. With the gears mounted behind the engine, that means more legroom. “I’m not a small guy,” says Gilbertson, “so I wanted passenger comfort

.”He went to Kennedy Engineered Products to mate the transaxle to the small-block. As for the engine, it had about 30,000 miles on it and looked new inside, so Gilbertson didn’t feel the need to change too much. A Comp Cams camshaft (and associated valvetrain parts) and a Holley Sniper intake are the only changes from stock. Still, he estimates it makes about 500 horsepower at the wheels. Not bad for a car that weighs only about 2800 pounds

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The Nut Behind the Wheel: David Conwill can’t stay away from Corvairs – David Conwill @Hemmings

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[Editor’s note: The author behind The Nut Behind the Wheel talking about himself? Yes, well, here at Hemmings we’re all a little nuts. Here’s why David Conwill can’t stay away from Corvairs.]“

My parents warned me off from Corvairs when I was still in elementary school. At my bus stop, in kindergarten, there was this fascinating old car. I showed my parents and they said ‘Oh, that’s a Corvair. The heater will asphyxiate you.’ The name Ralph Nader never came up—I don’t think they took him very seriously. They were car people, but Corvairs were just too ‘out there’ for them. It looked so cool to me, though, with that flat roof and wrap-around rear window. I never forgot it. Even once I got into conventional cars, with the engine up front and a radiator, the interesting shape of an early Corvair stuck with me.

“Almost 20 years later, when I was visiting my fiancée, we saw a Corvair convertible coming the other way during a scenic drive we were on. She loved it too and she wound up buying me a couple of old ads that I framed on my wall. One calls Corvair ‘the happiest-driving compact car’ and I think that might be true. It’s not just a shrunken conventional car. That’s one thing that kept me away from them for a long time, but ultimately, that’s a big part of their appeal.

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My Classic Car taught me that we are stewards preserving for future generations – @ClassicCar.com

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My wife and I bought our 1967 Corvair Monza convertible from the estate of the second owner. The car was being sold by the mechanic on behalf of the wife who was selling all of the her deceased husband’s cars.

The mechanic put me in touch with John, the original owner, who bought the car new in 1967 and he gave me the full history on the car over his 45-year ownership. He bought the car right after he married his wife.

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How Frank Winchell defended the Chevrolet Corvair, in his own words – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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[Editor’s note: While speaking with Nick Gigante regarding his upcoming Corvair Vindication Day event, Nick forwarded us a transcript of the speech that Frank Winchell, his grandfather, gave to 900 or so members of the Corvair Society of America at the club’s annual convention in 1979 in Detroit. We excerpted a few sentences in that story, but thought it worth reprinting here, if for nothing else than for the technical arguments Winchell made in defense of the Corvair.]
Introduction by unknown speaker: I would like to introduce our speaker tonight, Vice President of General Motors Corporations and Director of Engineering Staff, Mr. Frank Winchell.
Mr. Winchell speaking: 
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is indeed a pleasure to be here this evening. Everybody always says that… I’ve said it myself. But tonight is different… I mean it!
As a matter of fact, I have addressed very few friendly audiences… period. I don’t address anyone if I don’t have to. I don’t like speaking. I’m not very good at it, it makes me nervous, nobody pays attention and I’m inclined to be a little profane. In fact, I don’t hardly like anyone anymore, anyway—if you want to know… I’m mad.

Classic Corvair camper van ready for road trippin’ – Larry Edsall @ClassicCar.com

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Only 50 Greenbrier vans were produced in 1964 with the camper package and that this one also has the aftermarket “Turtle Top” that lifts the roofline when parked to provide 72 inches of standing height.

This unit also has been displayed recently in the Corvette Museum in Glenarm, Illinois.

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Related -Custom Corvair Pickup with a Mid-Engine Twin-Turbo LSx V8

Air-Cooled Appreciation: A shrine celebrating all things Corvair opens in Illinois – Richard Lentinello @Hemmings

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Smack dab in the middle of America’s heartland there’s now a Corvair Museum honoring the existence and history of Chevrolet’s air-cooled mechanical marvel. The unlikely location for a museum devoted to the Corvair is Decatur, Illinois, which is 40 miles east of Springfield, three hours from Chicago and Indianapolis, and nearly a seven-hour drive from Ypsilanti, Michigan, where it was previously located. But, thanks to the good graces of the Chevrolet Hall of Fame Museum there, a sizeable room has been set aside for the Corvair museum’s new home.

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U.S. Agency to Tell Corvair Owners Of ‘Special Problems’ in Early Cars – New York Times Corvair Article 1972

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Article from the New York Times on the warning to drivers on the “special problems” of the early Corvair

WASHINGTON, July 25 —The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today that his agency would send letters to some 200,000 owners of 1960–1963 Chevrolet Corvairs advising them of “special problems” created by the car’s handling characteristics.

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Half a century later, the fate of the last Corvair ever built remains unknown – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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Nice article from Daniel regarding the missing last Corvette #6000

In the months leading up to the final day of production for the Chevrolet Corvair, General Motors fielded calls from dealers, executives, and VIPs requesting a chance to buy the very last example of Chevrolet’s air-cooled wonder. Instead, Chevrolet just let it disappear, seemingly without a trace, shortly after the company assembled it 50 years ago.

Read the rest of the article here

1965 Corvair Monza Convertible Project

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This 1965 Corvair convertible is claimed to run, but obviously needs some work. It is hard to determine just how much work from the photo, but if it’s solid and complete, it might be worth a look. This Monza is located in the Bay area and is still wearing black plates, so it is possible that the tin worm has not gotten to it. $1,250 takes it here on craigslist. Thanks to Robert J. for the submission.

1965 Corvair Monza Convertible Project.