rkmdogs

Corvairs remembered

30 posts in this topic

O.K., somebody asked to start this thread----- so I did, as probably the oldest
former Corvair owner!

Tale from the past- My 1960 Corvair was ordered in the last 30 days of production,
right after the GM entry had won its' class at the Sebring 24hr. race.
That was were the 95hp Sebring engine came from, and I was told that less than 10 were built on production '60 models. It was a regular option in '61 and later.
BTW, the standard engine was only 80hp. The differences were in the cam and exhaust system. It did have a very nice throaty sound. I had also ordered it with the 4-speed trans, but they reneigged on that option and I got it with the 3-speed
stick.
One frustration, the rear-end geometry was fixed, not adjustable. And, sometimes,
on wet pavement with a slight wind, the tail would wag -- and you would have to cut speed to less than 40mph to be safe and keep from fishtailing all over the place! They fixed this on the '61's by making the IRS adjustable! No more tailwag!

One other idiosyncracy of the 95hp. It could rev!!! But if you were not careful in your shifting to not let the engines revs get out of hand, the fanbelt would flip
off of the pulleys, since it ran in two planes.(Horizontally on top of the engine, and then turned vertcally down to the crankshaft pulley, over an automatic tensioner.
This became such a common occurence that I made a custom tool to set the
preload tension when you put the belt back on the pulleys. It got so that I could
reinstall the belt in less than 3 minutes, even on the side of the road, in the dark!

This all changed with the 2nd generation models in 1965. But to no avail --
Ralph Nader had already started his hatchet book.
Note below that the style of the day was pillarless hardtops, in both 2 and 4 door
models!

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Oh yeah, and if you really want to get the low-down on the second generation Corvairs, go to: wwwcorvaircorsa.com/intro.html :rolleyes:
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Here's a little-known fact:

The budget A-body models introduced in '61 for Buick, Pontiac and Olds started off as Y-body (Corvair) variants.

Pontiac Polaris next to Corvair
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Unnamed Buick version
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Oldsmobile version
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What happened here? Two designers have a disagreement which taillights should be used? :blink: (Center row image on right.) Edited by VarianceJ30
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According to the site I found those on, the mixed taillamp car was a design mule for a Canada-only version.
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That was a commomn thing back then... two differnt intrerpretation on the same car.... left and right were disjinted.

God I love Corvairs. LOVE THEM!!! :wub:

Here's the one I hope to by after I get a serious buyer for my Brougham:

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I do not mind at all that it's a four door. 4dr hardtops are coler than 2dr sedans in my opinion! Besides this would mean I can install rear belts and take the whole family ot car shows on the weekends. The Camaro is awsome but I can't enjoy it with my little Sofia cien it's not safe enough for her as of yet.
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Honestly, sixty8, that '66 looks still modern and current and it's almost 40 years old!!! I simply love Corvairs. Timeless.

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Here's a little tip for you Sixty8, when you get your dream Corvair. When these cars were built, they were not privy to the later technology about sealing. These cars were all leakers! By that I mean, due to thermal expansion and contraction, fasteners would loosen, and the the engine would start leaking oil! It was a rule of thumb that every 20,000 miles or so, you had to go in and retighten all the fasteners! With todays' technology and the use of sealants or lockwashers, you can cure that ill. :unsure:
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[quote name='Flybrian' date='Aug 24 2005, 11:59 PM']
Here's a little-known fact:

The budget A-body models introduced in '61 for Buick, Pontiac and Olds started off as Y-body (Corvair) variants."

Thank God they didn't make them, but came up with the BOP series instead.

Had one of those too! One of 11 built with full police and export option packages!
Funny story on that one.
When dealer placed the order, he did not include the export option springs.
When the car arrives, I pick it up & start checking the build.
Can't verify the spring option, so I called Zone. They told me dealer had not ordered. But my sales contract specified that option.
Dealer did not want to fix, so I called Zone again.
They made the dealer order the springs, at their expense and put them in and
eat the stock springs!
Last time Buick did something for me, cause another tale on the 4-speed
"wall job".
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I have heard that they leak like a sonamabich but I thought it was just a necessary evil being a unique desing ot GM... air cooled and flat and all. I'll make sure to remember that. Sound like an Easy fix! :)
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Flybrian, I had never heard of those other versions of the Corvair...great pics...see, you learn something new everyday at C&G.

Posted Image Edited by HarleyEarl
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The passenger version of the van style was called the Greenbriar. Maybe HarleyEarl can come up with a pic. And the there was also a sedan stationwagon variety called the Lakewood. Don't have a pick of that one either. I'm sure someone can find it. :rolleyes:
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Oh yeah, and another feature that was on the pick-up was, it had a side tailgate, on the right side that lowered to the ground. This was called,...... a Rampside pick-up! Too bad the pics above did not show this feature.
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Since I had jogged the memory bones in looking at some of these posts,
Iwent searching and found an excellent history referance at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Corvair

BUT, it has one glaring, big boo-boo, that I didn't know how to fix.
It did an eye-poke on the heater box design, and compared to VW, Porsche,etc.,
commenting about air-cooled engine heaters.

What it missed was, ....... on my 1960 Corvair 700 coupe, I had a GAS heater,
in the front truck that would melt shoe-leather! It ran off of gas from the car's
regular gas tank, and you could run it with the engine shut off, so you could
pre-heat the car, or leave it running when you were parked with your girl-friend.
(heh-heh). This heater was made by South-Wind, who also made gas heaters for Volkswagens at the time. I had one of them in my 1969 VW sunroof beetle.

Also did not mention a feature that we loved. In the up-scale coupes, the rear
seat-back could fold down flat, and turn the whole back-end of the car into a
small bed, or table or whatever! If you could get it past the front seat back,
you could have sat an elephant in the back! (just kidding, a little)
We had small kids when we had ours, and we could put a fold-down stroller
and a kids carrier-bed, along with a cooler. Who needed a station-wagon? :rolleyes: Edited by rkmdogs
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I'd love a Lakewood... Greenbriar I'm not so crazy about. I made this for the original C&G back in the day.

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Those Corvair wagons must be very rare. They are not a common sight. What was the load floor like in it, with the engine back there? I just thought of something. A person is all loaded up for a vacation and heading out on the highway, crammed to the gills...what if there was engine trouble..I guess you would have to unload everything to get at the engine?..or could you get at it below the rear liftgate?
Corvair eye candy:
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Sweet, sweet thread, guys. :wub:
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You are stretching my memory HarleyEarl! I did not own one, but as I recall, the engine cover was like in a Volkswagen Type 3 Hatchback. That is, a hinged cover panel that was the load floor. However, look at the pic you posted. That small panel where the rear license is located was a hinged service panel that dropped down(hinged at the bottom). I don't think you could do much thru it, other than look, because all the dipsticks came out vertically! And yes, if you had engine trouble, everything on the rear load floor had to come out to gain engine access!
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On second thought.......... Maybe that lower panel at the license plate didn't move down, at least not appearing to be able to do so, in the pic posted, HarleyEarl.
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Posted Image

What happened here? Two designers have a disagreement which taillights should be used? :blink: (Center row image on right.)

[post="3456"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


It's a little known and untrue fact that the taillights on that Corvair prototype were designed by Harvey Dent, former Gotham City DA and part time GM designer.

Mr. Dent had a mental breakdown after the design was rejected. He quit GM and later achieved fame as a well known villain. ;)
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I wanted a 2nd Corvair bader than bad as my first car. I only found one and the mechainc friend that went to look at it said to stay away , it had alot of problems going on. I wound up with the Alpine instead. I cant say as Im sorry it was much more car but I will always have a thing for the styling of the Corvair, both generations.
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I am just crazy for the rooflines on GM cars of this period....how the top goes a bit beyond the glass..a little sassy lip...the glass wrapping around to a slim rear pillar.
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Harley: And don;'t forget the hardtops, (of the standard, flat-top & bubble tops variety.)
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