18th Aug 2005, 01:44

I'm interested in how the pushrods got bent - that's very odd.

This is the car that brought Ralph Nader fame when he published his book "Unsafe at any speed".

The early versions were said to be accident-prone.

Gear-driven camshaft sounds a good idea, much better than silly belts, although chains work well.

22nd Oct 2005, 16:15

Actually if you read the final US gov safety report on the early model vairs- they were safer than the competition.

Simply, younger less experienced drivers were driving them faster and hence the accident rates appear higher.

Nader also said anything other than a solid rear axle car is UNSAFE and hence so is the corvair. Guess almost all the cars today are unsafe=0)


17th Dec 2005, 06:12

I wrote the original review above, and in the light of your questions, feel like I need to clarify some matters.

One, the "50 year old car" mistake. Pure brain fade on my part. I should have said '40'.

Two, the low mileage. I meant that the car was made 40 years ago, not that I had owned any of them for 40 years. I bought the first one in Berkeley, California, in 1969, for $60 from a tow service, which had run out of storage space for unclaimed cars. I'd bought it for resale, and sold it two weeks later for $550. During those two weeks, after replacing the bent pushrods, I used it as an everyday driver, and became thoroughly impressed with it. The foreign car specialist I worked with at the time was driving a customer's BMW 2002Ti, and he and I would swap back and forth; despite its bias-ply, unbelted tires, the Corvair handled better than the BMW did on its radials.

By 1974, I had a farm in the Midwest, and was stacking up cars that I liked. I bought the 140 big-valve Corsa mentioned above, and because it was cheap, another 90 hp Monza like the first one I'd owned. I still own them both.

As to why I haven't put more miles on them in the years I've owned them. With 6 licensed drivers in the family and 40 acres to stack cars, I never got around to selling any; cars were the family hobby. Of the cars I had the choice of driving at any given time, I should mention our 1962 Studebaker Hawk, 1961 Pontiac Catalina convertible, my wife's 1969 GTO 400, our 1968 350 Nova, my Olds 455-powered 1963 Chevy pickup, and our 1969 Chevelle 350, not to mention a number of others.

Oddly enough, I don't drive much, since I work at home, both as a mechanic, and in writing the Auto Shop Series for HOT ROD Magazine, and publishing in other car mags, such as Road & Track and CAR CRAFT.

And, no, none of these cars are for sale. A man's gotta have a hobby.

30th Dec 2005, 21:22

I have a 1965 Corvair Corsa 180 (factory turbo) with a 4spd. I LOVE the car. Fantastic handling, body integrity and looks you can't beat! One of the coolest instrument clusters and interior you can find.

I also have a 1967 Corvair 500 that has been converted to a mid-engine V-8 car with a small block Chevy where the back seat used to be. FUN!

These cars are going strong with a 5500 member national and international club. Check the net for CORSA. (Corvair Society of America) There is a 5 day national convention every year.

31st Dec 2005, 18:48

As I suspected for so many years, Hot Rod and Car Craft might just as well be called "Super Chevy". No wonder I quit buying them.

14th Mar 2006, 22:31

Just for the record, in homebuilt airplanes, the Corvair is the engine of choice for it's torque, light weight, reliability, and cost. It is the # 1 choice by the world's foremost expert, a fellow named Wynne, I think. I have owned two Corvairs, and my son's 66 Corsa is still the only car in his heart. He's been thru the Civic/Celica/Mitsubishi stuff. The internals from the factory were top of the line, and modern seals have cured the only real weaknesses.

7th Dec 2007, 22:53

In my opinion Corvairs were some of the best cars ever made in the USA in modern times, along with Tuckers (...)

These cars had a wonderful configuration and there are many important points that made them so great:

Porsche has been credited for introducing turbochargers in the 70's -in the 911- but Corvairs already had introduced them in the 60's.

Flat piston engines have many advantages and they have been very popular and great in European and Japanese cars (Beetles, Alfa Romeos, Citro├źns, Porsches, Subarus, etc), but almost in-existent in American cars. I don't know why.

The power of sporty Corvairs was very high, even higher than some 911 of equivalent years.

The independent suspension in the 4 corners is very important for good handling. Also very rare in American cars.

And the engine in the back is also a good idea for an sports car. The only important thing is that Chevrolet didn't indicate with high precision that tire pressure was extremely important. As in the Beetle, tire pressure can seem a little odd in this cars, but it is just a question of following at the letter.

I am not too fond of American cars, although I am very fond of cars in general, but Corvairs were great engineering. I think it is a shame that people believed it was a bad product because of the opinions of an ignorant in technology.

Best wishes to all Corvair owners and congratulations for your cars.

9th Dec 2007, 20:12

Actually the 1962 Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire was the first production car with a turbocharger. The turbocharged Corvair arrived on the scene a about a month later. The engine in the Olds was an aluminum block 215 ci (3.5 litre) V8. The turbocharged version of this engine was rated at 215 hp. Ironically there was a fellow named Art Silva who designed a kit to swap these engines into the engine bay of late model corvairs. By all accounts a very nice swap.

9th Aug 2008, 23:50

Ralph Nader's book "Unsafe At Any Speed" has about twelve chapters on vehicle safety issues. Only the first chapter is about the Corvair. Unfortunately reviewers and "journalists" never seemed to read past chapter one. GM also failed to counter Nader's arguments and resorted to personal attacks which backfired on them with more negative publicity. In a sad note of irony - Ralph Nader has never had a driver's licence. Keep those Corvairs rolling!

PS Nader tried to follow up his giant killing success with his next book "Small On Safety" which was an attack on the VW Beetle. It never caught on and Beetle sales were unaffected.

29th Feb 2016, 14:28

Nader's book didn't help anything, granted. But what really did in the Corvair was the Mustang; it was more conventional in design, and could be had with a V8.

It's a shame, too. The Corvair is a beautiful car, and I would have much preferred it to continue on in the place of GM's lineup that the Camaro would later occupy.

10th Jan 2017, 05:07

Agreed on both accounts. Corvair sales were already declining when Nader published his book; Chevy customers didn't want an American riff on the Beetle.

That was a shame, as the Corvair was the best looking and most innovative car GM has ever produced.