<VV> Corvairs In the News: Dan Jedlicka

Bill Elliott Corvair at fnader.com
Mon Oct 3 17:03:31 EDT 2005

More Corvairs in the news... another positive article from our buddy Dan Jedlicka at 
the SunTimes. He doesn't mention here that his (adult) daughter still uses her Corvair 
as her daily driver... nice mention of lclc as well!

Early-1960s Corvair set pace for cool cars 
October 3, 2005 
BY DAN JEDLICKA <mailto:djedlicka at suntimes.com> Auto Reporter 

Prices for collector cars made from 1960 on continue to soar to astronomical levels, but the low-priced Chevrolet Corvair remains the most 
collectible auto bargain. 

The Corvair was the most adventuresome mass-produced car ever built by General Motors, which sold 1,710,018 Corvairs between 1960 and 

Like the Porsche and Volkswagen Beetle, the Corvair had a rear-mounted, air-cooled compact Porsche-style engine. The Corvair's unit-body 
construction and all-independent suspension also were unusual for U.S. cars, which had liquid-cooled engines up front and a non-independent 
rear suspension. The Corvair's optional power-boosting turbocharged engine also was an oddity for a domestic auto. 

Chevy might have easily topped the 2 million production mark with the Corvair, but the 1965 Ford Mustang and rival 1967 Chevrolet Camaro stole 
most of its sales. Corvair production slowed to a crawl after the 1965 Mustang's debut in 1964 because Chevy realized it needed the 
conventional sporty Camaro to battle the conventional sporty Mustang. 

Ralph Nader's criticism of the first generation Corvair's handling didn't help sales, but that car only had tricky handling when driven hard if its tire 
pressures were incorrect. That was usually the case because most owners didn't note that more pressure was needed in the rear tires than those 
up front. 

Ironically, the Corvair pretty much dug its own grave because its sporty, affordable Monza model, with bucket seats and a floor shifter, gave Ford 
the idea to build the affordable sporty Mustang, which it based on its economy Falcon model. 

The Corvair came as a coupe, sedan and convertible, and also as a passenger van and pickup truck, but most were car models. In any case, 
there are plenty of Corvairs to buy, and the car is supported by an active, helpful national club that can find any part needed for the car. 

Nationally recognized Corvair expert Larry Claypool, who has worked on Corvairs for decades at his 'Vair Shop in south suburban Frankfort, says 
an increasing number of Corvairs keep turning up after being parked in garages unused for decades. 

"Corvairs just keep popping up,'' Claypool said. "We worked on one just the other week with 1991 license plates still on it. I've gotten more 
customers in the last three years than in the last 10 because people apparently have finally decided to do something with old Corvairs that have 
been sitting around.'' 

The most valuable Corvairs are the 1962-64 Monza Spyder convertibles, which are valued by the Collectible Vehicle Value Guide at up to 
$12,575 if in top shape and the 1965-69 Monza and Corsa convertibles that are valued at $10,625. However, you should be able to buy a decent 
1962-64 Monza coupe for an estimated $3,625. A 1965-66 Corsa coupe -- probably the best Corvair of them all with a manual gearbox and four-
carburetor setup -- is valued at $4,425. Corvair convertibles have annoying rattles, like most convertibles of their era, but the 1965-69 hardtop 
models feel especially solid. 

The second-generation 1965-69 Corvair has far more rakish styling than the first-generation model, and also has additional power and a 
Chevrolet Corvette-style rear suspension that enables it to handle like a sports car. Indeed, the Yenko Stinger race car versions of Corvairs 
developed by an East Coast Chevy dealer regularly beat Corvettes on race tracks. 

Corvair prices constitute pocket change, when compared with, say, a fast but clumsy 1964 Pontiac GTO convertible. It's valued at $45,750, and 
an equally clumsy 1971 Plymouth 'Cuda with a Hemi V-8 is valued at $162,000. A 1971 Plymouth 'Cuda convertible with a Hemi V-8 but careless 
construction has sold for well over $1 million.

Corvairs are sturdy and fun to drive, being light and agile. They drive much like modern compact cars and are especially good on slippery winter 
roads because most of their weight is above the drive wheels for especially good traction. They take lots of abuse without complaining, and 
required maintenance is minimal. 

Many younger people mistake Corvairs, especially the 1965-69 models, for slick foreign cars. In the early 1960s, before the first Mustang arrived, 
many college students drove Corvair Monza Spyders. The 1965-69 model was snapped up by older car buffs who liked its styling and handling. 

Indeed, after all these years, the Corvair is proving to be a timeless classic.

More information about the VirtualVairs mailing list