I found an old postcard my aunt sent to her brother from Disneyland,
California in October 10, 1959. She was driving a rental 1960 Chevy
She writes ; NO CORVAIR for me, drove in one for one day and evening ,
only thing nice is its legnth. Like a hunk of tin compared to dad's car.
Bob's Volkswagon Beetle is a very well made car, lovely interior and
compact - rides very well, easy to get in and out of. Almost twisted my
back getting out of the Corvair.
Just thought I'd share this postcard with you. There are other postcards
I found that mention tidbits about the cars they were driving or
problems they encountered along the way.
05 Park Avenue, 32,672
91 Bonneville LE 304,809
I admit it could be my selective perception, but the Corvair I drove
(not mine) handled washboard roads so well at the time. Also, I
remember a friend towing my 66' Impala with a Corvair! We got out of
sinc at a turn and the Corvair went up on two wheels until I corrected
and thumped him back down.
Yeah! Nader was full of sh*t! There was nothing wrong with that car.
I had a '61 and drove it all over the country. Not one problem...none!
Nader conspired to kill that design and succeded. The BEST thing about
that car was the heater!! Gas-fired and instant ON! Every VW I owned
was superior to the Corvair in many ways, but VW couldn't 'touch' the
I bought a 1963 Corvair Monza Spyder in Montana, 150 hp with a factory
turbocharger. It had wired wheels with a spinner with the two checked flags.
It had amazing stopping power, with its sintered matallic brakes all around.
had more fun passing the big V8s in the mountains...It also had a 5 speed
a 21/2 inch chromed exhaust pipe! It would give out a throaty roar, and off
with a 15psi boost on the dash guage! Sorry to bore everybody, but it just
back memories of when GM was king!
Beautiful form, fit, finish.
Had an interior like a jewel-box.
Had a "guess what gear" 4-speed stick-shift.
A "pretend" heater
Minimal storage in the front "trunk"
A rediculous fan-belt arrangement.
Two carbs that couldn't be sync'd.
A weight ratio that made steering in wet weather an adventure.
Engine "blew" before 40K miles.
I had a friend who worked at a Chevy dealers at the time.
He said; "They LOVED Corvairs.
Whenever things were slow in the shop, there were alway Corvairs to work on.
GM took what they learned from the Corvair,
and followed up with another "great".... The VEGA !!
"all"? Mine only had one. Was it the oil pan or a bottom side
valve cover? At any rate, it leaked when I got it; I changed the
gasket a few times in 3-4 years; and it still leaked when I sold it.
Still loved the car, though. [Wish I'd known a Harley owner at the
time, I'd have stolen their saying that 'Harleys don't leak, they're
just marking their territory."]
Sounds a lot like my 'favorite car I've ever owned'. A '66 Corvair
Corsa; 180HP[?] turbocharged, convertible.
I was a Corporal in the Marines at Cherry Point, NC making about $300
a month. In NC in '70, '71 there was a 2cent deposit on small
bottles and a nickle on quarts. We used to pick up bottles along the
highway for a couple hours. Cash them in and fill it up with Sunoco
220 and drive all weekend on a trunkful of deposits.
Those *were* the days, my friends. .
[When I was 16 my older friend had a 63 Corvair whose engine 'fell
out' one night about 20 miles from home. I rode under the rear hood
holding it up with the tire iron while he drove home. I try to
remind myself of that night whenever I see some kid do something so
incredibly stupid that I can't imagine how they will survive to
I had a 64 Monza Spyder, the turbo made it slightly quicker that a TR-4.
The heater was a cleaver design. In the winter while on my commute to
work, I would have to roll down the windows when the oil that had leaked
overnight into the heater boxes (which covered the exhaust manifolds)
would burn off sending a thick cloud of blue smoke into the interior
through the heater. NEAT! Another nifty feature was that if there was a
exhaust gasket leak, carbon monoxide went into the heater box. There
were reports of semi conscious people running into trees as a result.
Andy & Carol wrote:
"An engineering weakness not generally highlighted (and uniquely
dangerous) related to fumes and gases entering the passenger area via
the heater system, a problem endemic to an air-cooled engine. Carbon
monoxide and other noxious or deadly gases could enter the sedan
passenger areas if exhaust system gaskets aged or failed, since the
gaskets were inside the heater box air intakes and air for engine
cooling and passenger heating was mixed together as one common airflow.
Chronic oil leakage from the pushrod tubes, which was endemic to the
engine, also contaminated the heating air, as did the tendency for
earlier engines to blow a head gasket. That air would also become
noxious if a 6 inch wide rubber seal almost 16 feet long, located
between the engine assembly and the body, was not maintained in like-new
The interior air would also be contaminated if the owner did not keep
the carefully engineered battery container, located in the engine
compartment, intact and in like new condition. The Volkswagen Beetle,
another automobile with an air cooled engine, located the battery in the
passenger compartment under the rear seat. This may have been a source
of noxious interior fumes in that vehicle as well, though perhaps on a
lesser scale. VW better isolated fresh air, and used no-joint one-piece
exhaust pipes inside their heater intakes to prevent exhaust leaks and
ensure clean interior air."
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