Lot 21: 1966 CHEVROLET CORVAIR 500 COUPE
Engine: six cylinder, horizontally opposed, pushrod operated overhead valves, air-cooled, displacement 164ci, 95bhp at 3,600rpm; Gearbox: automatic transmission; Suspension: independent, front by unequal length wishbones with coil springs, rear fully independent; Brakes: hydraulically operated drums. Left hand drive.
In that first year Chevrolet sold just over a quarter of a million Corvairs, comfortably ahead of both the competitors. Within a couple of seasons, GM's perceptions of the type changed. It was not basic transportation like the other compacts, but filled a niche in the market; nimble and responsive, an economy Corvette. The open two door Monza Spyder came along in 1961 and included the turbocharged 150bhp variant, good for 110mph and was available with options to improve braking and handling. There was also a Monza Convertible only 33.5 inches high at the window-sill, with 80bhp and capable of 102mph, and came with the choice of Powerglide automatic or full synchromesh four speed manual transmission.
The Corvair was a cutting edge design for Detroit in this period. To-date they had not kept pace or tried to compete with the European manufactures that were testing the waters with mid-engine cars. However, as one looks over a Corvair one begins to have a sense that the American's were watching the European's more closely than it appeared. Their styling, particularly down to the taillights, began resembling some of Italy's finest exports. While the Corvair was always a success in terms of its production numbers, they are only now starting to become widely known and appreciated on the collector circuit. In 1965 the Corvair was given a completely new body and as Car and Driver magazine stated, "It unabashedly borrows from the best of the already established foreign and domestic coachwork without losing any of its identity as a Corvair."
The car offered here is a middle-production example having traveled only 30,000 miles. It is said that the first owner was a "little old lady" from Pittsburgh, PA. As collectors will unanimously agree, such owners are ideal as they often take good care of their cars and use them sparingly. This is clearly such an example. It is offered today by the second owner who has had the Corvair in his collection since October of 2004 and has likewise used it only occasionally. Typically, Corvairs are seen as convertibles, so this is a rare example being a coupe. Finished in ermine white with blue vinyl interior, it is almost entirely original, fully operational and represents a great opportunity to acquire a stylish and practical collector car which can certainly compete and score highly in a preservation class. WITHOUT RESERVE
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