Chevy Corvair production began with the 1960 model year and ended with the 1969 model year. The Chevrolet Corvair was a unique American automobile when it was introduced with it's rear end air cooled engine and, what we believe, was a sporty look. VW of course had many years behind it with their air cooled rear engine design technology. Chevrolet on the other hand jumped right into it in 1960 with the Corvair. The Chevrolet Corvair was listed as a compact vehicle.
The Second Generation Corvair
The car featured in this article is the 1965 Chevy Corvair Corsa Convertible and was among the second generation Corvairs.
As many know, the Chevrolet Corvair became a rather controversial automobile due to the publication of Ralph Nader's book "Unsafe at Any Speed" which highlighted Corvair design flaws. Nader's book actually took on the entire American auto industry accusing it of ignoring vehicle safety features to attain greater profits. He accused them of putting out unsafe cars.
In regards to the Chevy Corvair, Nader's primary accusation was that the car was unstable while cornering. It was a suspension issue for the rear engine mounted automobile. Whether Nader's book was spot on or an overly sensational publication, the automobile industry did take note. The Corvair did receive a new suspension system which apparently corrected the cornering problem.
Chevy Corvair Popularity
Regardless of Ralph Nader's book, the Chevrolet Corvair was an overall popular car. The car was sporty and the convertible models looked terrific.
The Corvair did have it's detractors, mostly those that found the car a bit too foreign looking for their tastes. No doubt, the Chevy Corvair was a radically designed automobile but there were many that took a liking to the little sporty vehicle.
Some may remember that the early Corvairs, starting in 1961, were also produced as wagons, vans, and even a pick up truck design.
A bit over 1.7 million Chevy Corvairs were produced from the 1960 to 69 model years. There were two Chevy Corvair design generations. These were 1960-64 and 1965-69. The first generation Corvairs were basic four-door sedans in "500" and a bit more deluxe "700" trim levels. Standard was the three-speed floorshift manual transmission and as an option a two-speed Powerglide automatic.
The Chevy Corvair Corsa
The Chevrolet Corvair Corsa was offered in two styles. A coupe that cost about $2,500 new and a convertible priced at about $2,700. The Corvair Corsa had the Corvair Monza Spyder's sporty brushed aluminum dashboard along with sports car instrumentation. The interior of the Corsa was upscale and the exterior had sporty accents. The Corvair Corsa also was built with a sports suspension, larger brakes and quicker steering. There also was a turbo engine priced at only $158 extra. The Corvair Corsa model was discontinued in 1967.
Advertising for the 1965 Corvair including the Corsa model stressed the totally new design. Chevy used the slogan " If this one doesn't knock you right off your chair, we can't imagine what would." Chevrolet claimed that this was one of the most dramatic changes to any car. Also that these new 1965 models were longer and lower than the first generation vehicles.
1965 Chevy Corvair Corsa Specifications
Engine for the 1965 Corvair Corsa was a 164 cubic inch six turbo-air delivering 140 HP. The engine had four carburetors.
Transmissions available were a three and four speed manual along with a Powerglide automatic.
The Corsa's wheelbase was 108.0 inches and it's outside overall length was 183.3 inches, the width 69.7 inches and the height 51.6 inches. The curb weight was 2,800 lbs.
During the 1965 model year there were a total number of 28,600 Corvair Corsa models produced.
See these additional Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...
Two books you should find interesting on the Chevrolet Corvair includes...Corvair by Chevrolet : Experimental and Production Cars 1957-1969 by author Karl Ludvigsen....The 1960 to 1969 Corvair by Wayne MacHan and Bill Bruggen.
Chevrolet Corvair Collector Cars
The Chevy Corvair's following is pretty impressive. The Corvair is not for everybody but it is an impressive automobile.
There are many Corvair car clubs around the nation. Members generally blanch when Corvair critics call the car unsafe. There are those that feel strongly that the Corvair as never an unsafe vehicle regardless of Ralph Nader's book. Corvair owners relish their underdog status and have a passion for the unusual.
1965 Chevy Corvair asking prices are very reasonable. The Corsa models are more rare in as much as they were only produced in 1965 and 66. As of this writing, prices asked for range from about $6,000 to $29,000 depending on degree of restoration, if any, and mileage and general condition. This price range would apply to fully running Corvairs.
(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)