1960 Pontiac Star Chief / Specs, Photos and More

The automobile featured in this article is a good looking 1960 Pontiac Star Chief. This Pontiac model was produced from 1954 to 1966. For 1967 the Star Chief name was replaced with the Pontiac Executive.

1960 Pontiac Star Chief

1960 Pontiac Star Chief

Pontiac made several model changes for 1959 which included dropping the entry level Chieftain model and essentially renaming it the Catalina. The Catalina was the lower priced Pontiac but compared to the Chevy Impala it was a step up. The Pontiac Star Chief which had been it's top of the line model was moved down to mid line level and was really powered similarly to the lower Catalina.

In the meantime, in 1958 the Pontiac Bonneville became the top Pontiac. At that time and for years afterward, Pontiac placed their attention on the top of the line Bonneville offering the car in many more body styles than with Star Chief.

The Pontiac Star Chief

Before the Pontiac Star Chief was introduced in 1954, Pontiac models had the same wheelbase length of Chevrolets. This changed with the Star Chief's longer 123.5 inches. The new Star Chief came with only a straight eight engine. The sixes were not available on this model during 1954. One year later in 1955 the straight eight was replaced with the V-8.

pontiac star chief sedan

1960 Pontiac Star Chief Sedan

The 1960 Pontiac Star Chief

The 1960 Pontiac Star Chief was part of the fourth generation of Star Chiefs (1959-60). The 1960 Star Chief received minor changes to the body from 59. The drivetrains were the same as in 1959. The instrument panel was changed.

The Star Chiefs actually began looking quite similar to the Catalinas. The Pontiac Star Chief models for 1960 included only hardtops,four door sedans, and two door sports sedans. A lack of a convertible model didn't help sales. Pontiac also brought out the well equipped Ventura model in 1960 but it lasted for only two model years. The Pontiac Ventura was a sportier alternative to the Catalina but ended up being replaced by the Grand Prix.

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The 1954 Pontiac Star Chief

The 1957 Pontiac Star Chief

References for this article included GM/Pontiac Archives, Complete Book of Collector Cars, Pontiac Star Chief Owners Manuals.

1960 Pontiac Star Chief Specifications

Pontiac's V-8 was introduced in 1955. The engine for the 1960 Pontiac Star Chief was a 389 cubic inch V-8. This V-8 was the main Pontiac engine through 1966 and was the GTO engine through 1966.

An interesting fact regarding Pontiac is that they produced their own V-8 engines which sets it apart from other GM brands. Those Pontiacs produced for the U.S. market had Pontiac engines. Those Pontiacs produced in Canada used Chevrolet engines.

Out of all the Pontiac Star Chiefs produced for the 1960 model year, almost all were with HydraMatic transmissions. pontiac star chief model historyOnly a few hundred had synchromesh gear boxes.

Front suspension was an independent ball joint with coil springs. Rear suspension included pivoted control arms.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Dimensions for the 1950 Pontiac Star Chief Sedan included a wheelbase of 124.0 inches...an overall length of 220.7 inches...a width of 80.0 inches and a height of 56.4 inches. Weight averages 3,995 lbs.

1960 Pontiac Star Chief production totaled 43,690 vehicles. Depending on the exact model, average new car price for the 1960 Star Chief was $2,900.

The 1960 Pontiac Star Chief Collector Car

As mentioned above, the Pontiac Star Chief by the late 1950's appeared somewhat similar to the bottom of the line Catalina. It's power also was close to the Catalina's. With that being said, the heyday for the Star Chief model was probably from 1955-57. By 1960 the Pontiac Star Chief were only seen as hardtops and two and four door sedans and that lasted until the model was discontinued.

pontiac star chief specificationsThe 1960 Pontiac Star Chief four door sedan is reasonably priced for someone wishing to start a collection. Values of course are dictated by originality, overall condition, restored or not and mileage.

The range for the 60 Star Chief is now generally $10,000 to $25,000. There are exceptions to these however depending on the model. As ,mentioned above, the 1960 Pontiac Star Chief was only produced in the hardtop, four door sedan, and two door sport sedan.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1969 Karmann Ghia Convertible / Photos and Specs

Volkswagen built and sold the Karmann Ghia between 1955 and 1974. This was VW's offering to the sports car market.

karmann ghia convertible

1969 Karmann Ghia Convertible

Years after the war the standard of living was increasing at a fast pace and VW executives believed a newly styled car was needed for it's lineup.

They didn't have far to look because in the early 1950's Karmann approached Volkswagen with just such an automobile idea. Karmann had worked previously with VW on the Beetle Cabriolet in 1949 and had good access to company management.

The two seat VW Karmann Ghia received an excellent reception from the public. The car by all means was not a powerhouse in the horsepower department but what it lacked in power it made up with it's smart looks. The automobile featured in this article is a beautiful 1969 Karmann Ghia Convertible.

karmann ghia convertibleThe building and styling of this vehicle was accomplished byKarmann and Ghia. One was the Karmann coach builders of Germany, established in 1901, and the other was Italian design and coach building company Ghia. Together they would create a signature car for Volkswagen in both coupe and convertible styles. The convertibles came out in 1957. Volkswagen's plans were that the Karmann Ghia, much different than their popular and historic Beetle, would emerge as their image model.

A Different Volkswagen

When the Karmann Ghia was designed, VW was selling and marketing only the Beetle and the VW Bus. Luigi Segre of the Ghia Studios is credited with the new sports car styling. This styling was the result of a public that was asking for more out of Volkswagen. Segre is also noted for his styling of the Renault Dauphine as well as a Plymouth Explorer concept car.

Volkswagen took longer than normal with their new post World War Two offering but that was quite understandable considering they had to emerge out of the German wreckage of caused by the war.

The Karmann Ghia’s engine was the same as that offered on the VW Beetle, a four cylinder air cooled design. The styling of course was completely new however the Karmann Ghia was built on a Beetle frame. The Karmann Ghia had some advantages over the more boxy Beetle. The Karmann Ghia offered a bit better cornering and better crosswind handling. The more aerodynamic Karmann Ghia was able to go faster than the Beetle by about 9 miles per hour on average.

The car was very appealing. It's swoopy, rounded looks plus excellent construction plus the VW Beetle drivetrain made this little sports car irresistible. The convertible Karmann Ghia's top as built similarly to the Beetle Cabriolet. This meant several layers of insulation and a glass rear window, not plastic.

karmann ghia coupeBetween 1955 and 1974, a total of 443,482 VW Karmann Ghias were produced. Out of that number there were about 80,000 convertible models built. During this long production run there were three types of Karmann Ghia's produced. These were the Type 14, Type 34 and the TC.

1969 Karmann Ghia Specifications

The 1969 model Karmann Ghia's rear mounted engine was a 1493 cc flat four delivering 57 horsepower. The first Karmann Ghia came out in 1955 with 36 horsepower.

Transmission was a four speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel drum.

The 1969 Karmann Ghia had a wheelbase of 94.5 inches and an overall outside length of 163.0 inches.  The car's weight came in at approximately 2,300 lbs.

New car price for the 1969 Karmann Ghia ranged from about $3,000 to $3,500.

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Karmann Ghia Collector Cars

1969 vw karmann ghia convertible

69 Karmann Ghia dashboard

The Karmann Ghia remains a relatively popular collector car. These were popular automobiles during their production run which lasted a very healthy twenty years. That fact alone shows how well these cars were accepted. The cars lasted well having been built on the sturdy VW Beetle frame.

As of this writing, Karmann Ghia's for sale have solid but certainly not outlandish asking prices. We see a fully restored 1966 coupe model in show quality condition with 90,000 miles with a price tag of $27,000. A 1974 final year Karmann Ghia coupe with limited restoration is priced at $12,000.  Another 1974 model with no restoration work is priced at $7,500. Depending on the miles and degree of restoration, if any, the price range can go from $2,000 to $27,000. Fully restored 1957 convertible models may have the highest asking prices.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)

1965 Chevy Corvair Corsa Convertible / Specs and Photos

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.

1965 chevy corvair corsa

1965 Chevy Corvair Corsa

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.

corvair corsa

Front view of the rear engine Corvair Corsa

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.

corvair corsa dashboard

Interior and dashboard on the 65 Corvair Corsa

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.

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The Corvair Like NSU Prinz

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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.

corvair engines

65 Corvair Corsa engine

 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)