Why Is The Chevrolet Corvair Such An Overlooked Classic?
Photography Courtesy of Auctions America
Update Feb 15: In an earlier version of the story, the car was incorrectly listed as being turbocharged. While it was possible to get a turbocharged Corvair, this isn’t one of those.
The topic of affordable classics seems to be a popular discussion here at Petrolicious. With the current automotive bubble—which could be on the verge of rupturing—it seems the demand for desirable classics is at an all-time high across the board. From Italian supercars, to German sports cars, to American muscle cars, everyone seemingly wants a slice of the pie—which isn’t helping affordability for the average enthusiast.
Here’s the thing: there are still plenty of great looking and reasonably-priced classics out there. Take this 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Sport Coupe, for example. No, it’s not a muscle car… or a sports car. It’s not something you want to take to the drag strip or track in stock trim, but it does have style—in spades.
The second generation Corvair debuted in 1965, and the design was unlike anything on the road. It also popularized a styling cue that was later adopted by everyone from Land Rover to Lamborghini: a sculpted “character” line in its fenders, doors, and fascias that wraps around the entire car. So the looks were there; the muscle car phenomenon was just picking up, so perhaps that’s why enthusiasts overlooked the Corvair? Negative publicity thanks to Unsafe At Any Speed probably didn’t help, either. From a styling perspective, the second-generation Corvair is a brilliant runabout car that features a number of improvements over the early model.
This ’65 Corvair Monza Coupe features coil-spring independent suspension, Chevelle brakes, a Delco AM radio, red leather interior, and is noted as being only repainted once in its original black. Under the rear lid lies a factory flat-six cylinder engine mated to a Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission. The pairing is good for around 95 horsepower, so while the Corvair won’t give you tunnel vision when accelerating, its rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout will provide for a unique drive through some curvaceous back roads.
This hardtop example looks great in Tuxedo Black with bright red upholstery—the Sport Coupe special—but with only 13,000 miles on the odometer, your biggest problem will be completing its decades-long break-in.
Sheer speed was not the goal behind the Corvair—breaking the General Motors mold was, and it accomplished that task. That’s not to say they can’t be tuned—they’ve been modified to compete and win in many different disciplines.
If you’re in the market for a classic car and have a moderate budget, why not give this pretty, pillar-less coupe a shot? It’s got sleek Coke-bottle looks, a boxer engine out back, and you won’t break the piggy bank to afford it. Remember, there are classics other than the E30 BMW M3 and air-cooled Porsche 911s—and a lot more out there for less than $20,000.
– Believed to only have been repainted once
~95 horsepower, 164 cubic inch flat-six boxer engine, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, front and rear independent coil-spring suspension, servo-assisted front and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 108 in.
Chassis no.: 105375W215211