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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Little red ... Corvair? Jay Leno loves this American oddity | Hagerty Media

The 1960s were a time of great technological developments in the automotive industry. In one way, however, the '60s were just like any other modern decade: Perception could make or break a new car. Case in point? The Chevrolet Corvair. Despite significant innovations that made the car more user-friendly, it ended up fizzling out before the decade's end.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/video/little-red-corvair-jay-leno-loves-this-american-oddity/
10 REPLIES 10
GoFast
Detailer

No such thing as a 'draw-through' turbo.
Ralf Nader forgot to mention the heater that pumps exhaust fumes including carbon monoxide into the cabin and the non-collapsing steering column aimed spearlike at the driver's heart. Jay forgot to mention Ed Cole's wonderful Vega linerless aluminum block engine.
SamAdamsPaleAle
Advanced Driver

The heater part is partially true. Now, I apologize if I come off as a know-it-all, but the heater pumping in Carbon Monoxide was only an issue on the 60-61 cars with the heater option. The base heater works the same way the VW's heater work, by venting heat off the engine into the cabin.
Kyle
Moderator

The turbocharger draws the air and fuel through the carburetor. In my experience and expertise this is the accurate description of how the Corvair is set up. Curious what you would call it?

Many cars of the era had non-collapsing steering columns, the only reason people talk about it on the Corvair is because the engine is located in the rear, but that only marginally raises the risk.

The heater pumping CO is a danger--but only if the heating system is not properly maintained. Keep the gaskets between the manifolds and the exhaust tubes on the cylinder heads in proper shape and you can drive with confidence.
vegavairbob
Intermediate Driver

Ralph didn't forget any of that but those issues were all addressed on the second generation cars.
SamAdamsPaleAle
Advanced Driver

The Chevrolet Corvair, man what a car. Those second gens in person are just gorgeous.
vegavairbob
Intermediate Driver
vegavairbob
Intermediate Driver

Your description of a 1966 Corsa turbo as an economy car is a more than a bit of a stretch in the wrong direction. The 1960 Corvair 80-hp sedan was an economy car. The second generation Corvairs are NOT economy cars. The Nova 4 cyl. took over that slot back in 1962. The 61-69 Monza wasn't considered an economy car either. It was the first "pony car" and brought on the Mustung and camaro. Are they economy cars? Back to the turbo. Not even Porsche had turbo until 1977. Give credit where its due. The Corvair Corsa IS a sports. It doesn't get any sportier than that (other than a Corvette. Even a Porsche 911 has fold-down rear jump seats.It was an American Porsche for half the price There I said it.
vegavairbob
Intermediate Driver

Do you know why the Corsa was dropped from the line-up for '67.Because Ed Cole's successor (a muscle car man) didn't want it competing with his Z/28 That's right. He dropped any Corvair development in April 1965, seven months after the second gen cars were introduced and seven months before Unsafe at any Speed was published. Who killed the Corvair? Not Ralph Nader. Pete Estes. You have been officially updated on your Corvair history.
vegavairbob
Intermediate Driver

One more thing: First & second generation Corvair Monzas were seen in Chevy ads with Corvettes, not Chevy IIs. It WAS (an inexpensive) sports car. Period.
gojoe283
New Driver

The steering column issue was first addressed in mid-1965. Chevy changed the solid shaft to a 2-piece design connected with a U-joint. A floor reinforcement was also added to prevent the column from intrusion into the passenger compartment. For 1967, an energy absorbing column was fitted in compliance with Federal standards.