As a teenager, a friend of mine owned a Corvair. One night he was driving too fast and failed to negotiate a turn. Due to the type suspension, his wheel buckled under. He struck a tree head on and was killed on impact.
Then I heard the voice of the
Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
Contrary to popular belief at that time, Chevy had already planned to kill off the Corvair.
The Chevy II was already slated to phase the Corvair out.
If anything, Nader's book (which I read back then BTW) kept it alive longer than Chevy wanted to.
It was kind of a GM corporate 'save face' effort.
"It's worse, it's so much worse"
I remember reading some technical analyses of Nader's theories when they became controversial, and they concluded that the Corvair's wheels could not tuck under as Nader claimed. The rear wheels simply could not swing the 37 degrees that he claimed, due to the way the swing axles were attached to the car.
In fact, the grooves in the road that Nader claimed were from tucking under, were simply tires collapsing due to under-inflation. Another poster here remembered the rough ride of the Corvair, which actually wasn't so bad, but many of the people buying the car thought it was, as compared to the heavier Detroit Iron most of them drove prior to the Corvair. Before I drove my college room mate's car, I had to increase tire pressure because he either neglected the car, or had intentionally dropped the pressure. If I remember correctly, they may have been as low as 10psi in the rear. Properly inflated (32psi, I think), the car handled just fine, and I never rubbed a tire.
I suspect that the tires may have tended to leak on the car as well, since Chevrolet tended to put cheap tires on economy cars. To this day, Firestones are noted to leaking, and in fact they are about 4psi low on my Cruze right now. I checked them today.
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
-- H L Mencken
|Plowing straight ahead come what may|
I love a Corvair...if I had one today...I would feel like a rebel...SUCK IT NADER!...seriously, I like their looks
"we've gotta roll with the punches, learn to play all of our hunches
Making the best of what ever comes our way
Forget that blind ambition and learn to trust your intuition
Plowing straight ahead come what may
And theres a cowboy in the jungle"
Mom used to have one when I was a kid, great car in the woods, didn't spook animals for some reason. Friend had a Revell model of one, SS stripes, air scoop running up over the back glass, and wheelie bars, thought it looked cool as all get out.
I would like to put a 3.8L supercharged/4T65 in one someday, maybe use the cradle assembly from a Bonneville SSEI. My last SSEI would get 30 mpg if kept under 75 on my daily 50 mile ride to or from work. I usually kept it under 85 and settled for 25 mpg, miss that car/powertrain.
You never know...
I read a story a long time ago that may have been speculation or fact-all this is before my time, so IDK. Anyway, the story I read was that since Corvairs were air-cooled, naturally, there was no recirculating coolant heater.
If equipped with a heater, they had a gasoline-fueled mini furnace. The article I recall (again, I can't recall if speculation or stated fact) attributed his death primarily to carbon monoxide poisoning. Even if the heater wasn't needed, I gather there was a pilot light on them that maybe wasn't fully burning or an exhaust leak from the heater. Had you ever read anything about this?
Safety, Situational Awareness and proficiency.
Neck Ties, Hats and ammo brass, Never ,ever touch'em w/o asking first
|Edge seeking |
Never heard of a gasoline heater in a Corvair. They used diverted cooling air into the interior. When oil leaks from push rod tubes occurred, you got oil vapors along with the heat. Only gasoline heaters I've ever heard of were in Volkswagon vans.
Early Volkswagons used the same system, later ones used exhaust manifold heat so oil vapors would be minimized.
My opinion is that the Corvair was a stupid and unsafe design further hamstrung by being odd with repair quirks Americans weren't familiar with. Kind of like dropping Citroens in the US. I hope the engineers and the management who gave us this were not only fired, but shamed.
|Savor the limelight|
It's been a long time, but I don't believe my 69 had any sort of supplemental heat.
They did find matches and an unlit cigar near his body which led to speculation that he was trying to light a cigar when the accident happened.
Gas Heaters In Corvairs Seems like it was a factory option, but maybe not popular?
|His diet consists of black|
coffee, and sarcasm.
I don't think this went where the OP was expecting.
Interesting. I wish I could recall where I read that. The theory is he gradually lost consciousness. IDK if Corvairs had gas heaters as choice over exhaust heat or supplemental. In last month's Hemmings Classic Car, they profiled a DeSoto with a Stewart-Warner Southwind gas heater. The owner restored the heater as it is pretty rare but didn't connect to the fuel pump.
It did kinda go Carl and Marlin at the Shell station.
|Dances with Wiener Dogs|
I had a Corsa for a while until a teenage girl totaled it by running into me while I was at a stop light. It was decently quick and even back then wasn't a very common vehicle (mid 70's). Lady I bought it from also gave me a copy of Nader's book.
It would be nice if they'd do a modern interpretation of this thing. I'd also like to see VW try their hand at an updated Kharman Ghia.
“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” Ayn Rand
“If we relinquish our rights because of fear, what is it exactly, then, we are fighting for?” Sen. Rand Paul
|Waiting for Hachiko|
Very interesting thread, I remember them, from growing up, and also the Chevy II's with the 4 -lug wheels.
Found this website, some interesting builds on Corvair based autos, amazing what auto enthusiasts can do, especially using today's technology.
But a modern Corvair, sans original defects, would be a great resto. But no air cooled engines, please.
|Edge seeking |
Maybe a Corvair would be alright with Konis, forged lightweight wheels, Brembo or Wilwood brakes, and Michelin Pilot Sport tires. Stock? an old manual transmission Corolla is more fun.
As I was growing up, the gentleman that I worked for , would drive a Corvair "pickup".
He would routinely hauled a 2 place horse trailer ( full) and filled the back of the "pickup" with a cart and/or saddles and tack.
We drove that thing all over South Dakota , attending parades and state fairs..... I don't ever remember having it roll over or spin out. I remember that the heater didn't work well when he drove it in the South Dakota winter.
"Unsafe at any Speed" ?? I never understood that....jmo mike
HS buddy of mine had a Corvair Spyder. Which, IIRC, was turbo charged. I think it was the last production year for Corvairs. 69, maybe?
Since the statute of limitations has expired, I will relate the final ride of the Spyder:
One night we decided to "visit" the local airport and "borrow" some AVGAS to see if it would make the Spyder run faster.
It did! For about 5 minutes. Before the engine seized.
Too bad. It was a fun car and cheap for HS kids to cruise in.
End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
I give you the 1966 Covair 'Yenko Stinger'....
If Some is Good, and More is Better.....then Too Much, is Just Enough !!
My first job out of high school (1969) was on a Formula C racing team. The owner had a 1967 Corvette fastback. One of the team members had a Corvair Corsa that was modded by a company in Connecticut, whose name I forget.
We would frequently rat-race the two. While the Corvette would certainly outrun the Corvair in the open, I was quite surprised how well it kept up in the stop-and-go, left-and-right nature of a rat race.
Don't believe everything you think.
NRA Benefactor/Patriot Member
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