1964 CHEVROLET CORVAIR MONZA SERIES 600 SPYDER CONVERTIBLE
Chassis No. 40667W109122
Red with white top and white interior
Engine: six cylinder, horizontally opposed, pushrod operated overhead valves, air-cooled, turbocharged, displacement 164ci, 150bhp at 4,000rpm; Gearbox: four speed all synchromesh manual (engine, transmission, differential in unit); Suspension: independent, front by unequal length wishbones with coil springs, rear by swinging arms and coil springs; Brakes: hydraulically operated drums. Left hand drive.
'The sum total is a car that is a remarkably attractive buy. We tried, we really tried, to find some basic flaw. The result - a better than passing grade for the four-door Monza', Motor Life, May 1961. 1959 was the year of the compacts: Ford Falcon, Chrysler Valiant and Chevrolet Corvair. The first two were perfectly traditional, but the Corvair was new from stem to stern and very unconventional by Detroit standards. It was of unitary construction for one thing, lacking a separate chassis. The flat-six air-cooled engine and transmission were all in one neat unit, tucked away in what used to be the trunk. There was independent suspension with coil springs all round and the four door sedan styling was trim and original enough to be widely copied. It was an astute package; compact it may have been, but in terms of hip, leg and head room, it was close to what had become accepted in full-size automobiles.
In that first year Chevrolet sold just over a quarter of a million Corvairs, comfortably ahead of both the competitors. Within a couple of seasons, GM's perceptions of the type changed. It was not basic transportation like the other compacts, but filled a niche in the market; nimble and responsive, an economy Corvette. The open two door Monza Spyder came along in 1961 and included the turbocharged 150bhp variant, good for 110mph and was available with options to improve braking and handling. There was also a Monza Convertible only 33.5 inches high at the window-sill, with 80bhp and capable of 102mph, and came with the choice of Powerglide automatic or full synchromesh four speed manual transmission.
The Corvair Monza Spyder Convertible offered by Christie's is an older restoration still presenting very well. Complete with a four speed manual transmission, AM/FM cassette, heat, air and defrost, this Corvair also comes with a nice assemblage of literature including the owners' guide, protection plan, top care and maintenance book, Introduction to the Corvair Turbocharged Spyder manual, and a Chevrolet owners' protection policy brochure. Having covered just over 97,000 miles, the most recent owner acquired the car in April 2000 and has exercised it only lightly. Upon recent inspection the car was up and running well and very much looking the part of this iconic rear engine Chevrolet. Close inspection is warranted as these cars are rarely found in this most complete and attractive condition.