1966 CHEVROLET CORVAIR CONVERTIBLE
Chassis No. 105676W145817
Lemonwood Yellow with tan interior and white top
Engine: six cylinder, horizontally opposed, pushrod operated overhead valves, air-cooled, displacement 161ci, 140bhp 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 fully independent; 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.
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 convertible offered by Christie's is an AACA award-winning restoration still presenting extremely well, as well it should: a former owner has said that over $100,000 was spent in the restoration. In the course of the restoration the powerplant and transmission were upgraded from the original Monza specification of the 110hp engine and Powerglide transmission to its present Corsa specification of a 140hp engine and four-speed transmission. Complete with air conditioning, power top, period AM/FM radio and telescopic steering wheel, this Corvair also comes with a large gathering of literature, including two owner's guides, a period Parts and Accessories catalogue for 1966 and numerous Chevrolet color and fabric guides for 1966. We are told that the most recent owner has spent approximately $5,000 in freshening the car and, as a result, the car runs just the way it should, with all gauges, warning lights and accessories (including the clock) in working order. Christie's strongly recommends close inspection of this impressive Corvair.