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'61 Corvair
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Jul 31, 2018 09:50:43   #
LBOYD1946
 
.... nice shots .... but as a former owner of 3 different Corvairs, I think that one is a '64 ...

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Jul 31, 2018 10:02:48   #
the f/stops here
 
Ralph is a politician, not a trustworthy individual. I had 210,000 miles on my ‘65 corsa convertable.

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Jul 31, 2018 10:04:19   #
FredCM
 
Trying to think back 40-50 years, IIRC tire pressure was the big issue with the suspension problems. GM called for 5-10 psi difference between front and rear tires and nearly everyone, in their infinite wisdom, decided that was wrong and put 30 psi in all 4. Oops, just don't lift off the gas in the middle of a turn. Didn't Chevrolet add a traverse single leaf spring to the rear end to prevent the wheel tuck under bit? And wasn't this a cheap fix that GM management nixed for the original car?

There had to be a flaw in the design of the heads and valve covers. Subarus, VWs, and Porsches didn't/don't drip oil like Corvairs did. I found a guy to replace the pushrod seals in mine and it stopped dripping for a year or so and then started in again, "marking its territory." Hmm, Ferrari had transverse "boxer" engines too, did they leak?

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Jul 31, 2018 10:07:58   #
StephanA
 
Judging by the tail lights, it's a 63. I had one. It was a hand-me-down from my brother. He dropped the engine, too.

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Jul 31, 2018 10:12:46   #
Kuzano
 
LBOYD1946 wrote:
.... nice shots .... but as a former owner of 3 different Corvairs, I think that one is a '64 ...


Yes, I think 1965 debuted the more "wasp waisted" body. My recollection.

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Jul 31, 2018 10:19:37   #
Kuzano
 
the f/stops here wrote:
Ralph is a politician, not a trustworthy individual. I had 210,000 miles on my ‘65 corsa convertable.


And not much of a politician as I recall. His "dirt bashing" Unsafe At Any Speed was a precursor to his run at politics- the presidency. A Trump Ver 1.0 if there was one. The MAGA damage already done in less than two years, may have been eclipsed by Ralph, or even Ross Perot, if we had not had a much smarter populace than we do now. MUCH SMARTER VOTING POPULACE THAN NOW!!!

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Jul 31, 2018 10:52:33   #
TriX (a regular here)
 
Manglesphoto wrote:
65 & 66 rear suspension used "half shafts" and 4 "U-Joints a bit different from the earlier models using an articulating outer bearing and 1 U-joint.
I replaced a 61 Corvair Monza engine and trans with a Turbo Spider and 4 speed trans. Talk about unsafe, we ended up limiting throttle opening to approx. 50% to make it somewhat safe to drive.


Yep, they did finally replace the swing axles with a regular IRS design(which was a good thing, especially with the turbo version). If you’ve ever seen a picture of the rear of a swing axle car in a hard corner, the issue becomes immediately clear. I briefly owned a Triumph Spitfire, which also had swing axles, and while it wasn’t rear-engined, it had very “non-linear” handling when pushed hard - sort of felt like “a hop” to the driver in a hard corner. When you combine that behavior with the rear engine weight bias and the average US driver’s inexperience with rear engine cars and other than VWs, it was a recipe for oversteer. (never “lift” off the throttle in a hard turn, which is sort of counter-intuitive when you discover you’re going too fast for the turn!). I’m no fan of Ralph Nader (many car enthusiasts hated him), but the very early Corvairs surprised many a driver, especially in the rain, when the back end came around suddenly in a hard corner or transient, and once it was sideways, it was hard to “catch”

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Jul 31, 2018 10:56:31   #
FredCM
 
They called that behavior "porsche-itis," didn't they? Suddenly the car swaps ends.... I suppose the tire pressure differential was supposed to stop some of that, and the rear wheel tuck under by somehow stopping the rear end from unloading?

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Jul 31, 2018 11:08:55   #
skipnord
 
Mine was a 62 with the stiff suspension option. Never had the rear suspension problems with it. Loved the car. Wish I still had it.

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Jul 31, 2018 11:21:32   #
TriX (a regular here)
 
FredCM wrote:
They called that behavior "porsche-itis," didn't they? Suddenly the car swaps ends.... I suppose the tire pressure differential was supposed to stop some of that, and the rear wheel tuck under by somehow stopping the rear end from unloading?


correct on the tire pressure. The real wheel “tuck under” is the unpleasant result of the high rear roll center of the swing axle design.

Until they started putting larger rear wheels/tires on Porsche 911s, they could be a real handful if you got one “out-of-attitude” at high speed when you didn’t have the torque needed. The procedure was “right foot on the floor and steer like hell” (which is counter-intuitive when you’re already going too fast). They were a hoot to “throw” sideways at 60-90 MPH in 3rd when you had the torque to catch it, but try that at 120, you were in for a ride, and you better have about 4 lanes to catch it, because once the tail starts swinging, it’s not that simple to “catch” because of all that inertia in the rear. Modern 911s with larger rear wheels/fires are much more predictable, but can still be a handful for the unskilled driver who’s foolish enough to turn off the stability control and push just a little too hard. It’s a good thing they’re such strong cars, because you need it when you’re rolling and upside down 🙀 (been there, done that, lucky to be alive).

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Jul 31, 2018 12:01:29   #
ebbote
 
I had a 62' Corvair for 3 years and loved it, yes it leaked oil, but that was the character of the car. It was a fun car to drive and it swapped ends on me just once, I bought wider tires for the rear and never had that problem again. Ralph Nader was proven wrong, the car flipping was staged, which you could plainly seen on a video, but it was to late to save the Corvair.

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Jul 31, 2018 12:12:39   #
lowbone
 
I had one just like the one in the photo, it was A 64. Mine had a white top and a black interior. 180 hp turbocharged engine. That turbo sounded like a vacuum cleaner when it wound up. The spider was my second corvair. I had a 62 and later on I got 69 which was the last year they were in production. I loved those cars, never had any handling problems and they were great in snow. I think the thing that killed the corvair more then anything was the introduction of the Ford Mustang. The corvair was expensive to build and didn’t have the performance engines that were already in existence at Ford.

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Jul 31, 2018 12:15:02   #
Kuzano
 
KTJohnson wrote:
1961 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder


We called them "roadoilers", my friend "Tonto Jablonski" owned one. He could track them by the single oil track they left on the highway. He filled up the radiator on one that came in the Arco service station he worked in. This was before he bought one himself. After gassing it, he opened the hood and found the radiator cap. The owner had gone in the rest room. Lawrence (Tonto) had the water hose in the radiator cap, when the owner observed this activity. OOOOPS! What- No Radiator? They rolled the corvair in into the service bay... remember this was when gas stations had a back room and did major service repairs, and then sold your old parts as new to the next customer. Yes, cynthia, scamming did exist long before the internet. In gas stations it was mostly on women customers.

Two full oil changes before the customer drove, befuddled but happy, out the door.

I loved corvairs. I had a 1955 Chevy Bel Air and they were almost the only car I could beat at the Midnight Drags, out on an old section of closed highway near Lava Butte South of Band Oregon. I had a six cylinder 235 Cu inch three speed with overdrive. The early corvairs were just not that fast, but I began losing to Monza's and Corsa's.

Interestingly the military bought a few million dollars worth of Ford jeep replacements, while I was a motor sargeant. They came with a film tape of how easy they were to turn over due to the swing axle rear suspension. In service they were killing more soldiers than the enemy was. I know that when they arrived in Germany, we pulled the tires off and stacked them in cyclone fenced enclosures and continued to use the Willy jeeps - M38-A1.

The new Ford jeeps were the M151 "death by sharp turn" model. The MFD by Ford model had an aluminum body shell. Turnover was a slow roll to the inside of a tight circle at any speed 35mph AND UP.

Where was Ralph when taxpayer money was being used to kill US Solders and Ford was the beneficiary.

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Jul 31, 2018 13:24:33   #
Paladin48
 
tomc601 wrote:
I had a 1960 Corvair coupe. Flipped it doing 85 on Rte. 80 near Hazeltown, PA back in 1967. Landed on it's side and walked out the windshield. Just looking at these photos makes me nervous.


I didn't think that Corvair would do 85 if you dropped it from a plane.

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Jul 31, 2018 14:13:53   #
safeman
 
Nice shots. I had a 1964 Monza Spyder. It had a 150 HP turbocharged six cylinder engine. Corvair had, by then, solved two of the biggest problems with the car: Older Corvairs had a tendency to throw fan belts when you let off the throttle. A simple L shaped belt retainer bolted to the engine cover solved that one. The second problem, the one that caused Nader to write Unsafe at Any Speed was a combination of terminal oversteer, which Porsche had also and a tendency of the outside rear wheel to tuck under causing the car to roll. Also of course the fact that Americans had no idea of how to drive rear engine cars was a factor. In I believe 1963 Chevrolet installed what they called a camber/caster compensator, that attached to the rear suspension to prevent the wheel tuck problem. This turned the Corvair into arguably the best handling American production car, although still with the same oversteer problem inherent in all rear engine cars.

As a quick aside the difference between understeer and oversteer can be defined as follows: In a car that understeers if you enter a corner at too high a speed the front tires will break loose causing the car to go straight and plough through the fence on the outside of the corner. In the event of entering a corner too fast in a care that oversteers the car will go the same hole in the fence--backwards.

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