Corvair Concept Cars

1962 Monza SS
1962 Monza SS
1962 Super Spyder
1962 Super Spyder
1963 GT
1963 GT

 There are many theories today about why the Chevrolet Corvair, America's first and only air-cooled rear engine car, died in 1969. Many blame Ralph Nader and his book released in 1965, others attribute it to the Ford Mustang and Falcon. The Mustang took the competitive edge away while the Falcon took away the economy aspects. Yet, Corvair is more technically advanced than either Ford and its own successor, the Camaro.

Behind the scenes, as the Corvair sold to millions, engineers continued to create and play with potential production cars called "concept cars". The first of them for the Corvair appeared in 1961 the Sebring Spyder, which contained a two seat compartment with a shorter wheelbase. The 1962 Super Spyder was much more radical and did not look like a production model. It had a very short 93 inch wheelbase and a stock 150hp turbo engine. It looked and moved like a race car. It was a two seater.

In 1962 and 63, Corvair designers toyed with another version, the Corvair Monza GT and SS. These cars were your "mako" design that you would see in the 1968 Corvette production cars, but in 1963, when debuted to the public, stole the show. Both had a fiberglass body with disc brakes. They were bumperless. The Monza SS wheelbase was only 88 inches (20 inches less than the production model). The SS model used the four carb 140 hp engine, the GT used the two carb 110 hp motor. The code name for both cars was XP-797.

Of the two, the SS model almost became a Corvair production model and could have been a huge success as it would have been one year before the Mustang appeared. Instead, Chevy redesigned the Corvair in many ways for the 1965-69 model. It was popular in 1965-66, selling well but not well enough for Chevy to release the SS model in 1967 ( a strictly two seater). Instead, the Camaro arrived to compete with the Mustang.

Comments 10 comments

nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

I loved all my Corvairs; I had a 65 110 and 2 66 Turbos. I wish I'd kept them all.


perrya profile image

perrya 6 years ago Author

I agree. I have 66 corsa convertible and a 67 Monza coupe.


rdcast profile image

rdcast 6 years ago from God's Green Earth

In 1968, my dad gave my oldest sister Karen a Corvair for graduation and for the rest of his life, if you cared to ask him about Ralph Nader's book "Unsafe At Any Speed", he'd no doubt wax bitter with vehement accusations how Nader ruined a perfectly good car. Thinking back, it's hilarious to me how my dad loved driving that car himself. Dad was about the safest driver I've ever seen. In fact, he never had an accident except for the two he had will driving that Corvair. It simply spun out of control, once into a field and the other time, off the Chincoteague causeway into the marsh. The fact is. Without him ever facing the fact, that car WAS unsafe at any speed.


perrya profile image

perrya 6 years ago Author

Depends, if the car was pre 1965, maybe, under certain conditions, if 1965 or later, not the car at all, either the driver or road conditions.


kschang profile image

kschang 6 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

Any possibility that the Corvair was "inspired" by the Porsche 911, which began US sales in 1965? It is rear-engined air-cooled as well, and a bit hard to handle, being so different from the usual front-engine/rear-wheel-drive models US audience is so used to.


perrya profile image

perrya 6 years ago Author

Yes, the Porsche, in 1955, and VW was the reason for the Corvair. Chevy even hired German techies and industry to design and train American workers in 1957-58 at their totally new plant built for the car. They used German technology and know-how but the corvair design and engine was American. The first corvair were in production in late 1959. In 1965, the car body was totally redesigned (thank god!)making it a timeless design which still is eye catching ( I know, I have two of them and everywhere I drive, people look).


kschang profile image

kschang 6 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

It looks like a hybrid between a 911 and a '57 Chevy. :D


riyan 6 years ago

Wow what can i say classic sexy!!

http://carandengines.blogspot.


perrya profile image

perrya 6 years ago Author

One can see the corvette in them for sure!


e-news 5 years ago

very good :)

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