- Automotive Makes & Models
Corvair Corsa or Monza: Nearly Identical Classic Cars
There is a mystery or oddity about the Corvair Corsa and Monza built between 1965-1966. Some may not think it is odd or mysterious, yet logically, why did Chevrolet produce two cars that are nearly identical for the public?
Some feel it simply was a continuation of the Corvair line as was done earlier with the Monza and Spyder from 1962-64. Was Chevrolet trying to revamp the underpowered Monza for a more muscele car crowd? After all, the Mustand and Barracuda were the first of many in 1965. What was the motive? Did they actually think that Corsa sales would go through the roof, as it was the most expensive of all the Corvairs. Did they think that the public would not notice how similar they are?
The Monza and Corsa share identical bodies except to emblems and their placement. If you remove them, one cannot tell which is which from the outside. When you look at the interior, a Monza will have three large gauges on the dash. The Corsa will have several small and large gauges for a more sporty and racy look. The rest of the dash, except for the emblem is identical. The rest of the interior in either car is nearly identical also.
Engine wise, the Monza or the cheapest model, the 500, usually had a standard 95 or 110 hp motor, identified by two carburetors. The Corsa had the 140 or 180 hp motor with four carburetors or turbo. It was the engine that was its distinguishing feature.
Chevrolet tried to appeal to all parties, which made things confusing. You could buy the cheapest Corvair, the 500, with a 140 hp motor. You could buy the Monza with it also or the turbo. Of course, with neither car could you get the "racy" dash or the rear cove area painted that gray silver, which was another cosmetic distinguishing feature of the Corsa. That was Corsa exclusive!
So other than the dash and motor, Chevy tried unsuccessfully to sell both the Corsa and Monza body styles to the same sport audience in 1965 and 1966. What happened was that the Monza and its options outsold the Corsa line by three to one. The public was not willing to spend another $500-1000 for a car that was not that different. Some thought that even the engine of the Corsa, with only 30 more Hp than the Monza, was insignificant enough to warrant the added expense.Because both were identical in body, there was confusion in the mind of the public, which asked "why"? Some thought, Chevy tried to make the Corvair a muscle car, yet it was still underpowered when compared to a Ford Mustang 289 hp for around the same price.
After 1966, Chevy discontinued the Corsa model as sales did warrant it. They returned to the Monza line until 1969, with the option of having a 140 hp motor in the car. Today, a Corsa is worth twice as much as a Monza in the same condition, maybe more to those who collect them. A totally restored Corsa coupe can fetch between $5-8,000, a Monza, usually around $3000-4000.