This collection of Corvairs wasn’t the grouping I expected


As I sit at my garage workbench that also serves as my desk during the summer months, the white 1965 Corvair that I love so much is nothing more than a background prop during Zoom meetings. Well, maybe that’s a bit harsh. It also reminds me of the unfinished state I’ve left it in for nearly two years. In my experience though, nothing motivates the completion of a project like having a similar car you can drive and enjoy. It helps you see the light at the end of the project car tunnel. That’s how I stumbled upon an oddball collection of Corvairs set to cross the Mecum auction block this month.

A Corvair collection typically has a few staples, much like any one-car or one-make collection. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see this compilation was clearly curated by someone who truly embraces the oddball and less-loved Corvairs. The top-trim Spyder and Corsa models are often the default cars that people search for, but I would gamble there are more of those around than the lower-trim cars that got used up. The production data shows that Monza and 500 coupes composed the majority of the cars that rolled off the line. Where is the love for those cars?

Mecum 65 Corvair corsa convertable
The one Corsa of the group packs the 140-hp engine option rather than the 180-hp turbo. Some would turn their nose up at this, but why? Mecum

Apparently all the love was with that person now selling off this collection (or at least part of it.) To me, the standout cars are the sedans, as the Corvair community has a lot of members who view sedans as parts cars and nothing more. For that reason there are multiple sedan-only pieces that are next-to-impossible to find. For instance, the trim piece on the late model (’65–69) cars that attaches to the B-pillar. Good ones are hard to find, and a rare interior color only doubles your frustration. The interior on the ’66 sedan in this collection is really nice, and honestly the cool factor is not the performance but the fact it still exists.

The three forward-control models are more traditional inclusions in a collection. The rampside trucks and panel van all share the same 95-inch wheelbase, which is where the “Corvair 95” badge on the side of each gets its inspiration. When it comes to weird, does it really get any weirder than a General Motors product of the ’60s that is forward control with an air-cooled engine hung off the back of a transaxle? OK, maybe the Chrysler turbine cars, but those weren’t let loose in production.

’There is also a pair of “caveman cars” mixed in. The Corvair is pretty weird, but the weirdest of weird Corvair is the 1960 model. The first year for the Corvair was a one-year-only model, and naturally that means that parts and pieces can be tough to find. They are slightly more primitive compared to the later cars, but if you are into having something unique, there are worse ways to stand out than to arrive at cars and coffee in a 1960 Corvair. It’s a subtle way to stand out.

If you appreciate the oddball nature of these rare survivors more than the numbers-game cool factor of the top trim cars, be sure to get a bidders paddle for the Mecum auction on July 28–31 in Orlando, Florida. You won’t be bidding against me, as I’ll likely finally be welding up that exhaust I told myself I was going to build two years ago, but I might regret not being a buyer when it’s all said and done.

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    I own a 1966 4 door hardtop like the one in the picture, it’s even the same color. But mine also has factory air conditioning, Back in 2011 I was looking for this precise model, and found one on Craigslist within 50 miles of home. It has been an ongoing effort since I bought the car, to keep it in good running condition, address its issues, and upgrade it to meet my requirements for a Corvair that excels as a long-distance, comfortable cruiser that handles highways speeds with confidence and looks the part of a like-new 1966 car.

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