Someone buy the Petersen Museum’s 1960 Chevrolet Corvair so I don’t
What is bright red, has four-wheel independent suspension, a rear-mounted flat-six engine, and is currently bid to less than $2000 on Bring a Trailer? If you are picturing a Guards Red Porsche 911, keep dreaming. Instead, it is a first-year Chevrolet Corvair, and you should buy it so that I don’t.
Chevrolet went off the deep end when it designed the 1960 Corvair. The independent suspension design alone was a radical departure from established Chevrolet thinking, but it was necessary to compete with the light and nimble European imports that were arriving on U.S. shores by the boatload in the late ’50s. The Corvair was Chevrolet’s attempt to capture some of those import buyers with a compact and efficient car.
Of course, if there is one name associated with Corvair, it is Ralph Nader. Nader gained notoriety from his book Unsafe at Any Speed, which was published in 1965. The book dissected the auto industry with a claim that American automobiles were unsafe for the public to operate. The Corvair became a focus, thanks to the swing-axle rear suspension that was claimed to tuck the outside rear wheel under hard cornering. Whether that would actually happen is up for debate.
Just ignore the decades-old fears and look at this red 1960 sedan for what it is—a stylish and unique more-door. The paint looks very similar to the correct Roman Red hue, which might make the repair easier.
That’s right, repair. It appears a vehicle ran into the end of the open passenger door, crinkling up the sheet metal. The car also hasn’t run or been driven since early in the Clinton administration. No trouble—Corvair owners enjoy a very supportive owners’ community and great parts availability. Unfortunately, the 1960 cars are one-year-only in many aspects, including the doors.
But ignore that little kink for now and look at the rest of the car. It would make a great little cruiser, with 80 horsepower spinning the two-speed Powerglide automatic. I—I mean you—would be hard-pressed to buy more mid-century style for the average #2 condition price of $6700.
If you think you can, post what you bought in the Hagerty Forums below.