Someone stop me from raiding this Corvair honeyhole
Update: As originally published, this story attributed all photos to the author. This was a mistake. All photos are taken by and belong to Steven Thrush, who reached out to inform us of our error, kindly volunteering his permission to include them here. Thank you, Steven! —Ed.
By nature, us vintage-car lovers are predisposed to at least light hoarding. We have to be. The cars we love are full of bits and pieces that went out of production decades ago and thus if we intend to keep cars original, the duty is on us to keep those parts from going to the smelter and becoming the next SuperMax Family Hauler 3000 hood or fender. Reasonable people know their limits—but I am not reasonable, and I need your help.
Large stashes of Chevrolet Corvair parts seems to pop up with regularity. I’ve picked over two different ones within an hour and a half of my home in northern Michigan. Go further south and west, and opportunities for big hoards of parts and cars become exponentially greater. Take this latest collection that popped up in Santa Barbara, California. 17 complete cars is notable enough, but then there is a stash of new-old-stock parts and pieces that is just far too tempting.
According to the ad, this hoard of parts was accumulated over 40 years, which means this person had the foresight to hold onto the rarer Corvair parts even when these were the cheapest of cheap, used cars. The shelves of four-carb, 140-hp cylinder heads and turbo-kit parts are sought after today, but it wasn’t that long ago that any damage would demote such components to scrap metal. Now there are specialists who repair these engine parts and even upgrade to deep valve seats so the all-too-common dropped valve seat is no longer an issue.
The parts are worth poring over… but what about the cars?
Well, those are tough. Corvairs are still firmly on the affordable end of the automotive spectrum, and restoring any one of these far-gone examples would be an exercise in financial self flagellation. I’ve done it, am currently doing it, and will do so again … all of which means I’m qualified to tell you that even if one of those cars boasts rare options, it is still probably a bad idea to resurrect it.
There are parts on these worth saving, however, and I’ve found that storing an assembled car is much easier than storing one in a million pieces. It’s also a nice reference for how the parts fit together.
Regardless of what your Corvair may require, finds like these give enthusiasts the option to buy many of the parts they need for their project from a fellow enthusiast. Nothing in this Corvair honeyhole should end up at a recycling center or scrap yard.
Please don’t leave it up to me to bring it all home.
I don’t have the space.