Duke M 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza 2dr Convertible

Confession from a foxhole...

Upon my graduation from college and having the good fortune of obtaining a teaching position, I was able to purchase my very first new vehicle, a 1964 Corvair Spyder Turbo Coupe. What an incredible machine to drive, especially when the turbo kicked in while shifting through the 4 speed Muncie transmission. It was my dream car, and I took care of it as though it was the only vehicle left on earth!

The following Spring, my younger car-less brother, who was a senior in high school, wanted to borrow my cherished vehicle for his final prom. He promised that he would return it in the same pristine condition received and even would go a step beyond by waxing it with Blue Coral and filling the gas tank. I was hesitant, as it was a 4 speed and he had limited driving experience. However, since the prom was at the local high school, and the restaurant also nearby, I consented.

It was a wonderful prom night, although my brother looked a little distraught when my fiancee and I had the opportunity to watch the grand march. The next afternoon, as promised, he returned the car stating, "You don't have to do a thing to it, it's polished, clean inside, filled with gas and ready for the road". He thank me again and turned over the keys.

A week later, while washing my car, I came around to the front and discovered to my dismay, a bent bumper that dug in to the fender and a crumpled headlight rim unit. I thought someone in a parking lot must had backed into the car to cause that kind of damage and sadly, set me back a few hard earned dollars.

Seven years later, I receive a letter from my brother in Viet Nam who was serving as an Army forward observer. It read, "I may not get out of here alive, so I want to get this burden off my chest! When you loaned me your Corvair for my senior prom, I was driving for only a few minutes when I and got the brake and clutch mixed up, banging into a tree while attempting to make a turn into her driveway"!

Thankfully, he did return alive to retell the story to kids and grandkids. There is just one minor problem after all these years. I have restored a beautiful 64 Corvair Spyder in the last decade that is of the same color and options of my original, except that it is a convertible. My brother would like to drive it to his 50th class reunion this summer: What a dilemma!

12 Reader Comments

  • 1
    MJ Cheshire, CT February 18, 2015 at 13:59
    In high school, my best friend's father had a 1962 Corvair Sprint, honduras maroon , black vinyl top ,black racing stripes and black interior. The 'Sprint' was a Corvair modified by Connecticut native John Fitch and featured a 4 carb engine, short throw 4-speed shifter, lucas flamethrower headlights, modified suspension, a special wire front grill and low restrictive exhaust. Alas, this was traded in on a 1966 Impala Super Sport, 327 with powerglide. I always had fond memories of rides in the 'Sprint' .
  • 2
    Jim Retirement February 18, 2015 at 14:23
    Tell him to pound sand!!!!!!!!!
  • 3
    Tailgunner Pacific Northwest February 18, 2015 at 15:06
    Let him borrow it again. He's got 50 more years of driving experience now than he did then.
  • 4
    Murk Mansell Pueblo, CO February 18, 2015 at 15:10
    Has he completed Driver's Ed ?
  • 5
    Keith Tn February 18, 2015 at 16:27
    Great story, glad he made it back from Vietnam. I say you let him borrow the car. Surely he knows how to drive a stick by now.
  • 6
    Keith Habermas Tn February 18, 2015 at 16:29
    Great story, glad he made it back from Vietnam. I say you let him borrow the car. Surely he knows how to drive a stick by now. My dad and older brother had corvairs. They were a blast to drive in the snow in Michigan.
  • 7
    Chuck Womble Oklahoma City, OK February 18, 2015 at 19:45
    No dilemma. Not gonna happen, Viet Nam vet or not. Thank him for his service. I was too young have to go, fortunately, I was also too young to join the ding dongs that protested.
  • 8
    William Ramm Overland Park, KS February 18, 2015 at 20:10
    Your brother served you, me and this great country and maybe received a kick in the ass when he returned from Nam, so give the kid a break and let him have the car for the big 50 reunion with the following contingencies: he is not to drive; you will do the driving ; no alcoholic beverages in the car; no food in the car; no smoking in the car; no making out in the back seat; they (wife?) will be home before 11:00 pm; and a $5000.00 deposit in case there is anything amiss. Oops, I guess I was thinking of my daughter. Not possible, she is 50!
  • 9
    jay salser Dallas, TX February 18, 2015 at 23:19
    SAY NO!
  • 10
    larry illinois February 19, 2015 at 18:07
    I owned a '61, '64 corsa, and a '65 spyder conv. loved them all and left the spyder in the phillipines, a sailor paid me to much and i was leaving for thailand which uses right hand drive cars. i used the monet to buy a new mazda coupe.
  • 11
    Joe New Jersey February 20, 2015 at 08:06
    Hopefully, and most likely, he's learned how to drive stick but history has a way of repeating itself. It would, however, be very cool to attend the reunion in a classy vehicle.
  • 12
    Phil Schostak Huntington Woods Mi. February 26, 2015 at 11:54
    Loved this story! I had a '64 Spyder convertible in bright red. It lloks exactly like the one pictured in this article. It was aGM exec car that was absolutely loaded with every option available, Teak wheel, wires, clock, etc. (plus a 45 rpm record player I installed under the glove compartment!) That 'Vair kept up with my friend's dad's 327 Impala convertible from a 50 mph roll !!. With the top down and the turbo kicked in, it sounded like a Greyhound bus from the engine compartment! I used to pop fan belts on it, until GM came up with that retainer to keep it on. However I did blow the head gaskets when drag racing one time. Thnk God, the dealer fixed it under warranty. :)

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