Rex R 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa 2dr Sport Coupe

My Terrible 1965 Corvair Corsa

1965 Chevrolet Corvair

I claim temporary insanity. (Warning; Corvair owners aren’t going to like this.) It’s February, 1965 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. A supervisor that I worked with had two older Corvairs that he loved, one for him and one for his wife. He raved about the new ‘65 model every day until finally I went down to my friendly Chevrolet dealer and discussed a trade. He didn’t want my near mint 1958 356 Porsche and said so: “Full sticker price for mine, low wholesale book for yours; take it or leave it!” I guess I was leaving it because he walked away before I could respond. I drove to the friendlier Chev dealer in Denver, looked at the new Convair and like an idiot, I traded my wonderful Porsche in on a gold Corsa Turbo, 180 HP from 164 cubic inches. Wow!

From the start, things went sour. On my way to work on Monday (I worked in Chugwater, about 60 miles north of Cheyenne), the transaxle froze up, stranding me beside the road with snow blowing by. Seems the factory forgot to put oil in it. There were no cell phones is those days so I had a fun time getting home. A strike at the factory delayed parts so repair was “in the future”. Along with that information, the local Chev dealer wouldn’t give me a loaner because I didn’t buy the car from him. I found rides to work and trudged through the snow for groceries. Needless to say, my first new car experience was not a happy one. There were other issues: The first time I cornered hard, my kids lost traction on the cardboard seat back & crashed against the side of the car, crying in pain. The Porsche was carpeted and they had places to hold on. I had to stop cornering hard. The fun factor was gone. The gas filler pipe was defective so I spent lots of time slowly filling the tank. But worse, when driving straight down the road, the car would suddenly change lanes and terrify us. All of these items were brought to the dealer’s attention and ignored. I was not happy!

When we moved back to Seattle, I had the local dealer look at it. He was the evil twin of the guy in Cheyenne. No response to the problems. I finally called the Times classified and put a ‘For Sale’ ad in the paper, telling them to run it until it is gone. Worst of all, I had two years of car payments to make. Lucky for me, a fellow bought the car, paid off my loan and made me a very happy person. He found that the transaxle was missing some bolts, causing the swerving problem. I tried to write a letter to GM customer service but I would get madder as I wrote, covering reams of paper with foul invective. I finally calmed down and got everything I wanted to say on one page and mailed it. This was 3 months after I had sold the car.

I never went near a GM dealership again; I couldn’t do it if I tried. Better yet, I have never made a car payment since.

Thank you, thank you GM for simplifying life!

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    Peter Pleitner Ann Arbor, MI, USA February 19, 2015 at 13:26
    Brake fade in Boston? I suspect something else faded. Brake fade occurs when the fluid boils, like when you're having fun on long downhill switchback road, or the friction lining outgases. Your second series Corvair was first to get the larger wider 5 lug drums from the heavier Chevelle, plus with the rear weight bias it didn't nose dive when braking because it's rear brakes are much more effective than rear brakes on a front engine car.

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