Jack W 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa 2dr Convertible

Not quite the Speedster I really wanted

After my disastrous first car (a Renault Dauphine that my dad paid $50 for) I was looking for the first car that I would actually purchase with my own money in 1968. I really wanted a Porsche Speedster and had found one that was sort of ratty in primer gray for $600. Since I only had $400 saved up I'd asked dad to loan me $200 so I could buy the Porsche but he refused (thanks dad). I think he thought that putting a Porsche in the hands of a seventeen year old was a bad idea - little did he know how the alternative would work out.

As an alternative we located a 1965 Corvair Corsa convertible with the turbocharged 180 HP engine for only $275. It was gold with a black interior and unfortunately had dropped a valve seat which sent chunks through the turbocharger. Since the Corvair wouldn't run we had to flat tow it from south Atlanta to the northern suburbs through downtown using a ski rope - just try doing that today...

My mom had a really nice black 1965 Corvair 110 coupe so I was already familiar with the cars and it didn't take long before I had the Turbo engine out of the car and disassembled on a workbench.Since the engine had suffered some pretty severe damage when the valve seat grenaded in the engine I spent a huge amount of time and money doing everything to the motor that was recommended by the "How to Hot Rod Your Corvair" book. I added forged pistons, a Sig Erson cam, new heads with stainless valves, a bigger turbocharger and a special manifold that used a 2" SU carb from a Jaguar. The engine was balanced within a 1/2 gram tolerance (it would rev to 7000 rpm). My dad had some special head studs made in the Lockheed machine shop to keep the engine together at high rpm. It made at least 250 HP and would light up the E-60/14 tires on Chevrolet Rally wheels going into 3rd gear on the I-285 on ramp. The car had the factory adjustable steering column and quick steering box with additional quick steering arms and suspension brackets from IECO. Koni shocks, bigger wheels and tires and a 1968 Z-28 front spoiler helped the car handle and metallic brakes helped it stop.

We clocked it at 132 mph between mile posts on I-75 late one night on our way back to Georgia Tech. I think if my dad had any idea what a beast that little Corvair would become he would have let me have the 75 hp Speedster instead. The Corvair got T-boned when a kid ran a Stop sign while I was on my way to work after about two years so I bought a coupe body and saved all the running gear from the convertible - that car was even faster. I did eventually get a Porsche 356 when I bought me next car and I still have that one.

0 Reader Comments

Join the Discussion