In late 1961 I was going to General Motors Institute in Flint and commuting from home. I was driving a 1949 Dodge that had blown a piston – it would still run on 5 cylinders but was not very reliable to drive over 50 miles every day so my dad and I decided to look for another car.
I wanted a 1958 Chevrolet Impala hardtop that I had found for sale in Millington Dad said that it had too many miles on it. He helped look for a suitable vehicle for me. An almost new 1958 Edsel was found in Flint for a very good price – I did not want an Edsel,
Then he found a low mileage 1960 Corvair 700 4-door at the Chrysler dealer in Vassar. The price was right so we made a deal We asked the dealer what he would give us for a junker trade-in - he said he did not have time to tow it in – when we told him we could drive the 1949 Dodge in he gave us enough to cover the sales tax.
This was an excellent car for me – a very good winter driver & with the gas heater, a very cozy drive also. Unfortunately, within a month the differential went out- the dealer honored is warranty and repaired it, although it took over a month – he had trouble getting the parts from GM..
THE WINTER OF 1962-63
If the rear wheels of a Corvair are firmly on the ground it is almost impossible to get it stuck. The first winter I owned
this car proved that to me. I had a 24 mile drive to work over country roads so I was very grateful for the traction the Corvair gave me.
Once, during a particularly bad blizzard, I tried to get to work using the normal route – it was not possible – that route was drifted in with 5 foot drifts. While backtracking, I came across another fellow with a 1952 heavy Chrysler with 800-15 tires & snow chains. He said to follow him and he would break a path, he gave up on the route I was taking so we tried another – that did not work either, he gave up & went back home.
I decided to try to go in the opposite direction toa main highway about 6 miles away. None of the country roads were plowed & the snow was about 18 inches deep but light. The Corvair had no problem getting thru that – in fact, at one farm on the way a car pulled out in front of me & I had to leave the road to miss him, the Corvair didn’t even know I was not on the road. I ended up driving about 50 miles that morning, but I got to work.
Getting a Corvair stuck
The only time I ever got stuck with this car was when I tried to go thru a deep snow drift that was too heavy – the car rode up on the drift taking the rear wheels off the ground giving the standard appearance ( \--/ ) of a Corvair without any weight on the rear wheels.
I had this car for two years – would have kept it longer but it was totaled in a collision with a 1958 Desoto. (he was on my side of the road coming at me). I went back to the same dealer in Vassar to get a replacement car- I ended up with a 1960 Studebaker Lark 2-door with a V8 & 3-speed on the tree. (that’s another story)