Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1964 Chevrolet Corvair Spyder Convertible
The Corvair was highly unusual for a domestic car, with its air-cooled, rear-mounted engine featuring the compact horizontally opposed piston layout of Porsche and VW Beetle engines. It also had an all-independent suspension and unitized construction. Some called the Corvair the "poor man's Porsche". A bit of trivia to leave you with, the Corvair name is derived from a combination of Corvette and Bel Air!
For consignment, this Corvair Monza Spyder convertible which originally cost $2,636, with the additional $317 Spyder option package. This Monza has the 150-horsepower "turbo" engine, chrome dress-up under-hood items, shorter final drive for faster acceleration, heavy duty suspension and a race-style multi-gauge instrument panel with a tachometer and brushed-metal trim. The four-speed manual and more-effective sintered-metallic brake linings were "mandatory" options.
During the 1991 restoration, a respray of the factory-applied Palomar Red has covered this drop top and presents in good condition. A few scratches and scuffs are present throughout the all steel body, but mostly unremarkable. The respray shows some inclusions of dirt, however they are minimal. Chrome and brite-work, with good badging are all there, and correct, with gaps that are straight and true. Badging is all correct, and except for a few dings in the passenger's rocker trim all brightwork is straight and true. The headlights and lower bumper are all good, as is the Corvair badge in front. A black convertible top is in very nice condition and has a clear plastic rear window. Tail lighting utilizes chrome rings to highlight the red and white rounded taillight and backup lighting. A clean rear bumper is below and under this are 2 nicely preserved rear roll pan vents and a chromed exhaust tip. When the top is down a black tonneau covering compliments the black interior. Bowtie badged faux spinners grace the wire wheel coverings and are wrapped in thin white wall tires.
A swing of the driver's door reveals a clean utilitarian no frills interior even though we are in the top of the line Corvair offered up for the time. Door panels are solid black vinyl with various panels in smooth and horizontal stitched ribbed centers, a black armrest, and shiny actuator and window crank. Some horizontal trimmings break up the different black vinyl panels, and a Corvair badge is in the very center of this door. 2 large black vinyl buckets in good condition stretch across the front, and a large bench is shoehorned into the rear of the car. The buckets have some tuck and roll inserts and smooth bolsters, as does the rear bench. The floor shifter sits within ergonomic reach of the driver, and in front is an original padded dash, but mostly original condition. It shows in a padded black dual eyebrow dash top with the brushed stainless instrument panel with tachometer and round gauges for this Monza Turbo edition. On the passenger side is a stainless glove box door under the second black padded vinyl eyebrow. The factory AM radio resides in the center of the dash and just below is an aftermarket AM/FM/Cassette stereo. Deep pile lightly faded black carpeting is underneath black carpeted mats in the front and in the rear. What a fantastic interior!
These pre-pony pocket performers may not pack the grunt of an LS6 big-block, but they do offer a tantalizing power-to-weight ratio for a much more affordable entry fee. That being a 164ci horizontally opposed turbocharged 6-cylinder engine, with a piston stroke increased to 2.94 inches putting out 150hp. The Turbo boosted HP from the standard 120 to 150! A 4-speed manual transmission is attached to the engine. The differential was integral, technically a transaxle, due to its rear engine rear wheel drive configuration and was set at 3.55:1 for better performance.
Underneath we see some light surface rust and lots of patina black surfaces with covering of mostly road dirt. 4-wheel drum brakes in sintered metal, independent coil spring suspension on front, and swing arm with coil springs for the rear suspension are noted.
I love these cars as they were totally out of the norm for the early 60's. On our test track it ran like a champ, handled like it was on rails, and for the stopping we noted a distinct pull to the left. The top went up and down with plenty of power and did so very quickly. It was a great experience and made me feel like it was 1964 all over again.
Overall, a very good example of the Monza Spyder turbocharged 4-speed showing an older restoration holding up well. Garage kept by our consignor, never in bad weather and let's face it...darn, it sure looks good, and it is the Monza and the Spyder version, so we have a sporty economical air-cooled turbo charged rear engine convertible. Wake up!
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