Short Sale: 1960 Chevrolet Corvair 700

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Thanks to Barn Finds fan, Jay P., for tracking down this great looking custom! This is a 1960 Chevrolet Corvair 700, no really, it is! It’s in Long Beach, California and is on Craigslist with an asking price of $3,000. This car has quite a history, being custom made by a former GM chassis engineer, and I mean custom made! Our own Jamie wrote about two handfuls of Corvairs being offered up for sale by a Detroit collector back in February, and it included this very car and some museum-quality Corvairs.

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Ok, now you know its nickname. This car started out as a four-door 700 sedan and it was basically cut in half, had 18″ removed from the center, and JB Welded back together again. No, it was welded, and not just by a shadetree mechanic, but by a former GM chassis engineer. He thought that GM should have made a shortened two-door Corvair like this, and if GM could have seen this car in 1960 they very well may have. You may have noticed that there’s an extra tail light on each side, that’s custom, too. If they would have had such a thing as reality tv in the mid-1980s when this car was built, it could have made the fabricator a star.

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What a gorgeous piece of work this was, and still is! The fabricator didn’t just use standard doors, the seller says that they “made custom longer doors utilizing sets of doors from FOUR different four door sedans. He then had custom glass cut for these custom doors.” Amazing! I can’t imagine doing that kind of custom work, but I sure applaud the folks who can master it. I’m a purist 99% of the time, but I really like this car. This rear 3/4 shot is gorgeous, in my opinion. It has the traits of a Corvair but it also looks European to me. They also “upgraded the suspension to the 1964 one year only version which was the best improved design for the 1960-64 cars with the transverse leaf spring on the rear and a sway bar up front. He also used stronger 5 lug axles from the van/truck Corvairs.”

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Yes, that’s custom AC and this car also has cruise control. I’m not a fan of the steering wheel or the velour seat fabric, but those things could always be changed. The builder “removed the 3 speed manual transmission and swapped in a 4 speed Saginaw manual with short shifter from a 1966 car,” Cool. This is a running car, but it has a big caveat, much bigger than such a short car should have.

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GAAA! That’s not a deep dish Chicago-style pizza, it’s the undercarriage, or what’s left of it. What a shame. This car started out SO well, too. Being in Michigan for years, this “car has suffered some major rust on the rocker panels, floor and the rear doglegs behind the doors from being driven in Michigan winters with salt on the road. It will need to be cut out and patched with good dry sheet metal.” Ouch, this will be a massive project to fix that rust in such a way that the car could be used again. But, according to the seller, it can be done. And, look what the original owner/fabricator did in the first place, so it definitely could be fixed. But, wow, this would be so far above my head that it’s scary. But, I have no doubt that a good number of Barn Finds readers have done rust repair maybe to even rival this amount of work. What do you think of Stubby? Cute l’il bugger, isn’t it? Can this great little car be saved or is the amount of rust just too much to make it worth the effort?

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Comments

  1. Cattoo Cattoo Member

    That’s a cool looking Corvair. Too bad it wasn’t put into mass production.

  2. Malowe

    Not that crazy about the “stubby” look but love the 6 taillights!

  3. Joe

    Difficult to get a fixed quotation from a welder on something like this. As one welder said to me “What will it cost? Can’t say. I’ll keep working until you tell me to stop”. On this one I would guess undercarriage repairs will be equal to or greater than the price of the car. Even then, the undercarriage is not likely to be pretty. I would rather have a clean, pretty undercarriage than a custom exterior.

  4. JW

    Why would someone drive a custom made car in Michigan salty winters ??? Too Sad !!!

    Like 1
  5. grant

    Love the 3rd tail light. The rest, not so much. With the underside in the condition it is, everything will have to be custom. I see this on the scrap heap. Shame what someone did to that poor Corvair.

    • Metoo

      I agree. Whoever had this car and drive it on salted roads HAD to know what a unique, one of a kind piece of work it is. Just plain stupidity.

  6. Jim Mc

    Totally disagree about the scrap heap. It’s too unique, and it’s being sold at the right time to save it. Now the right price? Different question. There’s some serious custom bodywork and floorpan work to be done. Good thing is that it’s claimed the doors are solid. But you’d need to find at least another one if not two donors to complete the work on this one. Needs to be bought inexpensively and then stored properly until you find the right donors to cut up to make this one right. I think it’s worth it due to its one of a kind nature. But it’d be a lot legwork, a lot of welding, and some deep $$ pockets of love.
    And then never take it to the midwest again.
    I think it’s cool as heck.

    • Metoo

      Yep. It will have to be a labor of love because when all done and the bills added up one would be hard pressed to make their money back selling it.

  7. Harvey

    that modification should never have seen the light of day. Just made an ugly car look even uglier. Fugly.
    And I am a Corvair fan. oh wait, 65 to 69.

  8. Mark S Member

    An excellent job on the original build, the proportions look right on this custom. The first thing that has to be done to save this is to strip it down and media blast it to see what your up against for rust. It would be great to see this car brought back to its former glory. The fact that a GM engineer did the original fabrication makes me think that this is worth restoring.

  9. Bob S

    Just bought the whole roof and dash off a 1966 Corvair from Desert Valley auto in Arizona. They have tons of Corvairs and are happy to cut them up. In my case a car that was better than mine went under the knife for $350. Save this Corvair.

  10. Steve

    Name should be changed from Stubby to Rusty. Wouldn’t touch it with that much rust work to perform. You’re looking at a small fortune to repair. True, it’s unique but the proportions look off to me. Agreed that the sextuplet taillights are the best thing about the car.

  11. Randy W

    The owner of this corvair says they didn’t have 4 speed tranny’s in 1960, however when I was in high school, my best friend had bought a corvair spyder with a 4 speed floor stick shift from the dealer as standard equipment. Not saying I’m smarter than a GM engineer but if you search I think you’ll find I’m right.

  12. Bobsmyuncle

    I bet it would be easier to start with a clean sedan and chop it. Using the doors from this.

  13. Dougm

    Neat Corvair, cool history but an “onion” project to repair and it won’t taste like a vidalia!

  14. Drew

    I like it. For $2000 It would make a good “display only” car as part of someone’s classic car collection as a one-of Chev. I know people buy average looking paintings worth more but as far as repairing it goes, i just don’t think it’s feasible at the moment.

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