1964 Corvair Monza Spyder: Factory Turbo

1964 Chevy Corvair Monza Spyder

Rarely do classic cars and turbocharges go well together, but in the few rare cases where they were offered as a factory option they mean one thing: more power! This Corvair Spyder is one of only 6,500 cars to leave the factory with a turbo installed. It made the rather sedate Corvair a different animal, it’s just too bad Chevy didn’t build more of these. With a little work and some tweaks, this could easily give a Porsche 911 a serious run for its money! Find it here on craigslist in Chanhassen, Minnesota for $6k. So would you save yourself some serious money and by this rear mount air cooled Chevy or spend big bucks for a Porsche?

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Comments

  1. Charles

    Nice find!

  2. Dennis Member

    In the mid 70’s a couple cousins had corvair fever, they had a turbo monza, a spyder, a 4 dr. sedan, a pickup, and a van in their collection. Most didn’t run initally, so we spent many evenings working on each, good times. Guess it would be a rare collection today.

  3. Charles

    When I was 15 years-old working after school at a local garage, one of the mechanics there owned a 66 or 67 Spyder. I remember it as a spirited little car, and don’t remember ever seeing another one like it. The tag on the car stated that it had 180 HP. This one should make a nice find for the right person.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      The 180 Turbo version was made for ’65 and ’66 only. The Spyder nameplate was not used on the 2nd body style of the Corvair, however. In order to get the Turbo those years, you had to get the top trim level, called the “Corsa”.

    • Vince Habel

      64 was the last year for the Spyder. 65-66 turbos were called Corsa.

  4. JW454

    In 1972 or so, a neighbor bought a Spider. I don’t recall the year but I do remember the “Spider” emblems on the sides. When he brought it home, it wouldn’t start due to a dead battery. I asked if he had tried to “push start” it. He had never heard of this method of starting a car. We pushed it about a hundred feet and it took off like a shot. He drove around the block a dozen times and when he returned he needed surgery to remove the smile from his face. It was a screamer – Fun times.

  5. Alan (Michigan)

    This looks like a decent car, but I’d want to get a close look. Rhe rear camber appears to be a real problem?
    Not totally uncommon for someone to swap in a pair of Rochester carbs for a turbocharger, if trouble running right came along. Less often the turbo itself, more often the Carter side-draft carb.

  6. Rick

    I had a paper route in 1970 and I remember one of my customers had two 1st gen Corvair Turbo Spyders sitting in his carport, neither one had run in awhile, think the engine in one was disassembled. Don’t ever remember seeing any of these in running condition back then.

  7. Dolphin Member

    It looks pretty good, at least from the look of the topside and the inside metal shown in the photos. It should be worth $6K to someone, so if it doesn’t sell on CL it should go on a wider platform like Ebay.

    I admired GM for doing the Corvair, even if it was mostly to compete with the strange little cars from Europe. The General had his troubles with it, but it was such a departure that you had to admire GM for it. Then when they turbocharged the Corvair it got a lot of good notice, and not just in the enthusiast press.

    I had an MGA back in the day and competed against a friend and his Turbo Spyder in a time trial. It was 72 MG horses against nearly twice as many Turbo Corvair horses. I beat him on time, but the MG was easy to keep on the cam while the Turbo Corvair tended to get bogged down with not much torque unless you kept the revs high and shifted a lot. I think it came down to me being willing, but my friend, not. A photo of that red MG with me in it taken on that day is my BF avatar.

    The only quibbles I can think of now are the swing axles and the name. A ‘spyder’ is an open car, not a coupe. But I think it’s a pretty good looking coupe.

    • Dave Wright

      We had a street dune buggy with a 180 HP Corvair that we used mostly for autocross…….we solved the lag problem with nitrous Oxide………….installed it so it was tough to see by the tech guys but the first time we came around a tight corner and hit the button……the gig was up. Felt like an instant double horsepower.

  8. Michael Phipps

    Another great find along the lines of the ’61 Monza Spyder I had seen a year and a half ago about 4 miles from my house that would have been mine had the first of my 2 big checks from a settlement come about 10 days earlier. Would have had fun with that $3,500 find, trust me, especially showing it every summer Thursday night at a certain Ontario, OH Pizza Hut.

    • Vince Habel

      62 was the first year for the Spyder.

  9. Charles

    Alan, you are right. The car was a Corsa. Trying to remember details from 44 years ago is not always easy.

    As for the swing arm thing, a simple retrofit of a sway bar will limit travel and prevent the swing arms from doing anything dangerous.

  10. Grr

    “Let’s turbocharge a car with swing-axle rear suspension. What could possibly go wrong?”

  11. Jeff Lavery Staff

    I have seen an increasing number of these popping up at local autocrosses over the years. Would love to own a hardtop with the turbo motor and a stick!

  12. charlie Member

    I drove a Fitch conversion 2nd gen Corvair with turbo for an afternoon in ’68 and it was a much more satisfactory drive than the ’54 Corvette I sold the guy, and the ’63 Porsche my uncle owned and let me borrow from time to time. (trusting fool that he was). It was faster than the 6 cylinder Vette, cornered 100% better than the Vette, and was far more tractable than the Porsche which was as “squirrelly” (and therefore scary) a car as I have ever driven.

  13. Tom Christensen

    Hey thats my car. The car is stil for sale you can call me at 612 978 9853. The car is in great shape. I have the turbo for it. Its just in the box. Turbo fan is free and smooth spinning. I have better pictures too. My mac crashed so i have to transfer pics. I will try to post more pictures.
    Thanks
    Tom

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