$2,100 Icon: 1960 Chevrolet Corvair

A fellow member of a Corvair owners’ group on Facebook recently posed the question: Which version, if say, a statue was made, would best represent all Corvairs? This is my nomination right here: a 1960 Corvair sedan. Not the prettiest, or the fastest or most luxurious or most sophisticated version, but the one that made the biggest splash when the world first saw it in October, 1959. $2,100 doesn’t seem like much to pay for such a significant piece of automotive history, but that’s the ask for this sedan, listed on craigslist in St. Petersburg, Florida. Thanks to Rocco B. for alerting us to this great deal!

Of course at this price, there’s a fair bit of work needed on this Corvair, but not here; the flat six shows just 34,000 miles and has seen a fair bit of recent refurbishment, including rebuilt carbs, and is said to run well. The 80-horse six is mated to a three-speed transaxle; unfortunately, brake work is needed before this ‘Vair can hit the road.

The interior pictures are poor, so the best view is of the back seat. From what we can see of the interior and exterior decor, this looks to be the basic 500 model; I’m not sure if this jazzy vinyl-and-cloth upholstery is original, as it seems to pretty starkly contrast the plain door panels. The back seat folds down, by the way, creating a generous additional luggage space.

Outside, some quality time with a buffer might do this car a world of good. The ad says that there is very little rust on this car; while it tells us all the places that it isn’t (doors, door jambs, trunk, engine compartment, roof pillars), it doesn’t say where it is, so ferreting that out will be an important order of business. Still, the Corvair is a very well-supported classic, with great clubs and owners networks, and some very dedicated suppliers offering pretty much any part you might need at very reasonable prices. With a few inexpensive repairs on top of its low purchase price, this little icon could easily be ready to roll again soon!

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. RayT Member

    While I might try to chisel the seller down a few dollars, this looks like a good deal to me. Even if you need to spring for a repaint, new wheel/master-cylinder kits and repro upholstery, You’ll still end up with a nice little car for not much dough.

    I don’t know or care about resale value, but I do like Corvairs, and think I’d get my investment back in driving pleasure.

    • Jeffro

      I love that you get your investment back in driving pleasure. That’s the core of this hobby.

  2. John

    Had one like this in 1973. Bought it for $20 – mechanics lien. Mine was a 700 4 dr. This is a 500 – no chrome spear down the side. It had a gasoline fired heater located in the trunk – front of the car.

    The 500 was a real stripper with rubber floor mats, etc. Heads would get hot with the middle cylinderss usually burning valves. We lost a spring while “rebuilding” er cleaning, the lifters. Used a ball point pen spring replacement. Car was later, of course – rolled and that totaled it out.

  3. Chebby

    Price dropped to $1,875, if it’s real this is a great deal.

  4. sparkster

    Had a van in college , fun around curves until . . . . . . you pass the limit. I would run it to red line at times and throw the belt. Wish they had electric fans back in the 70’s.

  5. NSGray

    My first car was a 1962 Monza 4-door with a 4-speed. Paid less than $500 for it in 1969 (when I was 16 years old). It wasn’t in running condition. My dad and I had to rebuild the engine and I took care of the interior (carpet, all-important stereo, etc.) and drove it for several years. Great memories.

  6. tje

    Wow, I had one just like this – bought it for $140 in 1971. Had to replace the vacuum modulator valve and the distributer ($12 at the time). Drove it from Lompoc, California to Ocala, Florida where a main bearing gave up – sold it for $15. The buyer made it about 2 miles down the road (441). I can remember that car sitting there with it’s (black) California plates when I drove back and forth to high school. (I’d ‘upgraded’ to a Ford Fairlane 500 Sport Coupe with a 289).

    Mine never looked as good as this one, well, maybe a few years before I got it.

  7. Ed Bittman

    Car about 40 miles from me. Talked to the owner a week ago and he was very vague in his answers. It’s a base “500” sedan in Cascade Green. Non original interior (mostly). I’d be concerned about the floor pans,the factory rubber mat “sweats” and causes rust in the pans. Notice battery is missing. He asked me what battery works, a Wal-Mart 51R is the only one that will. ’60 Corvairs are very unique and a lot of parts are specific to a ’60. Not a bad price for what could be a fun car.

    • RS

      WHY on Earth did the carmakers ever put rubber mats in vehicles? I had a Ford Ranger with those mats… the body of the truck was solid from one end to the other, but cracks in the rubber mats let water get beneath them. To my surprise the floor was rusting out like crazy. Stupid, stupid, stupid idea.

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