$3,400 Illinois Beauty! 1966 Chevrolet Corvair

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This yellow beauty is a 1966 Chevrolet Corvair and it’s in Park Ridge, Illinois, just northwest of Chicago where I am right now. It’s here on craigslist for $3,400, a heck of a deal!

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This car looks super nice to me. The seller doesn’t give too much info at all, but they say that underneath it’s spotless, and it does look solid from the photos. I wish they would have put the windows down to show that two-door-hardtop shape – beautiful.

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I can’t believe how perfect this car looks. NADA lists this car as having a low retail of $2,250, an average retail of $5,550, and a high retail of $12,400. This car is easily at least average, in my opinion. What do you think?

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Yes, it has an automatic transmission, not the new 4-speed synchromesh, but look at how perfect this interior is! This is a second-generation Corvair, made from 1965-1969 and they pretty much had any bugs, real or not, worked out by then. I prefer the look of the first-generation cars, but this one is gorgeous. David Davis, Jr., of Car & Driver Magazine, thought so, too, in his review from 1964 for the new 1965 models: “And it is here too, that we have to go on record and say that the Corvair is — in our opinion — the most important new car of the entire crop of ’65 models, and the most beautiful car to appear in this country since before World War II.”

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Of course, it’s not a Monza and I’m not sure which engine this is, the standard 95 hp or the optional 110 hp, 164 cubic inch, 2.7L flat-six. It’s not the 180 hp top of the line option, but it looks super clean. The seller says that it’s the original engine and it has always been maintained and it’s a nice running car. That’s the understatement of the year. What do you think of the second-generation Corvairs?

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Comments

  1. DAN

    didn’t hooker headers have a v8 swap for these late 70s early 80s?
    saw one in a mag once and always wanted a rear v8 corvair

    • Dave Wright

      I think the best V8 conversions were the mid engine ones. They would flip over a trans (like a Hewlands, a flipped over VW) and mount the engine in the back seat. I saw one run at Seattle international one time…….was an incredibly fast road race car.

  2. Scot Douglas

    I’d love to have this, but not with the auto. Beautiful car & great price!

  3. Karo

    It’s got the 110 emblem on the rear deck lid. Looks very nice for the price. Great lines on these.

  4. Rick F

    Crown and Kelmark had a conversion kit for the Corvairs. I had a very primitive one (engineering wise) in the early 70’s based on a 66 body with SBC behind your back. It would come out of the hole with either the front wheels off the ground or sideways!
    A major adrenaline rush for a young dude especially when you tried to get around a corner or stop. There are many examples out there of how to do it right though, even one with a V12 Jag power plant up front. Just depends how much money and time one has to put in to it.

  5. Bill Terwilleger

    It is a Monza, I think you meant it’s not a “Corsa”. I grew up with Corvairs, my Dad had dozens in and out of our lives from the mid 70’s through the late 80’s. I still have my ’61 “500” series coupe to this day and drive it when the weather is nice. The price is right for this time of the year. Because all Corvairs are “Unibody” you have to be very careful looking them over. It’s very easy to disguise the problem areas (dog legs, front cross member, trunk bottom, head light pockets, around the windshield and all four shock towers). If you end up looking at this car in person please bring a magnet and don’t be afraid to use it. There is only one thing you can’t fix on a Corvair, and it’s rust. 99% of all the mechanical parts are avaible from long time places like “Clarks”. I will call this person and ask some important questions.

  6. Luke Fitzgerald

    Looks 5 years old – sound buy – do they lose many fan belts?

    • Bill Terwilleger

      Not if you use the right fan belt the first time and install it properly. In the 30+ years I have had mind I have only flipped a belt because it was worn out. I always carry two spares as when the belt flips you have a very short time before you overheat the engine for life.

    • David Montanbeau

      When you power shift and miss a gear.LOL

  7. Rick F

    Luke, I’ve owned dozens of them in the past and my experience is that they will all lose the belt if it’s not adjusted properly AND you get the RPM’s up enough. Someone had a fix for these, it might have been Clarks Corvair in Mass. The other sure fix is to change the cooling fan configure to that like a Yenno Corvair setup
    BTW, if this one has no rust it’s a good deal IMHO.
    110 engine is not going to do much more with a automatic vs stick.

    • Rick F

      Yenko!

  8. Rick F

    Bill, I agree about using the right belt!
    Respectfully, if you push it, as we did, a belt will arc and go. Maybe misstated, IF you have a cheap belt not tensioned right AND push the RPM’s, it’s going to fly! Spent some time at Lime Rock ( and on the street) pushing these babies and under perfect conditions that’s when we needed multiple backup.

  9. Peter R

    I owned a convertible tubo 4 speed when the were new – great car – wish I still had it. This one seems like real value to me at this price even with the 110 – auto

  10. Stacey Williams

    I had two 1966’s both were this color. The black was a 140 and four speed Monza and that baby did out run a Mustang years ago. The second was burnt orange color that was suppose to be Regal red but the yellow and make well orange. It had the 110 then I blow a harmonic balancer apart and we got a 95 slower than dirt. This was an automatic. I still have the 140hp in the garage. Looking for a good van either 95 Panel or Greenbrier for my business. My father had a 1968 blue green one but it got traded in on a new1972 Plymouth Duster. That’s why I got the black one for $150.00 we were going to restore it but my father popped the top of the piston off so in 1990. I got the orange one. Later my brother turned it in to a vair eight and that thing was very quick.

  11. Rabdy W

    I owned a 1966, and the fumes inside the car were devastating. Did they ever fix the motor fume problem coming into the car? Super fun to drive. My best friend had the Spider model, You could lift front tires off the ground with the4 speed. Very fast car.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      The fumes were almost always the result of oil leaking from the pushrod tube seals and getting in the heat shrouds around the exhaust. The cure has been around for decades, o-rings made if Viton. The exhaust donuts could also leak if the system was in poor condition, or damaged. That of course was a different problem, and not at all common by comparison.

      • Bill Terwilleger

        I also had much success with the Teflon O rings for that problem. Replacing the stock heater hoses, a good set of radial tires with proper inflation and a few other easy fixes and the cars are a ton of fun, easy to work on, and a real conversation starter everywhere you go. I drove my 61 to work today. I really wanted to buy this car from “Marko” however we just could not get on the same page. Maybe next time.

  12. Rustytech Member

    Obviously this has not spent it’s life in Chicago! Wish it were closer, I’d like a closer look.

  13. DaveT

    Park Ridge? I thought all you guys were from Utah or Idaho. My brother lives there, I’m out west a little.
    The car does seem under priced. There was a guy selling a Greenbrier truck in Elgin for months earlier this summer, not sure if he got a buyer or not. Was red with solid body, think his ask was $6K which I thought was fair.
    Either way, this is a good find for sure

  14. Stacey Williams

    Thanks Dave just waiting for some money from a former employer.

  15. pperros

    To keep nomenclature straight, 110 is the Monza, 140 is the Corsa. Had a ’66 Monza 4-speed back in the early ’70s. Really lived up to its reputation as the poor man’s Porsche. Won my class with it in the only autoX I ever entered. Sure wish I had it back. If this one were a manual, I’d be sorely tempted.

    • Vince Habel

      140 was available in the Monza and 500.

  16. Another Bob

    My 66′ 500 was a 110 automatic. It wasn’t that bad as an auto if you just want to tool around. I converted it to 140 4 speed. Again, this is pretty easy to do. Install pedal box, install long shift rod, install tranny with clutch. Probably a few steps I am forgetting.
    I don’t think Corvair buyers care about numbers matching in a car worth less than 5 K. They are great machines. Never thrown a fan belt.

  17. KeithK

    Oddball (by today’s standards) affordable and a driver . Checks all the boxes for me. Looking hard at this one.

  18. charlie Member

    Having spent a lot of time in Corvairs, and a ’63 Porsche, n the day, I would have taken the Corvairs any day. A lot easier to keep on the road, as much or more power with the big engine, and more with the Fitch modifications, a lot less wearing on the driver, and, sat 4 in comfort plus some luggage. Why a VW (and the Karman Ghia – another really nice car) was so steady and the Porsche so squirrely, was always a mystery to me.

  19. Alan (Michigan)

    Gone.

    When I dig out my Corsa from long-term storage, I’ll be sure to document it.
    The car was bought by my folks in the fall of ’66, has been in the family ever since.

  20. Rick F

    Alan, that’s a great idea!

  21. Mark R

    Does anyone remember seeing a first year Corvair with the clear engine bay hood? I saw one once when a salesman brought it to our house to show it.
    I had a 1963 Monza Spyder with the 150 hp turbo, 4 speed, metallic brakes. Little hot rod and it would go in the snow when nothing else would move. Sure wish I had it now.

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