Cheap Survivor: 39k Mile 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza

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The first generation of Chevy’s innovative compact, the Corvair, ran from 1960-64. The automobiles would be restyled for 1965-69, but still look like the cars before them. The first group of Corvairs took the most heat on safety from Ralph Nader, and sales would fall off dramatically after 1966. This 1964 Monza sedan looks to be a genuinely nice original with purported low miles, although its not currently running with no speculation as to why not. It’s available in Indianapolis, Indiana and here on craigslist for $4,000.

Over the course of 10 years, Chevy sold more than 1.8 million Corvairs, although nearly 80 percent of them were first generation. While a lot of folks credit Nader with the Corvair’s fall from grace, you also have to blame Chevrolet. Rather than further develop the Corvair, they spent their time and money prepping the Camaro to do battle with the new Ford Mustang. After the cars were made over for 1965, succeeding years of the Corvair changed very little. The air-cooled, rear-engine concept for an American car would not be duplicated. For 1964, Chevy built nearly 23,000 Monza sedans, which would include the seller’s car finished in Azure Aqua (aka turquoise) with a matching interior.

Given that the seller’s car has under 40,000 supposed miles on it, it’s bound to be ripe with history – and yet, we don’t get any. It has the looks of a seldom-used car that spent most of its time in a garage and the quality of its paint, body and interior lend themselves to that theory. The Chevy Turbo-Air Six should be 164 cubic inches of strength with a whopping output of 95 horsepower. This sedan has the 2-speed Powerglide transmission, one of GM’s most venerable means of changing gears. We’re told the car is not running even though the seller has given it a tune-up. He offers no suggestions as to what the problem may be so it will be up to the buyer to solve.

Online price guides for these cars suggest $10,000 to be top dollar for the first generation Corvair. Convertibles and Spyders could double the value. If the problems with this Monza end up being minor, it could be a nice acquisition at the asking price, with no cosmetic work needed that’s worth worrying about. Amid all the SS396’s and the like at Cars & Coffee these days, this Monza could be a nice breath of fresh air. And you could join the Corvair Club of America!

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  1. alphasudMember

    If that EM is as nice under it as it looks from the outside 4K is a really good deal. It’s always better to find the best example rather than a project. Corvair’s used to be a dime a dozen like most average run of the mill. But restoration prices have gone up quite a bit. Best thing about the Corvair is you can get virtually anything you need to put it right and keep it nice. Moore doors as we Corvair fans call them are becoming more collectible and the the 64 is the best of them with the 164c.u. engine and the camber compensator on the rear suspension.

    Like 8
    • angliagt angliagtMember


      Like 1
      • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

        Early Model 1960-1964

        Late Model 1965-1969

        Like 7
  2. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    I’d have this running in half an hour….

    Like 3
    • Fred W

      My ’62 left me standing beside the road multiple times back in the 70’s. It was ALWAYS the fuel pump. I eventually installed an electric.

      Like 5
  3. Joe

    Anytime you see any writeup of a Corvair, you will see the stale Nader comments. Many cars of the early ’60’s had swing axle rear suspensions – even Mercedes. Sometimes mention is made of exoneration by the NTSB, but not always. I’m sure that Ralph Nader still appreciates the free publicity.

    Like 5
  4. Eugene W.

    I owned two 64s. First one a Monza 2door automatic, 2nd one a 500 series 3 speed stick. Seems the stick version had more power. Tire pressure was critical, as well as some ballast in the trunk. Otherwise the rear end may break loose and try to come around on you in hard braking. Took my foot off the brake, and she straightened right out. Very unique cars.

    Like 3
    • dr fine

      No more than 19 psi in the front, and ALWAYS check after having the car serviced. You’ll never take a curve too fast if you just floor the accelerator.

      Like 1
  5. charlieMember

    Fuel problems in my mother’s ended up being a clogged fuel filter at the tank – there were two, one next to the carburetors, like everyone else, and one at the fuel tank. The Chevy dealer fixed it in no time, but the local garage had been stumped and blamed the fuel pump. It ran fine on the level, and downhill, but would die going uphill for any distance. For the time, it was a wonderful car to drive, like my uncle’s Porsche, but far more tractable, and far less expensive and 5 humans really could fit inside.

    Like 2
  6. Sam61

    I live North of Indy in Hamilton County…may check it out. My parents first new car was the subject except in yellow with black vinyl interior. I remember the fold down back seat which was great for us kids at the drive in. Sitting on that black vinyl in summer was worse than taking a spanking for punishment.

    Like 3
  7. Rick Young

    I have owned two different Corvairs in the past. My first was a 1961 Corvair 95 Rampside pickup truck. I replaced the anemic 65hp engine with a 110 hp engine from a later Corvair Monza. My later aquisition was a 1965 Monza convertible. Both were amazing vehicles. I should have kept the pickup. They are quite rare now.

    Like 1

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