Coughs And Sputters: 1961 Chevrolet Corvair 500


I enjoyed the seller’s honest description of this Corvair! Including the phrases “Ok, it’s been sitting for almost 20 years,” and “drove it NOT FAR AND NOT FAST,” the seller paints a picture of a project car that didn’t need that much to wake it up, but could still stand a little tender loving car to get it roadworthy and get rid of the “coughs and sputters.” It’s a three-speed manual, four-door basic Corvair; no Monza or Turbo here. It is complete with the original Chevy AM radio – no word as to whether or not it works. You can find the car in Wellington, Nevada and it’s up for auction here on eBay with a buy-it-now of $2,500 or best offer. My trivia question for the day: I recognize the wheel covers and they are not Corvair. So, can you tell me what they belong to?


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  1. Kyle

    I’ve seen them on US market Triumph Heralds, spitfires, and a vintage ad showing them on an AMC Gremlin…. Air flow wheel covers, directional/sided no less. Kyle

  2. Pete Koehler

    This car is actually a 1960 Corvair 500 model (base). The wheel covers are from a 1960 Corvair Monza. The difference between these wheel covers and the very similar ones on later model AMC products is the Chevy bow tie emblem in the center of the Corvair parts. AMC centers were smooth.

    Like 1
    • GaryMc

      They are indeed 1960 Monza wheel covers. I still have a set hanging in my garage.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        @ Pete and Gary — You are right, and I was wrong! Thanks for the correction! I was sure these were Triumph Spitfire/Herald covers, but upon close exam of the pictures I can see the emblems in the center. Kudos!

  3. JW454

    I’ve no idea on the wheel trim but this isn’t the run of the mill rust bucket most Corvairs have become. If you were looking to revive one of these air cooled wonders this would be a worthy candidate in my opinion. Certainly with the 4 speed it would be a little more fun while it lasts.

  4. fred

    I see it has the optional gasoline heater, which may have only been available on the ’60 model. That alone is worth something. I Spent many an hour toasting in the parking lot in high school without running the engine. Mine was a junkyard unit retrofitted into a ’62 Monza.

  5. Bobsmyuncle

    These sedans have a spectacular rear roofline that sadly, none of the photos really captures.

    I very nearly purchased this one, last year.

  6. Andrew S Mace Member

    …and as is oh so typical with those wheel covers, they’re on the wrong sides of the car. :) Also seen on some early Plymouth Valiants, various Triumphs (as a dealer-installed option) as noted, and even on circa 1962 Studebakers, again as an option.

    The last use of them I recall was on the early Gremlin; by that time, they had been modified so as NOT to be sided.

    • Pete Koehler

      Andrew is correct. The original design specs for the 1960 Monza full wheel covers called for specific right hand and left hand covers. The intent was to assist in brake cooling, or something like that. In my 47 years of Corvair collecting and ownership I can’t recall ever seeing an actual set of RH and LH wheel covers for the ’60 Monza. Perhaps the Engineering guys found little benefit to the design and reverted back to one stamping to be used on either side. If anybody out there has a set of the first design covers please let us know!!

      Like 1

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