EXCLUSIVE: 1963 Corvair Monza Spyder

If you are in the market for a Corvair, the Monza Spyder is the model to get. “Monza” means it has the top trim package and “Spyder” tells you there’s a turbo-charged flat-six in the trunk! This car had to be a little hard to swallow for some buyers because it was an American car that was very much European. Phrases like air-cooled, rear engine, and turbo charger are normally reserved for machines from Germany, but Chevrolet broke the mold when they built the Corvair. They are truly unique today and I’m honestly surprised they arent more valued by collectors. This particular example needs some love, but it’s still with the original owner and they claim there is no rust and that most the stainless is perfect. It’s located in Florence, Oregon and Patrick would like to get $3,000. Please use the form below to contact him if interested.

At least Patrick is realistic with this assessment of the car. He says that the interior is trashed from sitting outside for 50 years. It’s obviously going to need to be restored, but if it’s really rust-free or close to it, the battle is half over. I would much rather install a dash pad or hog ring some seats covers on then repair rotted rocker panels. This thing could actually be quite fun to drive after getting it all spruced up. There’s a 4-speed shifter poking up over there on the right and I actually prefer the coupe’s roof for spirited driving.

Can you spot the turbo? The Corvair is supposedly the second turbo-charged production car ever built. Apparently, Oldsmobile beat them by a week or two. There were some turbo toting specials built before that, but nothing on this scale. Patrick claims that this engine runs well, but that it hasn’t been driven in 40 years so it needs brakes. It does have new tires though so it shouldn’t be hard to roll onto a trailer. This car is a little rough around the edges, but I can think of worse places to start in this price range.

Personally, I’d stick with the Euro vibe and build mine into a rally inspired racer. That may sound strange considering all the flak Chevy took for that swing axle, but there were actually quite a few raced here and abroad. Heck, even the supercar-building Don Yenko worked his magic on the Corvair and turned it into an SCCA curve carver. You can read more about the mighty Yenko Stinger here on Hemmings. The car featured in the ad above was one of a team of Corvairs entered in a grueling winter rally that took place in Canada. I’m guessing the heater worked a little better than that found in the Beetle?

Thanks for listing this with us Patrick! If any of you have a classic that you are thinking about selling, please consider featuring it here on the site as an Exclusive. There’s no risk and as long as your car is priced right, it should find a buyer quickly.

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Comments

  1. RH FACTOR

    Runs well? Engine compartment doesn’t look like its had any kind of internal combustion in decades! Maybe he did some work on it after the photos?

  2. - Jack Berryhill -

    Studebaker had a turbo-charged Hawk in 1957-58. I’m not sure your comment about Buick and Chevy being the first production cars with turbo is accurate. Could you clarify that for me? Cool car, by the way. I’d be tempted if closer to NC!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Jack, I’m pretty sure that the Studebakers were supercharged (mechanically boosted) versus turbocharged (turbine powered by exhaust gases).

    • M/K

      Paxton super charged(centrifugal) Jack, not even diesels were running production turbo then.

  3. noparkin Member

    Jesse check out how many scouts this dude has!

    https://sd.craigslist.org/cto/6015421927.html

  4. 68 custom

    John Fitch also did some work on the Corvair chassis to help it around the bends as well. this will be a beautiful car once finished! love the dash with all the extra gauges which I believe either contain a boast control or a turbo temp sensor? price seems good BTW. :)

    • JW454

      68,

      “Boast Control”??? I’ve never seen that on any car but, I know a few people in this area that could use one for sure. LOL

      I know that you really meant boost control… Just thought I would make a funny out of it. No offence intended.

    • scottymac

      Besides the additional tachometer, there was a cylinder head temperature gauge, and a vacuum (boost) gauge.

  5. mike d

    the thing I remember about Corvairs is the blackened back end from the oil burning while it is a nice looking vehicle, wouldn’t see it doing much more than a parade car

    • scottymac

      Corvairs BURNED oil when they were overheated and cooked the rings, PAY ATTENTION TO THE FAN BELT! Backs of Corvairs were oil blackened because the manufacturer cheaped out on the quality of rubber O rings on the push rod tubes, and the oil LEAKED out.

      As far as parade cars, Jay Leno might disagree; at last count, he had three.
      http://www.nbc.com/jay-lenos-garage/photos/1961-corvair-rampside/327951
      http://www.nbc.com/jay-lenos-garage/photos/corvair-corsa/316071
      http://www.nbc.com/jay-lenos-garage/video/1966-chevrolet-corvair-yenko-stinger/n46021

      • Urquiola

        Thanks for the good info!.
        I read that quality of construction wasn’t good, and that for a Corvair engine, you need new valve seats, new valves, and a review of heads.

        Are you aware of a link to data charts regarding the air flow from Corvair fan vs rpm?
        A 90º bend in a belt doesn’t look as the best way, but an electrical fan would be perhaps even more risky, it there’s one suitable for the task.

      • scottymac

        Hundreds, perhaps thousands of heat cycles over 50+ years may loosen the iron alloy valve seats in Corvair’s aluminum heads, a problem more prevalent in the high performance engines (4 one barrel carb 140hp engine, and the 150hp and 180hp turbo engines). New valves may not be needed, each engine would need to be checked after teardown. Many competent mechanics still exist, join the CORSA club and follow their recommendations.

        If pulleys and guards are correctly aligned, fan belts shouldn’t be a problem. A ribbed belt is recommended. Owners have used electrical fans with varying degrees of success, but in most cases, electrical draw for the fan motors is prohibitive. Others have modified the Porsche 911 style vertical fan, but costs prevent many from pursuing this option.

  6. Lefty Backstrap

    doesn’t SPYDER usually mean it’s a convertible? At least with European cars it does.

    • Jesse Staff

      Apparently not when we are talking about Corvairs.

      • Ck

        Chevy must have liked the Spider Tag because the also had a Monza (not a corvair)that was called a Spider.

  7. tje

    This is the Corvair to have. My folks had one and I had one and drove it across the country when I was 17.

  8. bill

    wow another corvair.. I am so underwhelmed.

    • scottymac

      They’re a fun collector car for poor people like me. I do tend to favor the second generation, though.

  9. Tom Driscoll

    Gotta love that instrument cluster…

  10. Alex W

    In high school, in the 60’s, I had a friend whose folks had a standard Corvair with an automatic. A very unimpressive car to me. About 6 months later a guy I worked with bought a Monza spyder and it was a blast to tear around town

  11. Larry B.

    The second generation car Yenko turned into the Stinger did not have swing axles.

    • Jesse Staff

      Thanks for pointing that out Larry.

  12. Dan Almashy

    well I have had 2 of them way back when I was a lot younger. a 62 and a 64, didn’t really have many issues with mine but I know people who did. They were bad about over heating if you didn’t keep the under side clean and free of debris, it had to have air to cool it, the Spyder was pretty peppy for a 6 cylinder. The back end would come around pretty easy if you whipped the wheel too quickly as I did once to avoid a pot hole….went around before I could stop it…lol… I worked in a factory in Newton Falls, Ohio that made the chrome exhaust tips for these cars, they still had 2 pallet boxes of them when I left there in 1973. probably had about 1200 of them wrapped in tissue paper. they had been made there, sent out to get chromed and then brought back. they were then sent to the assembly plant for installation on the lines. These were some that had been sent back and kept all those years. I told a Corvair parts guy about them in Carlisle back around 1985 or so and he took my info and man to contact and went there and bought them all. I have seen one show up here and there at flea markets when I go. I figure he holds a few back so it looks like they are scarce..LOL well that’s my story, just a little FYI for your scrap books.
    There is a guy here in Danville, Va that built a street rod back in the 80’s and has a Corvair engine in the back, I haven’t seen it in a few years but saw it a lot when it was first done. He was a Corvair guy 100%. Lots of folks took theirs to him for work.

  13. David Wilk Member

    My first car! Bought used in 1968 for $550 hard earned summer job dollars. Plenty fast enough for my 17 year old lead foot. It was pure fun. I did get it up to 100 mph briefly on Cape Cod one Sunday morning. Loved that car. But I blew up the engine in less than a year (should have changed the oil more often for sure) and didn’t have enough money to rebuild it. Took me another summer to save up for a replacement set of wheels, which was my first motorcycle. Nice to see this here, lots of memories.

  14. Wayne S.K.

    Not a Chevrolet person at all, but I always wanted a Corvair. Never got one. Alas, it’s too late now. (sigh)

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Never too late to own one. Maybe no time to take on a project like this one, but there are plenty of cars which are ready to get in and go. Ya can’t take the $ with you.

  15. Urquiola

    Hi!: regarding the effects of engine placed behind rear axle in Corvair stability in curve, videos in YouTube show it’s more connected to inadequate tire pressures than to other elements.
    I always wondered if it’s possible reverting the flat-six positioning, to have it in front of rear wheels, advanced respect to it.
    R Nader wasn’t 99% right.

    You know that many reverse turning camshafts are offered even today for the Corvair engine, prices are affordable, this making possible a change of engine position, thus of weight distribution to front and rear wheels, with supposedly better handling and safety.
    Comments? Regards, + Salut

  16. Tom Driscoll

    I know the VW – corvair motor conversions used reverse rotation…must have been to use the vw transaxle? I always wondered how he corvair – toronado fwd conversions handled?

    • urquiola

      Hi!: thanks for your interest. The concept I’d like is using the existing Chevy Corvair gearbox and transmission, but with the engine rotated 180° for being before the transmission. This may require some changes in the car’s frame, at least the points where engine anchors to chassis, and reviewing the cooling air entrance path, a centrally located engine is considered the top in handling; with a protection or ‘firewall’ hard enough, even in case of a crash towards front, engine won’t enter the passenger’s and driver’s room.

      If you have time, money, expertise, and the courage to implement this, please take some images of process and tell about results.
      Good luck, + Salut

      • scottymac

        When most people go to the effort of swapping the engine position, they prefer to go to a more powerful engine than the Corvair, ie V6 or V8 water pumper. The Corvair drivetrain can be swapped end for end, but the ring and pinion may cause problems because they’re running opposite their intended use. Lubrication in the differential can be a problem, also. Google Kelmark or Deserter GS, for examples of this orientation.

        The Corvairs modified to use the Toronado drivetrains that I’ve seen place it in the back seat area for a mid-engine configuration.

    • Urquiola

      I guess it won’t be impossible finding somebody machining for you a reverse rotation crown and pinion for having a Corvair flat-six air-cooeld engine mounted ahead of transmission, if it are not already offered for sale, as reverse rotation camshafts are

  17. urquiola

    Never heard about Corvair-Toronado fwd versions, I’ll look for it, thanks

  18. Skip

    I always liked the Corvairs despite the bad press they got back in the day. When I was at Texas Tech I bought a ’64 Monza Spyder for $125. Nice little car but it kept throwing the generator belt. My best friend at the time’s sister had gotten a job but was recently divorced and didn’t have transportation, so I let her have the car. She was able to get it looked at and got the belt-throwing problem solved. A friend of mine’s dad collected Corvairs. When he died suddenly the son sold off all the Corvairs very quickly. That was in the early ’80s and I don’t think he realized that they’d been worth more if he’d held onto them for a while.

  19. half cab

    I wish I had one

  20. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    If I lived within driving distance I would go after this. TN is a long way from OR.

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