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Field Find: 1960s Chevrolet Corvair Collection

Collectors often migrate to one brand or nameplate in their accumulation of the vehicles that they love. In this case, someone had a thing for the Chevy Corvair and may have assembled one from each of its ten model years. 17 sedans, coupes, convertibles, and vans – along with acres of parts – have been corralled in a field near the San Marcos Pass in California. They’re available here on craigslist for as little as $50 (and no more than $950) because they all seem to be past their prime. Thanks for this air-cooled tip, T.J.!

When it came to launching a compact in 1960, Chevrolet went the road less traveled. The Corvair would have its engine mounted in the back (just like the VW Beetle) and it would be air-cooled (also just like the Beetle). Despite Ralph Nader and his digs at the handling characteristics of the Corvair under extreme conditions, Chevy would sell 1.8 million of them over 10 years and two production generations.

The Corvair would be an improved handling car when the second generation debuted in 1965, but because of Nader and the new Camaro that drew away from sales after 1967, only 20% of production was between 1965 and when the car was quietly retired in 1969. It’s hard to tell if every model year is represented in the seller’s collection, but that’s certainly possible and the car count may favor the second-gen models.

Likely every body style or series of the Corvair is available and if there are any Spyders in the bunch, those would be the most desirable. 500s, 700s, and Monza’s are the most common and out of the 17 shown here, coupes may get the nod in terms of population. It’s unlikely that anything here is close to being in running condition and many are pretty rough. So, if you assume everything is a parts car and one or two turn out better than that, you’re ahead of the game. Besides cars, a ton of parts are available including engines and NOS, in a collection that we’re told began amassing 40 years ago. But you’d better hurry. The assortment will not be available after June 2022. For more photos, check out this link provided by the seller.

Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    This appeared on the Corvair center website a couple days ago. Hopefully there are enough Corvair owners in the area to absorb the collection. I acquired a small collection of parts last year from a passing. Most of what I collected was scrapped but I have been offering parts to club members for free whenever I’m doing repairs. What I see here in the collection are a number of good restoration candidates that people on the east coast would be clamoring over. Too bad transport costs are through the roof!

    Like 8
  2. Cadmanls Member

    Looks as though there are quite a few decent builders in the group. Had a more than a few Corvairs through the years. From a four window van, put a 110 Monza motor in it to a few Monzas.The last being a 66 Monza that with upgrades turbo, 140 heads machine work required, aluminum oil pan and valve covers. Quick steering arms and shifter mod that shortened the throw. Added 14 inch Chevy rallies with fat tires in the rear and the icing one the cake was an Otties I think was the company big fat front fiberglass spoiler Was a fun quick car. Between the bad PR and the pony cars there was no place for this great little car.

    Like 10
  3. Steve Clinton

    What a shame they’ve all deteriorated outdoors, ravaged by the elements.

  4. AMCFAN

    In the many years of messing with old cars in general in the last X amount of years groups of Corvair project cars was pretty common. In my estimation the enthusiasts or opportunists took advantage of giveaway prices after being discontinued and thought they were going to retire off the proceeds.

    In the 70’s and 80’s we were an antique collecting community and everyone was on the bandwagon to obtain the latest or future rage. Companies made millions on limited edition collector plates….. the ones limited to the number they could make and sell. Would make it easy for you to get that Hummel plate on three low payments.The very ones you can often buy now @ 3 for $5 at flea markets and junk stores, still in the original box with the collector cards.

    This is the type of person that would hoard these cars. In my area alone within a hundred miles have found four such collections of air cooled GM wonders. All too rough to save. One being a 69 never titled owned by a Chevy dealer with 4000 miles. Ended up being scrapped when prices were at an all time high.

  5. Rod Clarke

    Oh to be able to put one of those 65/66 Monza in a container to NZ as a parts car. Probably a lot cheaper than the hood and spare wheel I just got.

    Like 1
  6. Gary

    My first vehicle was a 49 Chevy Deluxe Cab P/U. When I was twelve years old. Found a 92 year old man that started working on Ford’s and then went with Chevys in 1919 and didn’t stop up to that point. He had a HUGE barn full of NOS parts for sale and I bought a ton with my dad and grandpa’s help. He had a flat fender Jeep with a 270 hp 283 (two four barrel carbs) that was his daily driver in good weather, a bunch of sedan deliveries and about forty Corvairs. Turbos, four carbs, he had them all. Most ran and drove, about eight he said we’re parts cars but they didn’t look like they were, they were clean cars.

    Like 1
  7. Bakes

    My Dad loved these things. He bought two non running examples for 10 bucks and 25 bucks back in the 60s. Still remember waking up to one of them on jack stands, a big tarp under the rear end, the motor half disassembled, then going over to United Auto to get a head gasket and some other necessary repair stuff and he had it back together and running that afternoon. They were fun little cars, and this collection should hopefully get or keep a few more of them on the road.

    Like 2

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