James K’s 1966 Corvair Monza Convertible

Update 2/1/17 – James really wants to see his Corvair go to a good home, and soon, so he’s listed it here on eBay! Be sure to take a look.

From 1/27/17 – I have reached the hard and long-pondered decision to let go of my 1966 Corvair Convertible. After many hours of heavy sighing and earnest contemplation, I reached the decision to let it go. Like I say below, the car will make a great project for the next owner. The engine is fantastic, the transmission is smooth and quiet, and the body is good enough for a driver or can be learned on. If anyone is interested in trading, I would be interested in any British sports car (MGB, Midget, Spitfire, etc.), MK1 water-cooled VW (Dasher, Caddy, Rabbit, etc.), Toyota pickup, or air-cooled VW’s. I’m looking to get $2,300, but am open to offers. You can contact me via email here and the car is located in Kingsville, Maryland.

Body Condition: Body wise, is where the car shines the least (pun not intended). The rockers and quarters are 100% intact, as is the windshield frame. The floors were replaced in the 90’s with galvanized flat steel and self-tapping screws. The rockers (most critical component of a convertible) are in excellent condition and are incredibly solid. The driver’s door was tapped by a previous owner’s car and has a dent in it that can be pulled or replaced (coupe doors are identical). I have the Monza cove trim plus an extra set that will be included (and the cast filler panels). The body does not sag whatsoever when both doors open and the top down, and the windshield is solid. From what I can tell, the car has never been hit and is still very straight.

Mechanical Condition: Mechanically, the car is/was great. When I purchased the car, the clutch was slipping due to a massively leaking rear main seal and input shaft seal. I pulled the power pack, replaced every seal between the engine and trans, replaced the clutch disc, cleaned the bolted Dale-type flywheel, and cleaned the pressure plate. I also installed a new 66-69 reverse light switch and oil pressure switch. The engine is a 1968 SMOG 110hp coupled to a matching 1968 Saginaw 3 speed. The engine is currently sitting on a dolly ready for installation. Originally, the car was a 95hp/3 speed car and I will include the original 95hp engine. The dash pod was switched out with the engine to have accurate mileage- I have and will include the original 66 pod. I just installed four brand-new tires on a set of driver-grade Buick rally wheels that I think look great on the car. The brakes work well and the rubber hoses were replaced in 2012. The cocktail shakers are still present, as are the original jack and lug wrench.

Interior Condition: Interior-wise, the car is nothing special. I installed a pair of 2005 Volvo S40 bucket seats for added support (I believe they are Recaro cores) as I intended to autocross the car. The bolsters and material on the seats are fantastic. They are manually adjustable and can be wired for heated seats if you so choose. The rear seat is the original 66 convertible seat with very nice upholstery. The door panels and rear quarter panels are presentable and will work for a driver. There is no carpet, but one can be had from any Corvair supplier for sub-$200. The dash pad has cracks but can be bought new for $75. It’s a factory power top car and works very well. The top is nice- one tiny hole at the passenger side folded seam that any upholstery shop can easily fix. The rear window has cracks and can either be replaced ($120 plus local labor) or left, depending on the next owner’s intentions. I put packing tape on the cracks to help keep water out (no leaks). I am including the 65-66 500 coupe bench seat I received with the car. Front seat belts are 67-69 GM units and are in good condition (black to match the seats). I also have the 66 Monza horn button that is missing.

Vehicle Description: Frankly, this car is somewhat uncommon. It was originally Meridian Maroon with a black interior and a factory power top. No other options were ordered. It was delivered with a 95hp engine and a 3 speed manual- a very uncommon combination for convertibles. The car has issues but is an easy project that can be had for very cheap. All of the lights worked before I pulled the engine, with the exception of the reverse lights (which will work now that a new switch is installed). I have a clean Maryland title and a pile of parts that the next owner can have their pick of. More photos can be seen here!

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Hi James, never an easy decision, like selling an old faithful dog or something. And you better not rip on James’ car! 2nd gen Corvairs are, in my opinion, the nicer of the 2, and a ragtop sweetens the deal. Nice 2nd gen convertibles can bring 5 figures, so this, for a driver, is a steal. Now, James, here’s where you can teach an old fart something,,,,what the heck are “cocktail shakers”? Good luck, and sorry, but you’ll have stand in line for a British roadster, I got 1st dibs on that. :)

    • James K Member

      Howard,
      Cocktail shakers, as they are known to most corvair nuts, are “harmonic suppressors” mounted in all 4 corners of convertibles. Because of the lack of a roof, Chevy engineers discovered that there was an odd oscillation above 45m/h. The solution was to mount a metal cylinder, full of hydraulic fluid and 20 pound weights on springs, in each corner. 1st generation Camaro convertibles used the same suppressors for the same reason. Often, they are torn out because in total, they are 100 pounds of “dead” weight.

      • Howard A Member

        Thanks, I was way off in what I thought you’d say. If you ever have a question about trucks, I spent 40 years around them, so just ask.

      • Alan (Michigan)

        We used to call them “Shot Cans”. I have long been under the impression that there was steel shot in them, not just oil. But I have never seen one cut apart. So, has anyone here actually opened one, and checked the contents?
        I’d love to see photos of what one looks inside.

      • James K Member

        Alan, I have also heard them called that. I was under the impression it was a solid piece of steel, but It may have steel shot instead.
        James

  2. Scot Douglas

    Location?

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      It’s in Kingsville, Maryland.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Really, Scot. Did you not read?

      “You can contact me via email here (vwbusman66@gmail.com) and the car is located in Kingsville, Maryland.”

      Hmmm. My edit turned into a second post? At least the typo was corrected. But no way to make the first entry disappear… Ahh Well…

      • Craig Member

        I think Scot was asking about the location (?) of the “cocktail shakers” rather then the cars,

  3. hoberg

    This is how a BF exclusive should be shared IMO. Details. Well written details by seller. Pics. Known info. Thanks for this one. Love the car and it was not a guessing game on any level.

  4. Alan (Michigan)

    The only quibble I’d have with the seller’s assessment of the car is something shown in the video. That popped out area directly in front of the bottom right end of the windshield is not due to a loss of part of a factory lead job.

    The strip of metal (which also forms the lower frame for the windshield) is a known issue on ALL of the 2nd generation Corvairs. The causes were two-fold: 1. Lack of a coating in production on the underside, yet exposed to moisture at the back of the front plenum. 2. Plugged drainage holes from the corners of the windshield, behind the trim, which over time channeled dripping water across the underside of the piece.

    What I see in the video is evidence of a prior (Bondo filler) repair, where the metal underneath was not replaced. I can nearly guarantee that there is filler in the same location on the driver’s side.

    I hope I don’t sound too harsh here, just trying to give a complete explanation. Last time I checked, there were replacement panels available, and even in Stainless Steel for best life!

    All of that aside, this could be a great driver’s car. Never a show car without cutting out the floor pan sheet metal and replacing with proper repros, but that seems silly here. Note that if someone just had to have the 4-speed instead of the 3, the swap is not difficult.

    • James K Member

      Alan,
      You are correct in the replacement panels. Both fiberglass and steel ones are sold. I believe it is just lead, as the paint is not risen around the area (as in bondo chunked off in the past). For anyone who is concerned, I would be glad to photograph the area thoroughly or show it in a video. I will also see if I can figure out a way to tell if the driver’s corner is lead or filler- I have a feeling its still lead.
      James

  5. Ck

    Hey James K this is by far the screamin deal of the week! Where else is anyone going to get a convertable in this kind of shape ? The price is right,and with a little time and TLC whoever buys this car will be cruising by springtime.These cars are a blast to drive.When I was a kid a family friend had at least 15 corvairs.He had coupes ,vans,convertables,he even had a pickup .He had 3 boys and they all had corvairs.My uncle bought a 69 coupe from the guy that my cousin drove through high school.She then sold it to a friend of mine and he drove it through school.We all had alot of good times in that car,and I don’t remember it ever giving us an ounce of trouble.I have never owned a corvair but every time one shows up on BF or Craigs list I want one . Unfortunately I dont have room for one right now.Kool car James.You should have no problem selling it .

  6. Howard A Member

    Someone just buy it and DRIVE THE DARN THING,,,,sheesh. :)

  7. JCW Jr. Member

    It sure sucks not having disposible income. I am scatching my head trying to think of a way to buy this car. The only thing is I would have to make a 4 speed at some point.anyone want to buy a 1980 2 dr. AMC Concord. Or a 70 F250. Oh well one can dream.

    • James K Member

      JCW, I’m willing to trade.
      Lets chat.
      443-425-5457.
      James

    • James K Member

      I would definitely be interested in the F250 if you can text me some pictures.

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