Nice And Shiny: 1966 Corvair Monza Convertible

1966-corvair-monza-convertible

I’d take fixing mechanical issues any day over repairing rust, body damage or paint problems! Having this work done can get extremely pricey too, making it hard for many of us to justify paying to have it done. Well, if you buy this Corvair, you don’t have to worry much about paint, as it already has nice bright red paint. The body looks straight, but it needs a new convertible top, the engine needs work and the interior could definitely be redone. While that’s a decent list of things to do, it sounds more like the kind of work I want to be doing. This is one of the few projects that I would say you could easily finish this winter. At $2,995 or best offer, it even seems like a good deal! You can find it here on craigslist in Tuscola, Illinois.

1966-corvair-monza-engine

Corvairs aren’t terribly sought after, but they are good little classics. This boxer six is good for 110 horsepower, so it won’t blow the doors off, but is enough for daily driving. Being an aircooled design, they are easily to work on and maintain. The seller claims this one turns over, but admits it won’t start. They think the carbs need to be rebuilt, which very well could be. I would want to check the compression to make sure the engine is still good and go from their.

1966-corvair-monza-interior

The interior is looking a bit rough, but everything to restore it is available. Before I’d worry about seats or carpets, I’d want to get a new top installed. While red with a tan top looks great, I think having a black top would make this Monza look a bit more sporting. Of course, that decisions will be up to the next owner. If it were yours, what color combo would you go with?

1966-corvair-monza

It isn’t perfect, but I think this little Corvair would be a fun project. As long as the engine isn’t damaged and there isn’t any serious rust, the price seems about right. At this price, you should be able to get it running, cleaned up and maybe even add a few performance upgrades and still not break the bank! So what things would you do with this Monza? Would you leave it as close to original as possible or would you upgrade?

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Comments

  1. racer99

    This is one that I’d have to lay my hands on before buying — a 50 year old car from the rust belt with new paint with no underside pictures makes me a little skiddish.

    • Brian

      Exactly!!! Doubly so since it’s red. The beat way to sell a rusty vair is to bond and paint it red.

      Then again, the price is super reasonable. It doesn’t seem likely that the seller is trying to scam anyone.

    • Chris

      All the emblems are missing and the mounting holes filled in, the taillights are wrong and the car has a manual transmission depite an instrument cluster with the bezel for the automatic shifter. The front seats did not come out of a ’66 Corvair. This car has been monkeyed with.

  2. Paul

    Hey Nader, we now know that you are a closet Corvair Lover, in white, how about red?

  3. Rocko

    No one came closer to hugging a car his/its whole life as Nader and the Corvair, none closer, cept maybe DeLorean!

  4. Eric Dashman

    I like that 61 Buick in the pictures a lot better, but this version of the Corvair, especially in convertible form, was a pretty good-looking car. Having driven both the series 1 and series 2 Corvairs back in the day, I can tell you that they were scary to drive. The understeer was a serious problem and a windy day would have you all over the road (like the VW bugs). I’m sure that those problems could be handled today with a suspension kit of some sort. With the 4 speed, they were mediocre in performance. With the automatic, they were complete dogs. A buddy of mine had a 64 convertible with the supercharger and that had some pop to it. I think it was called the Monza Spyder (or was Monza only the series 2???).

    • Alan

      Yes, the Monza Spyder had a turbocharged engine. In the second Series it was a Corsa Spyder.

      • Vince Habel

        Just Corsa. No Spyder

    • Brian

      What?! Nooooo! :)

      My 69 140 Monza is fantastic to drive! My 65 vert PG was extremely predictable as well. I’ve autocrossed them both and they’re both absolutely wonderful to drive. Extremely predictable throttle-off oversteer and no understeer… ever. Not sure how you experienced that. GM has made few cars that handle as well as the LM Corvair.

      • Jamie

        Understeer in corvairs only happen when tire pressure isn’t correct. Trust me, I know from experimenting with tire and pressures on my 69 coupe. when set up right with the right driver, they are awesome.

    • Brian

      Note: I’ve never driven on bias ply tires.

      The early turbo cars were called Spyders.

      The late turbo cars were called Corsas. You could also buy a 140 hp Corsa (4 carbs).

      None of them made much power but the 140 or the 110 are the most driveable.

      Turbo cars tend not to run terribly well, even when tuned properly.

    • Harvey Penner

      I ran my “66 on 60 series 15 inch radials at 24 lbs with 100 lbs of ballast in the trunk. 2 bags of sand for low weight. Handled like a dream and I still regret the day I sold it. It was a 500 chassis and originally had the 110. Dropped in the 140 with 4 carb setup and kept the 2 spd Powerglide.
      Probably the handling issues that others had were mostly the reward for running bias ply tires.

  5. jtvairs

    mechanical AND rust issues are likely. It’s a Monza with a silver cove, which was available only on the Corsa (Sport) model. It lacks the wheel well trim, which indicates body work, likely hiding some rust. Unless it’s been driven recently, the fuel tank needs to come off, fuel lines cleaned before attempting to start. JTVairs.com Good luck with the sale, but $3k is a little high for a car that neither runs and has an amateur-ish makeover. Yes, no photos of the sides of the car, the undercarriage…buyer beware!

  6. Bill Norman

    Aluminum warping heads and engine – air cooled – had one in high school, don’t let it get too hot! Rubber band steering, if you know what I mean, about a foot of play in the steering wheel.

  7. ccrvtt

    There’s a reason the Corvair has more of a cult following than say, Pacers or Pintos – it’s just cooler. That silver cove is Elegant, and knowing what it means makes it moreso. Probably one of the most underappreciated great cars of all time.

    That said, take JTVairs warnings seriously.

  8. Rustytech Member

    My grandfather had on of these 1965, and it’s still in the family, no race car but very roadworthy. While the early ones 60 to 63 could by a little squirrely if tire pressures were not kept up the second generation had a completely different and much improved suspension. I too would want a very detailed hands on inspection on this one. I go with a white top.

  9. Another Bob

    It makes no sense buying a Corvair like this one, when you can buy one with a good $6000 paint job for $8000.

  10. Chris A.

    The silver cove was added on top of the red paint job. Personal inspection underneath is needed along with a good magnet. I had a ’65 4spd coupe and the comments about tires and tire pressures are accurate. A Corvair will understeer with low fuel, no weight in the trunk and wet roads. The 140 would break push rods if overreved. It really needed a tach for when the second 2 carbs came in. It needed a bit quicker steering ratio, but I really liked the smooth, well controlled ride. The Corsa 140 in light blue is a pretty car.

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