Rear-Engine Turbo: 1963 Chevrolet Covair Monza Spyder

Although Ralph Nader tried to spoil America’s fun with the Corvair, the unusual American car did carry on a sports car like package in the form of the Monza Spyder Turbo. This Corvair was parked in 1979 due to a broken rear window, and the owners failing health. Having spent the last 38 years in a garage, this Corvair is a slightly used time capsule that is looking to return to the road. For a cool $3,000 you can bring home this awesome rear engine American. Find it here on craigslist out of El Cerrito, California. Thanks to Geoff K for this awesome boosted submission!

Simple yet effective, the turbo charger offered a fair bump in power. This engine has been dormant since 1979, but the seller says the engine turns over. Although the seller goes into detail about boiling the gas tank, and performing general tune up maintenance, the seals within the turbo are likely dry and are due for replacement. The great thing about this Corvair is that there is not very little surface rust, and it is very complete.

The interior shows wonderfully, with only a few flaws that take away from it being perfect. The driver seat has a vertical split in its upholstery, and the top edge of the back seat has a hole as reported by the seller.  The interior is very clean considering the length of time it spent in storage with no rear window. The dash and steering wheel are in superb shape, and really the minor flaws with the interior could be ignored, if this Chevy was revived to driver status.

Even with a few bumps and bruises, the condition of this car is very nice. The front end has some primer and appears to have been bumped at some point. The front bumper is dented slightly, and there is a non-original hood latch that is currently installed. Despite being bumped, the front end looks very reasonable from what can be seen. The remainder of the body is very straight, and rust free, with a clean underbody. The paint is old and dry, with some chipping concerns around the rear taillights. Despite the body issues, the condition is hard to beat compared to many surviving Corvairs. Hopefully someone will pick this one up and make Ralph Nader eat his words of saying “Unsafe at any speed.” Would you save this rear engine turbo American?

Fast Finds


  1. JACKinNWPA Jack NW PA Member

    Very sweet car, a drive as you “restore” kind of car. Oh why does it have to be thousands of miles away? Oh ya if it had been near me it would be rusted to the door handles.

  2. steve m

    I have a soft spot for these…..always wanted one, I just cant do a project now.

  3. KeithK

    Buy it . TLC it. Drive it. The turbo alone will get you some car show stares from teenage tuners that think that they invented it.

  4. JW454

    This one does appear to be in very good condition. I’ve never owned a Corvair of any type but, this one could be fun.

    On a separate note… without the thumbs this website isn’t nearly as interesting. There is no way to gauge overall opinion.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi JW454, maybe just say it. They say comment numbers are actually up without them. I think your 1st paragraph said your opinion perfectly, and was much better than a thumbs up or down. Good riddance, I say.

      • Dave Wright

        Comment numbers may be up……but I bet views are not. They are paid on views…….

      • Jesse Staff

        Why do you assume the thumbs would affect traffic Dave?

      • JW454


        I’ll tell you why the thumbs are an added bonus. Say a car is posted for a given price and a reader posts a comment that says “That sounds fair”. If that post gets 20 thumbs up and 2 thumbs down, then I know that 90% of the readers feel it’s a fair price and helps me stay up with the market.
        If I have to read 43 comments to find out what the general readership feels about the post then I’m bored with trying sift through the haters trolling and I just move on. I also like the the fact that after so many thumbs down a haters comment is hidden and we don’t have to see the hate spewing negativity we have to put up with everywhere else in today’s world.

      • KeithK

        Agree with JW454 on the thumbs. I have submitted a few listings I was personally interested in hoping that I could get a general “thumbs” feedback. The listings were deemed not interesting enough I suppose and never made it to the post. Public opinion on price and condition was what I was looking for. I know I don’t visit or post comments as much without the thumbs.

  5. Will

    I have no idea what Corvairs are worth these days, but to me $3,000 seems like an absolute steal for this. Sure it might need a new engine and some exterior work but the price let’s you do that. Here’s the saved ad with all the images and details

    • Steven Tamer

      A big Thanks Will for showing the ad saver..Never saw this before and the owner pulled the ad quickly after I bought it..Steven

      • Alan (Michigan )

        Steven, I hope you keep us posted on what you do with the car.

  6. Joe Howell

    I had a 63 Spyder over 40 years ago and still have a warm spot for any Corvair. At car shows they draw me like a magnet. Quirky handling but a cool little car. Looks like someone took the garage door handle and used it for the hood latch. Body looks solid but figure on oil leaks. Chevy should have put the cam above the crank, that would put the pushrods and their tubes on top of the engine ala Lycoming aircraft engines. Continental had their cam and pushrods below the crank and the pushrod tubes were more prone to leaks. We called them “Cloud Greasers”.
    By the way that “quirky” rear engine handling made choose a Porsche 944 over a 911 many years later. I must be getting old but have passed on a Corvair or two due to safety concerns. The thought of non collapsible steering columns, no airbags, only two point belts and drum brakes on a frequently driven car competing with todays poor drivers on the roads makes me a little uneasy, kind of like when I’m on my Harley. Guess getting hit by that car has left me a little paranoid.

  7. Steven Dunn

    My first new car was a 63 Spyder in Jade Green. It was a great car and I remember it fondly. I had sold my 54 Austin Healey a few years prior so I was looking for that sports car feel. The Spyder provided it. There was only one scary moment when I pressed on the brakes while going down the San Bernardino Freeway at 4 in the AM in the rain. Goods thing it was early morning because it swapped ends so fast I didn’t have time to be scared. Got my foot off the brakes and straightened things out and then I was scared! Had to sell the Spyder and buy a Dodge station wagon when we began our family. That’s what you did in the 60’s.

  8. Ron

    Had a ’63 Monza. Loved it, till I drove a friends Spyder. BIG difference!! I did one of those sudden “swap ends” on a dry road in Wisconsin, hot dogging at night on fun curves. NO warning at all! Got my attention, to say the least! They also hydroplane very nicely when you need a quick stop on wet roads. Plan ahead!!
    Considering this one if I had the room. Very Tempting.

  9. Vinnie, no cousin.

    My 1st lov, er, car was a ’64 Monza Spyder, white with a red interior. It was a blast to drive and, oh wow, when that turbo kicked in, those anemic pony cars ate my dust and breathed my oil fumes. Oh, yes, it was an oil burner that occasionally fouled a spark plug or two, so I carried at least 10 newly cleaned & gapped plugs & tools to diagnose which one and change it out. When it’s right, and even if it isn’t, you’ll put up with a lot from your first gir, er, car. vinnie

  10. Steven Tamer

    The corvair sold for 1800.00

  11. Joe Howell

    I’ve always said you haven’t lived till you have spun a Corvair. Sounds like most of us owners have:)

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