Red Drop Top: 1965 Corvair Convertible

What was a pretty thing like this Corvair doing in a place like that garage for 39 years, sleeping with the lawnmower? Why did someone stop driving this car?  It’s listed on craigslist for $5,700 in eastern Pennsylvania between Easton and East Stroudsburg. The listing includes some very detailed pictures in areas where you might expect to find rust and there is none. This Corvair looks very original, complete and unmolested. The only big downside to this car is the automatic transmission.

The interior looks like it will be nice after a good cleaning. The local rodents seem to have been denied a great habitation. It’s too bad that transmission lever, though.

Here’s the 140 HP engine. Hopefully it isn’t seized. It’s all here except for the spare. Those carburetors will likely need rebuilding after sitting so long. If you have the right balance tool they are not to difficult to set up. Even in stock form, these 140 HP engines perform very well when properly tuned.

The top looks great, but it’s hard to imagine it really could be good after all these years. The plastic back window even looks good. In fact, this little convertible looks pretty nice overall. A good polishing and wax outside and a thorough cleaning inside would do wonders for this red convertible. One can only hope the mechanicals don’t have serious issues. It’s too bad about the automatic transmission with only two speeds; slow and not so slow. It not a difficult undertaking to convert an automatic Corvair to a four speed. There is no fabrication required but there is a lot to do. There is a good description of the process on the Corvair forum. I think this Corvair would be worth the effort if it is as nice as it appears to be. I would drive it as it is while looking for a donor Corvair. It will be interesting to see what readers think.


  1. Alan (Michigan)

    Here I go, being the skeptic again…..
    I really don’t see the detailed pictures of rust-prone areas. There is plenty of rust in the panel at the bottom of the windshield. This car may well have been parked for decades, but I think that it had a rust repair job and at least partial paint a while before it was stored.
    I just don’t see the asked price as being realistic, for a car which essentially needs everything. Certainly not a basket case or rusty doily, but so far from even being a driver. If the car was running and stopping, I could see the $5700, IF the rust is not too severe, and the already repaired areas were done well enough to last.
    As-Is, though, I think the seller has overshot the mark by a factor of at least two, maybe three.

    Edit: Funny that I read this ad last night, when looking at things “Corvair” online. I also saw a few listings which made my hair stand on end (what there is of it). People asking thousands for what amount to rusty piles which have already been stripped of desirable parts and trim pieces. Sheesh. More headed to the scrapper, because of an unrealistic seller’s expectations.

  2. JW454

    I don’t see that much that would scare me. Even the missing spare tire David mentioned is in the front compartment. For the time being I could live with the automatic too. As long as the engine isn’t stuck, getting it running wouldn’t be that big a task. Good color combination and a soft top. If I were looking for a Corvair I’d give it serious consideration. The good thing on a air cooled engine is that, with no water in the engine, the chance of it being good is much better.

  3. Adam T45 Staff

    Looking at the photos in the ad, it appears that the missing spre wheel is sitting in the trunk.

  4. KeithK

    I’m just going to guess by looking at the craigslist ad that this car is Rare. I know because the seller says it’s rare about four times and the VIN has the word rare in it ! It only needs that rare cleaning. Don’t mind the rare 30 year old once flat bias ply tires. A little rare air will fix those right up. Did I mention this car is rare? Although this seller hasn’t figured it out yet I’ve seen many C list ads refer to these as the American 911. Really ?

    • KeithK

      And while I’m ranting about craigslist ads , I understand the logic behind listing a car for 1 dollar but do you think if I showed up with that dollar we could still negotiate ? When I see the 1 dollar tag I don’t even click.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      The “Rare” part is actually that it has the extremely uncommon 4 cylinder engine!
      (as listed in the info section on the right)

      Note: Potential buyers should remember that this is a PA car. Unless never driven in the winter, there will be more rot than expected based on the supplied photos. Inspection warranted!

  5. alan

    In the pictures it appears that the base of the right windshield pillar to cowl area is blistering from the inside out. Full restoration needed and $5700 is too high a baseline from which to begin.

  6. Flmikey

    I agree with everyone that the price is way too high, but if someone knocked some sense into the sellers head and brought 2k and a trailer, this would be a great project…super easy to work on, and tons of parts and knowledge available out there….

  7. Dale Leier

    Great at any speed.

  8. charlie Member

    And by ’65 with the anti sway bar in the back, and if you inflated the tires right, it was a sweet handling car, and far more stable than the Porsche of the time (or of any time).

  9. Bob S

    Windhshield rust is a big deal. On mine it goes deep into panels that are triple layered. I converted my 500 automatic to a 140 4 speed many years ago. It was not a hard swap. These have got to be the easiest carbs in the world to rebuild. Setting them up is not that hard either.

  10. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Meh. A 140 with powerglide defeats the purpose and performance of that particular powerplant! I’d fit a Saginaw 4 speed from a later car in this puppy and toss the automatic. A agree about the rustprone area below the windshield being just as dubious as a car parked outside for this many years. This job should be left to someone who can paddle lead as the factory did.

  11. Skip

    Very nice looking car and I like the color; but I just don’t like convertibles and never have. If the price were better and it was a hard top I’d grab it in a heartbeat.

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