Live Auctions

Turbo-Chaaaarged: 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa

There’s been some excitement in the Corvair community over the last couple of days as a ’65 Monza coupe sold at Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas auction for a healthy $25,300. It’s a really nice car, with some visual modifications that give it an interesting look—Automobile Magazine even referred to it as a “specialty muscle car”—but beneath the surface was a largely mechanically original car with a dual-carb, 110-horsepower engine and a two-speed Powerglide automatic. For far less, plus the cost of a relatively affordable restoration thanks to a readily available parts supply, could I interest you in a top-of-the-line ’66 Corsa, boasting the exotic turbocharged flat six? It’s here for the taking with an asking price of $5,500 on craigslist in the east San Francisco Bay area (archived ad).

If $5,500 seems a little steep for a Corvair that’s being advertised as a “project car,” at least it’s a running project, no mean feat for the sometimes finicky turbo engine. Plus, a turbo Corsa has rarity in its corner: 9,157 Corsa coupes and convertibles were produced with this 180-horse mill between 1965 and 1966, and this forum thread estimates that only 1,366 of those were 1966 coupes. The ’66 boasts modest but desirable refinements over the ’65 that launched the Corvair’s only major redesign, including a small front chin spoiler to aid high-speed stability.

The body of this coupe still shows the late Corvair’s pretty curves, but is marred by evidence of parking-lot carelessness and other byproducts of hard living. Rust is not mentioned and should be carefully checked for, as the Corvair is a unibody car. Metal patch panels are pretty easy to come by for some of the most common trouble spots, but the less cutting that needs to be done, the better. The driver’s door is red, although not enough of it is shown for us to know if it looks any better than this one.

Inside, things look more or less complete (if a bit blurry!) other than missing carpet, although there is some surface rust on the dashboard and the rear seat cushion appears to have come out of a ’65. That’s an easy fix, just a matter of a new seat cover. In all, there’s plenty here that needs refreshing and refurbishment, but nothing that seems too extreme. There are plenty of unknowns with this coupe, but I will never stop beating the drum for Corvairs as the perfect entry-level classic—fun to drive and able to safely keep up in most modern traffic situations, available in a full array of bodystyles, and supported by great clubs and affordable, readily available parts. Add in the exotic appeal of one of the first turbocharged production engines, and this Corsa is one I could really get excited about; how about you?


  1. DrinkinGasoline

    My favorite of all the ‘Vairs. I had a 66 4 door in aqua over aqua.
    And yes….the thrown belt issue can be overcome. The only issue I had was the windshield cowl rusted prematurely. A boneyard cowl and sealer around the reveal molding fixed that.

  2. Kevin

    Had a 63 Spyder with the 150 hp version of that motor. Could never get it running right, mostly do to being young, stupid, and lacking proper funds.

    I’d make this one a go-er not a show-er.
    Swap the carb for a TBI unit to keep the mixture proper for the boost. Add a waste gate to the exhaust side for boost control.
    Tweak the springs and shocks. Disks and proper rubber on the corners.

    Then go Porsche hunting.

    • hank

      If you know how to swap a Carter YH Sidedraft Carb for a TBI unit, I’d like to know. I’ve been owning and working on them for 30 years and I’ve never heard of it being done.

      • ACZ

        That Carter YH is the same carb used on six cylinder Corvettes. Skip that and go to a Weber. Much better setup and a lot more reliable.

      • Frank Brauer

        Beautiful car.

      • Richard Larson

        Clark’s corsair parts has a complete TBI bolt on conversion. Last I checked it was around $1500.

        I have a 64 Spyder that I am hoping to convert one of these years.

      • Alan (Michigan)

        Great looking car, Hank!

        Somehow, an upside-down photo of it showed up here, in the salvage yard pictures!

      • Alan (Michigan)

        Nice Car, so I flipped it over for all to see.

    • paul

      I bought a pristine white with red interior ’63 Spyder off a used car lot in Alabma back in ’66. It ran beautifully and was a lot of fun. Traded it in on a ’67 Firebird 400.

  3. stillrunners lawrence Member

    I had an IIIIIIdentical one in the neighborhood…………

  4. Andy

    If I had time, a garage, and a little bit more disposable income, I’d be all over this. I still think the 2nd-gen Corvairs are the prettiest American cars this side of WWII, and to get a running turbo for a third of the price of a stripped Nissan Versa would be awesome.

  5. 68 custom

    this car would be so nice restored and the Corsa and Turbo options make it special. a great buy for someone.

  6. Matt

    Here in Boston, no need for an “r” in chaaaaged!

  7. Foster Member

    $3500 tops, don’t care if it’s got a Gale Banks twin turbo breathin’ thru twin Webers!! (did a ’64 like that in ’72, had $3500 in it finished)

  8. hank

    He wants WAY too much even if it’s running. The Carter YH is finicky, the Turbo probably needs a 1000.00 rebuild, and it need some serious body work. Everything is expensive in Northern Cali, but he needs to get realistic.

  9. Troy S

    I don’t think Ralph Nader liked cars in general.

  10. Frank Brauer

    I thought it was odd to see multiple photos of the all gold side and yet just a sliver of the side with the red door.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      The seller has taken photos which conceal the things everyone would want to know about this car. There are zero pictures of the common rust-trouble spots. Even the engine compartment photo was taken from a low angle to show the shiny bits, but not the stuff which can get ugly below.

      The photos alone indicate quite a bit about the seller. Before plunking down any cash for the car, I hope a potential buyer knows how to properly look for issues. Also check the body tag to determine whether it might be a clone, and the block code to make sure it was a turbo series motor.

  11. jim

    I know that car is long gone but to make sure your getting the “real deal”the following are easy to check.serial# the third digit should be a 7=corsa A5=monza fisher body tag: Rear frame rail eng. compartment lower line labeled ACC. letter after #4 should be O shows car came from factory with turbo. eng, serial# will end with RL =65/66 corsa 180hp turbo. Hope it helps. JIM

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