the second generation Corvair
The Animals were on the radio with their mega-hit House of the Rising Sun. It was autumn of 1964 and the leading edge of the baby-boom was looking for fun, fun, fun, along with America's "I Get Around," Beach Boys. There were lots of upbeat ditties on the radio from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Mamas and Papas, The Kinks, The Zombies and The Shangri-Las.
Ford had cleverly jumped the gun a few months earlier when they introduced the monstrously successful 1964½ Mustang, which could be ordered with a 271 horsepower, 289 cubic-inch V-8. John Delorean's Pontiac GTO rumbled the main drags of North America. Hip, young dudes were ordering 350 horsepower, 327 Chevelles, and the Dodge boys were burning up the drag strips.
Hot Rod Magazine, Motor Trend and Car and Driver kept us up to date on new developments in the secret shops of Detroit. The big three were working on big blocks that made it possible for a car to top 70 mph in first gear! It was an exciting time.
The sneak previews I had seen in magazines gave me great confidence in the new Chevrolet Corvair. Even hard to please car magazine scribes were excited. Little did I know that by the spring, I'd be cruising south to Boston on Interstate 95, behind the wheel of a new Corsa listening to The Rolling Stones.
In October of 1964, an article in Car and Driver compared three competitive models - the 1965 Corvair Corsa, Ford Mustang and Plymouth Barracuda:
"And it is here too, that we have to go on record and say that the Corvair is - in our opinion - the most important new car of the entire crop of '65 models, and the most beautiful car to appear in this country since before World War II.
When the pictures of the '65 Corvair arrived in our offices, the man who opened the envelope actually let out a great shout of delight and amazement on first seeing the car, and in thirty seconds the whole staff was charging around, each wanting to be the first to show somebody else, each wanting the vicarious kick of hearing that characteristic war-whoop from the first-time viewer.
Our ardor had cooled a little by the time we got to drive the cars - then we went nuts all over again. The new rear suspension, the new softer spring rates in front, the bigger brakes, the addition of some more horsepower, all these factors had us driving around like idiots - zooming around the handling loop dragging with each other, standing on the brakes - until we had to reluctantly turn the car over to some other impatient journalist. We were actually annoyed about having to drive the new Sting Ray and the new Impala SS with a great, storming 409 to propel it.
We said we'd give you a comparative opinion, and there it is. We liked both the Mustang and the Barracuda - for different reasons - and they're very good cars. They have speed and handling and they're the right size - excepting the Corvairs, they're the best of their kind.
The '65 Corvair is an outstanding car. It doesn't go fast enough, but we love it."
David E. Davis Jr., Car and Driver, October, 1964
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