Corvair Corvair
Corvair Corvair
Corsa Corsa Corsa Corsa Corsa

built by the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors

 

 

Four carbs or Turbo-charged?

In the fall of 1964, my father walked into the local Chevrolet dealer, curious about the freshly redesigned and restyled Corvair. I was in school that day, and had I known what he was up to, I would have wanted to be with him. I was a Corvair nut. From the moment I first saw the turbo-charged 1962 Monza Spyder, I dreamed of my father trading his 80 horsepower, 1961 Corvair 700 for the much quicker, sexier, Spyder. Of course, because his 700 was "almost new," my expectation was impractical.

On Sunday nights in the early Sixties, our family watched Bonanza, the popular Chevrolet sponsored television western that followed The Ed Sullivan Show. Chevrolet's ad agency wisely contracted young Bonanza star, Michael (Little Joe) Landon, to appear in a commercial for the Corvair Monza Spyder. Landon related well to the post-war youth market General Motors was trying to attract to the sporty, Spyder club coupe and convertible. Speaking over the wind noise and snarl of the turbo-charged engine, Michael described the thrill of driving the Spyder, with its bucket seats, 4-speed stick, full instrumentation, and independent suspension (Corvair was the first American production car with all-around independent suspension, leading the way for Corvette, which was given a more sophisticated version for the '63 model year). Michael's enthusiasm was infectious, and although I was only 11 years old at the time, I wanted one!

The Spyder caught Dad's attention too, and a couple of years later there he was—in the showroom—ordering a new Corvair sport coupe. The Spyder, he was told, had been replaced for the '65 model year by the equally sporty Corsa, with a choice of two new engines.

"Four carbs, or turbo-charged, Ernie?" the sales guy asked.

"Four carbs," Dad replied, helping the sales representative complete the order form. The car would be built at the General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ontario, and would be one of only 1,351 Corsa sport coupes built in Canada during the 1965 model year.

Dad brought home a brochure and we waited. Six weeks later, the Corsa arrived on a transporter and the fun began! Now, nearly 50 years later, I still feel a tremendous affection for the car.

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