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Jim Bryant's Cool Cajun Corvair

Jim Byrant was hit by Corvair fever when only 13, in the summer of 1964. When his brother was married in June, the bride’s brother drove to the rehearsal in a new Spyder convertible. The snarling growl of the exhaust was one of the prettiest sounds he had ever heard, and the car cornered as if on rails. Later that summer in Dallas, he spied, on the cover of the August, ‘64, Motor Trend, a drawing of the soon-to-be-unveiled 1965 Corvair, and his infection was complete! It was love at first sight, a love affair with Corvairs that continues to this day.

When I first heard from Jim , he was responding to this site's Visitors' Survey. He told me he was a former owner of a couple of Corvairs, a '65 500 back in '68 and '69, and a '66 Monza, which he owned from 1971-73. Although he hadn't been in one since, he'd never forgotten the fun he'd had with his Corvairs, and he was giving serious thought to buying another one.

Surfing the web's Corvair sites to re-learn everything he'd forgotten about Corvairs, his research became a prelude to the purchase of the late model  we see on these pages. As a resident of Texas, Jim needed an air-conditioned car, one that would transport his wife, Gayle (with Jim, at right), and family in comfort through the torrid heat of Lone Star State summers. He was also looking for a well preserved Corvair that wouldn't require months or years of restoration. He wanted a good, solid, daily driver to tinker with and enjoy.

Jim and Gayle Bryant

While Jim has the knowledge and experience required to rebuild a car, his ability to take on heavy physical tasks is limited by his health. Jim was accidentally sprayed with pesticide by a crop duster while working as a telephone lineman for Southwestern Bell. The experience almost killed him, and left him with damage to the nervous system and a chronic skin condition. In spite of this difficulty, his spirit is strong and he gets things done, even if he has to pace himself.

Like many computer owners, Jim likes to surf the web for subjects close to his heart. It was by doing so that he discovered a good candidate Corvair in the Ft. Collins, Colorado, Thrifty Nickel Want Ads!

Jim's discovery eventually led to this driveway in Loveland, Colorado, where the Bryants took their first look at the car that had been described over the telephone as a "little jewel." It's a 1965 Monza sport sedan with 110-hp engine and Powerglide transaxle, all- around tinted glass and air-conditioning. It was originally purchased new in Kansas City, Missouri, and was driven nearly 100,000 miles in 32 years before it was sold to its second owners, an elderly couple from Loveland, Colorado. 

"Little Jewel" in the previous owner's driveway

After driving through heavy rains in Oklahoma, Kansas and into Colorado, all the while wondering whether the car would meet expectations, Jim and Gayle were very pleased with the car, which they noted was still wearing the original Magic Mirror finish applied when it was built at the GM plant at Willow Run, Michigan, nearly 35 years earlier. Discovering that its second owners had only put 500 additional miles on the car since purchasing it, and after confirming that there were no nasty surprises or costly problems to correct, Jim gladly parted with the $2,100 asking price and loaded the Monza on the trailer for the balance of the 2,000 mile round trip back to Texas!

Jim says, "It takes a bow-tie to pull a bow-tie." His late model Suburban was up for the job!

You'll notice the 4-door is being towed with its rear facing forward. This is good practice, as approximately 60% of the Corvair's weight is on its rear wheels. This arrangement makes for a safer and more stable tow, particularly at Interstate highway speeds.

Texas bound Monza Sport Sedan

Click the road sign for more.

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