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David Newell describes the XP-737
Corvair Sebring Spyder

David Newell, Historian of the Corvair Society of America (CORSA) has an amazing collection of Chevrolet literature which he provides to Corvair fans through his business, Chevrobilia Corvair Literature. I was thrilled when he recently offered to send me a rare photograph of the General Motors Styling XP-737 Sebring Spyder, the car that graced the cover of the November, 1961, issue of CAR and DRIVER. The photo below is a rear 3/4 view. While it loads, have a look at Dave's expert description of this awesome vehicle.

January 11, 2000

The XP-737 Sebring Spyder roadster was built in three basic versions by GM Styling, all based on the same car, and all with a wheelbase shortened 15" from the stock 108". This is the second version, which is the first one shown to the public. It debuted at the Chicago Auto Show on February 18, 1961.

Its engine was boosted by a Paxton supercharger, like the unit still on the Super Spyder. The rear wheels were very noticeably de-cambered since the car didn't have to cope with rear passenger weight. Dayton wire wheels were used on it and other Corvair show cars, before the stock Corvair Kelsey-Hayes wheels came about in 1962.

The Sebring Spyder bumperettes inspired Cal Custom to produce similar aftermarket bumper kits, which are very rare today. The instrument cluster was the prototype for the production Spyder unit. And the entire rear deck was one fiberglass piece that hinged directly behind the seats. This was later replaced by a stock deck lid and a rear-hinged tonneau that hid a real folding top, in the car's last version.

GM Styling Archives state that the Sebring Spyder was scrapped in 1966, but one never really knows for sure... so far it hasn't surfaced!


GM Design XP-737 Sebring Spyder
GM Styling XP-737 Sebring Spyder
Photo courtesy of David Newell. Contact him at:


Super Spyder emblem

XP-785 Corvair Super Spyder

Another experimental Corvair, the XP-785 Super Spyder, was the first car ever to win the Automobile Quarterly Award for Design Excellence. The stunning Paxton super-charged roadster has thankfully been preserved by General Motors. Priceless? Definitely!

The photo at right is excellent fodder for the imagination. Imagine driving it away!

The XP-785 was based on a 1962 convertible body shell. Its overall length of 171 inches and its 93-inch wheelbase are both shorter than the stock 180 and 108-inch dimensions. The differences stem from increased front and rear body overhang and the removal of a 15-inch section of the body between the doors and rear wheel arches.

Photo: Detroit Free Press

1962 Corvair Super Spyder

Many styling elements set the Super Spyder apart: a racing-style windscreen, low-drag sport mirrors, and the aerodynamic driver's headrest built into the long, fiberglass rear deck cover. Then there are the exotic exhaust pipes, Stingray taillights, split bumpers, triple louvers in the quarter panels ahead of the rear wheels, alloy wheels with knock-off centers, Spyder instrumentation, wood-rimmed steering wheel, and the bold racing stripe! I'm drooling again.

Click the road sign for more.


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