At the car show outside of the World of Speed Museum last Saturday, I noticed that a modified Corvair was in a prominent parking slot and had the biggest crowd – around its engine compartment. As a lover of Corvairs, I needed to see what was going in there. I braced myself, preparing myself for something decidedly other than stock. I was partly right; it’s a highly modified Corvair engine, one of the most ambitious of its kind. But the real shocker is when the owner told me about his plans for a future engine swap.
As a prelude to the engine, I’ll show you the interior, which makes it very clear that this owner is very serious about his Corvair.
Under the front hood, there’s a bottle of nitrous oxide to perk up the engine further. This Corvair has received every possible suspension , steering and brake upgrade possible.
So here it is. At first glance, I was confused, because the Corvair engine’s dominant cooling fan cowl and pulley drive are…absent. Is this a real Corvair engine?
A closer look and an explanation by one of the owners cleared that up. This engine has a totally new cooling system, with two contra-rotating plastic fans driven by small electric motors. One fan runs while the engine is still pretty cool; the second one kicks as needed. Wow; pretty slick. regretfully, I failed to ask whether they had engineered and built this themselves, or if it was available commercially. A bit of Googling turns up lots of home-brew electric systems, but not this one, so I’m inclined to think they did it themselves. Impressive.
Update: It also appears to have fuel injection and a distributor-less ignition system.
The Corvair was always referred to as the poor man’s Porsche, and these folks have taken that to a new level: probably not all that poor, but this Corvair could probably dice it up with some of the older 911s. My hat was off to them.
But the last thing out of the owner’s mouth had me putting it back on in a hurry: “and for the next step, we’re planning to install a Porsche 911 engine”. What?!? After all that work, to create a one-of a kind Corvair, you’re going to drop in a 911 engine? How unoriginal and un-creative is that? Why not just a SBC? Or just buy a damn 911. And you’re not going to attract as many gawkers at the car show either.
No, I didn’t actually say that, but I sure though it. I’ve become a wee bit more restrained in my old age.