During the recent 2017 Detroit, Michigan, CC group get-together we traveled to Ypsilanti’s Auto Museum housed in an old Hudson Dealership. This small, surprising, a must-see, and delightful museum also highlighted cars and products manufactured in Ypsilanti like the Corvair cars and GM’s Hydra Matic transmissions which began production in 1938.
In the above photo, there is a studious group of CC’ers learning about the intricacies of Corvairs from Paul Niedermeyer. We were all ears learning about the Corvair production changes especially the running changes between production year one and later production variants. Paul’s knowledge was encyclopedic, matching his love and enthusiasm for the Corvair, a car line that, we learned, actually added to Chevrolet sales numbers rather than cannibalizing Ford’s actual sales numbers like Ford Falcon did.
Paul has already posted a CC entry about the stillborn Corvair engine updates with interesting multi cylinder variants. In addition to the engine displays was a small display about the developments in the Corvair Axial fan ultimately culminating in the production magnesium axial cooling fan.
Can you imagine Ralph Nader’s reaction if GM had actually used the Delrin Fan in production Corvairs. The Delrin fans would have released outgassed formaldehyde generated in reaction with sulfuric acid fumes from the adjacent engine compartment car battery and subsequently drawn into the passenger compartment for passenger heating. Luckily GM dodged that bullet, with an expensive magnesium cooling fan that got past the bean counters, but only to be caught up with the tire pressure and roll bars issues to bedevil the Corvair during production.
Ah, the Turbo Charged Corsa.
Corsa’s full instrumentation, definitely not typical of a 1960’s econocar, but the developing American Porsche, only to die in 1969.
The CC’ers were especially attracted to the 1st generation Corvairs.
Then in the next room were the Hydramatics.
The ever curious PN taking in every detail of the cutaway 1938 Hydramatic mounted in a 1938 Olds chassis.
Then sitting in a corner of the Hydra Matic room was a GM prototype twin rotor Wankel Rotary engine, a surprising find.
The GM Rotary was to have been produced by GM’s Hydra Matic Division in Ypsilanti until plans for actual production were cancelled.
After leaving Ypsilanti, sitting in the Dearborn Hotel parking lot was DougD’s VW Bug, Paul was drawn to it like a moth to a candle flame with true air-cooled VW love detailing the fine points of the 1963 Bug. Like a true CC’er, his phone was on camera. When Doug arrived he began to tell us about his epic journey to Dearborn across Ontario.
The ever curious mind of Paul taking in every detail of the engine while giving us nuggets of interesting VW knowledge. Great fun.
In the meantime, another part of the gang arrived in Chrysler 300 style.
Overall, a great CC adventure, with lots of air cooled VW and Corvair love.