Vintage Snapshots: Me and My Corvair

Yes, I’ve had Corvairs on the brain lately. It’s a recurring issue, every few years or so. So in addition to a few posts scattered over the next week or so, here’s a collection of vintage snapshots of folks and their Corvairs. I picked this one as it most closely resembles my own, a ’63 Monza four door like this one.

Mine even had white walls, although mine were twin-stripe Goodyear Double Eagles, which were top of the line and would have been way out of my budget except that they were pretty old by then (1973), and the owner of the little tire shop in Iowa City made me a great deal to get them off his shelves.


The Corvair played a very special role in America during its heyday (1960-1964), as it was the first genuinely sporty compact car, never mind that it was rear engined and air cooled. As such, it developed a unique following and image. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Corvair was actually by far the most successful of the Big Three compacts in conquest sales of import owners. And import sales did take a big dive in 1960.


The Corvair’s image was unique, because it appealed to a wide range of buyers, and not just the tweedy, professory import set. It was all-American, and as such, it crossed all kinds of lines. The range of buyers that were attracted was very wide, and it was by far the only thing remotely of its kind at the time.  Americans were really ready for something different, and the Corvair gave it to them, without it having to be exotic or foreign.


The Corvair also developed a following in Europe, although not as wide-spread as one might perhaps imagine, as American cars were expensive, and the Corvair, with its relatively large six cylinder engine, was anything bu an economy car there.


A racing stripe gave even the stripper 500 coupe a sporty flair.

A twin Corvair household.


The one Corvair household.


There were plenty of women Corvair buyers, given that they constituted a vocal backlash against the ever larger American cars of the time. The voice of reason found its car.


A plain 1960 500 coupe gets a bit of pizazz on the hood.


The Monza was a brilliant concept, in that it allowed even frugal buyers to enjoy a nicely-trimmed, sporty personal car. The Monza was of course the predecessor of the Mustang, which took that formula to new heights.


Corvairs were cool from the get-go, and only got more so with time.


This base sedan represents the Corvair in its original intended role: as an economy car, but a a different one.


Needless to say, the Corvair was the ultimate snow mobile. Nothing like having 62% of your weight right over the drive wheels.


Yes, the Corvair appealed to folks who appreciated engineering, even if it was different.


First wheels, undoubtedly.


A Monza coupe was something to be proud of.


A Corvair flat towing a ’64 Le Mans or GTO.


No owner in this shot, but a quite rare Baldwin shark-nose locomotive is a valid substitute.


She deserves a Monza coupe; this lady is not stripper material.


Air cooled engine; air-dried laundry.




The Cowsills and their Corvair touring van.


Quite possibly a German immigrant with his kids and his Corvair.


We can’t be sure it’s their Corvair, but it’s possible. The 1961 Plymouth, with its Corvair-inspired rear end, might be a better guess.


The well dressed Corvair owner. A Corvair was always considered to reflect well on the taste of its owner, especially so a convertible.


I’m not going to speculate how this happened.


How many kids can fit in a Corvair?


Peace, baby!


The two most stylish things on wheels in 1963.


How did this gen2 Corvair slip in here?


Corvair aficionado. How many Corvairs ended up.


A high school graduation gift from Elvis to Priscilla. Elvis loved a wide range of cars, and he had good taste.


I’m guessing grandpa drives the big Merc.


Rear weight bias, to an extreme.


Prom night and the Corvair.


Don’t try that in a VW.


It’ll fit, one way or another.


Did these folks just win a new Corvair? Of course it’s a stripper coupe.

This is the proud owner of a Fitch Sprint. John Fitch was the primary tuner of Corvairs, and sold performance parts as well as complete cars.

From several Corvair Memory Lane Vintage videos (YouTube)