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ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
5/15/19 7:24 a.m.

My parents drove Corvairs all through the muscle car 60s. They were sporty car people, not pony car people. Brought me home from the hospital in a '64 red convertible.

They later went to BMW (1600-2), Audi (two 100LS's) and Subaru. In the 1970s my dad bought a fixer-upper '64 convertible with a Powerglide shown in the photos below. Dad wasn't a very savvy buyer and found out after purchase the floors were swiss cheese. The brake lines blew out shortly thereafter and it sat in a barn for awhile until he sold it off. I have fond memories of that last one despite it's flaws.

My mom used to regale me with stories of how she would go to work as a nurse in the winter (she HAD to be there) and would drive the Corvair across open fields when the roads became drifted shut. The rear engine provided obvious traction advantages. My mother adored the Corvairs. I always wanted to get her another one but it never happened.

ETA:  the other pic is of our Subaru bought new in 1978. My grand mother's '66 T-Bird photo bombed another photo.

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
5/15/19 7:39 a.m.

I still have one buried around here somewhere.  

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
5/15/19 7:50 a.m.

Short version:

It was the first new car my Dad bought, much to *his* Dad’s chagrin. Grandpa railed on what an ugly hunk of crap it was.

Shortly after my Dad bought the car, he was shipped off to Japan, and had to beg my Grandpa to park the car in his driveway.

Grandpa put a ton of miles on it during that time, and refused to give it back to my Dad when he returned to the states.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/15/19 8:35 a.m.

i've had a couple.   they're alright, i guess.

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
5/15/19 8:58 a.m.

I haven't owned one yet, but I'm a fan. I find it interesting how, when people want to go big-time on the horsepower, they seem to gravitate to the mid-engined V8 route. But if you talk to anyone who's driven one, they will tell you that anywhere but the track they're oppressive to be in - Noisy, loud, hot, cramped.  I've got a Turbo Subaru motor coupled to a Porsche tranny  that I'd like to swap into a Corvair. I think that'd be a much more civilized way to make one quick.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/15/19 9:09 a.m.
Kreb said:

 the mid-engined V8 route. But if you talk to anyone who's driven one, they will tell you that anywhere but the track they're oppressive to be in - Noisy, loud, hot, cramped.  I've got a Turbo Subaru motor coupled to a Porsche tranny  that I'd like to swap into a Corvair. I think that'd be a much more civilized way to make one quick.

Yes, a mid-engine V8 Corvair using traditional (Crown) conversion is all those things.  i'm using an Audi transaxle to move the engine rearward about 8", which will address the "cramped" part.  not sure if i'm going to do anything about the noisy, loud. or hot this time around, but if i like this conversion I might build another one with civility in mind.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
5/15/19 10:09 a.m.

I have wanted a Crown V8 for a while, but could never own one because I would have to drive it with my knees up around the steering wheel.  The farthest back the seat will go in one is about 6 inches further forward then I normally sit.  It's really a car for someone well under 6 foot.  A modern high-performance FWD drivetrain (in the back seat of course) conversion could make for a very fast (and very economical) car with plenty of room.

At this point, I should probably be looking at a modern electric conversion.  Still a bit early for that I think though.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
5/15/19 10:41 a.m.

EM owner checking in here, have had my '64 drop top for 11 years this July.  California car, now "barned" in Maryland, and unfortunately now rarely driven.  My wife and I got engaged in the car after we drove it from Greenville, SC to Key West, FL in March 2011.  Lost a transmission along the way, got it replaced, and lost the clutch on the way home so I had to drive it in 3rd/4th only.  Made it all the way home though.  

I convinced a buddy of mine, who was looking for a cheap 4 seater convertible to buy a LM.  He loves it. They are truly under-appreciated cars and of all the cars I've ever owned, it seems to elicit the most comments whenever I drive it somewhere.  Tons of people have stories about them.  

Mine currently needs rear brakes, new top seals, and a good cleaning.  

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/15/19 10:53 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

Living where you live, i assume you know about Jeff Stonesifer at the Corvair Ranch in Gettysburg PA?   Jeff's my boy!   Tell him Pat from Detroit sent you.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/15/19 10:56 a.m.

In reply to aircooled :

yeah, i'm 5'9" and i had to sit uncomfortably close to the wheel, and that car had fiero seats (which are very thin front/rear).  I never did get to ride in Frank Parker's transverse Northstar car, but i imagine it was a riot.   he said it was brutally fast and he daily'd a C6 GS at the time.

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
5/15/19 10:58 a.m.

I drove a '65 Corsa (non-turbo) around for a while and was pretty taken by it. It had the best combination of ride and handling of any stock 60s car I'd been in. Power was decent, but in no way special, and the brakes worked surprisingly well for drums. I'd throw a quick steering kit on it, better seats, and perhaps a disc brake upgrade, but otherwise leave the thing alone and have a really nice daily (At least till I got bored and threw the Subaru motor in). 

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon HalfDork
5/15/19 11:20 a.m.
Kreb said:

I haven't owned one yet, but I'm a fan. I find it interesting how, when people want to go big-time on the horsepower, they seem to gravitate to the mid-engined V8 route. But if you talk to anyone who's driven one, they will tell you that anywhere but the track they're oppressive to be in - Noisy, loud, hot, cramped.  I've got a Turbo Subaru motor coupled to a Porsche tranny  that I'd like to swap into a Corvair. I think that'd be a much more civilized way to make one quick.

Some have gone the front v8 route mods on corvairs but the best still are either going yenko style with the vair engine or going big bore 3.1. The big bore engines usually use vw pistons and cylinders. 

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
5/15/19 11:34 a.m.
MotorsportsGordon said:
Kreb said:

I haven't owned one yet, but I'm a fan. I find it interesting how, when people want to go big-time on the horsepower, they seem to gravitate to the mid-engined V8 route. But if you talk to anyone who's driven one, they will tell you that anywhere but the track they're oppressive to be in - Noisy, loud, hot, cramped.  I've got a Turbo Subaru motor coupled to a Porsche tranny  that I'd like to swap into a Corvair. I think that'd be a much more civilized way to make one quick.

Some have gone the front v8 route mods on corvairs but the best still are either going yenko style with the vair engine or going big bore 3.1. The big bore engines usually use vw pistons and cylinders. 

Yeah, going front-engined seems counter to the design intent of the car - you're basically just using it for its styling and IRS. But to each their own. 

A friend and I have bench raced numerous times about making custom heads for the Vair. There are materials that you can use to 3d print a head and then use it as the "wax" in a lost wax casting. The breathing deficiencies of the stock Corvair head can be addressed to a certain point, but it's a real PITA.

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
5/15/19 11:46 a.m.

Hey Angry - I see that there's still a guy or two selling electric cooling fans for Corvairs. I'd heard they were inadequate. Why do you suppose that someone like the guy at California Corvair would be hawking them? 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
5/15/19 12:12 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

Living where you live, i assume you know about Jeff Stonesifer at the Corvair Ranch in Gettysburg PA?   Jeff's my boy!   Tell him Pat from Detroit sent you.

Oh yes.  I and my buddy have both purchased from him.  Great place, nice fellow.  He was particularly interested in the front disc conversion I developed on my EM using Infinity G20 rotors and GM Metric calipers.  

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/15/19 1:20 p.m.

In reply to Kreb :

i have no direct experience with electric cooling fans on the Corvair.   biggest limitation was having enough power to push sufficient air volume through all the flow restrictions (cooling fins) when the engine is under full load and producing max waste heat.  i haven't followed the development to know how this hurdle has been overcome.

rslifkin
rslifkin UltraDork
5/15/19 1:25 p.m.

On an air cooled engine, electric fans are stupid.  Most of the gains from them are that they move more air at idle (good for keeping A/C cold in traffic) and that they don't sap power when they're not needed.  An air cooled engine needs the fan running 100% of the time, so there's no meaningful gain from an electric fan compared to a well implemented mechanically driven one.  

But then again, I also think that air cooled engines are an incredibly piss poor design to start with to the point that I hate my lawnmower being air cooled.  

Jumper K Balls (Trent)
Jumper K Balls (Trent) PowerDork
5/15/19 1:25 p.m.

I wanted an early 60's American car, bought a Falcon and modified the heck out of it to get it close to what I would have been happy with. Then I did some work on a stock 63 Corvair Spyder and realized instantly that I had bought the wrong car. It was just such a better driving car.

 

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/15/19 1:29 p.m.

In reply to Jumper K Balls (Trent) :

 ... looking for "just bought a Corvair" build thread by Jumper K Balls ...

 

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
5/15/19 1:36 p.m.

I have a friend who built a highly modified 65 or so Monza.  Track only.

He had a spring load tensioner on the belt.  It seemed to work quite well as the engine spent lots of time at high revs.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/15/19 2:13 p.m.

In reply to iceracer :

yeah, it's the rapid tension changes that accompany shifting at high rpm that cause most of the belt flips, so the compliance of the spring-loaded tensioner really helps mitigate that situation.

boulder_dweeb
boulder_dweeb Reader
5/15/19 7:34 p.m.

When I was at the Mitty several years ago, there were several Corvairs with Porsche style fans, with the  fan pulley and crankshaft pulley co-planar. Looked like a good solution to a forever problem... Anyone else tried this?

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/15/19 10:05 p.m.

In reply to boulder_dweeb :

Corvair crank rotates opposite of Porsche, so the design concept is identical but the shroud is the only part that can be shared.  Fan blade would have to be mirror image of Porsche part.  Someone fabricated a bunch of fans and that’s what a lot of the Corvair racers use.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
5/16/19 12:48 a.m.

In the 11 years I've owned my EM, I have yet to have a fan belt toss.  Well, except one time when the fan bearing packed it in, but by that point the belt was simply collateral damage...

Yet I still always carry a spare fan belt with me.

outasite
outasite HalfDork
5/16/19 7:28 a.m.

Just remembered, same time period of late 60s, FIL worked at a GM plant and drove a Rampside pickup. 

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