Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What's In The Trunk: 1965 Chevrolet Corvair V8

The 2nd generation Corvair was released the same year that Scottish born racer Jim Clark won both the Indy 500 and the  Formula 1 driver's championship. Clark was a supreme natural racing talent who can be put in the same bucket as Schumacher, Senna, Andretti, and Vettel, but he was taken from us in 1968 in a tragic racing accident at the Hockenheimring.  The Corvair survived until a year later, and in 1969 it was unceremoniously canceled by the bean counters at GM, but you know what they say about the starts that burn the brightest.  Find this 1965 Chevrolet Corvair V8 here on eBay bidding for $9,500 with 3 days to go, located in Fredericksburg, VA.

With this V8 swapped 'vair, the advantage to the rear-mounted engine arrangement is that it uses the original powerglide transmission and allows the back seat to stay in place instead of having to mount the V8 in the back seat forcing the front seats to be moved forward (tough for tallish drivers). The guy's text is pretty good and the fact that he's road tripped it inspires confidence. He's done all the right stuff to modernize it. More power, 4 wheel disc brakes, it already has a power convertible top, and he gave a full disclosure of the minor rust in the rockers. I suspect a phone call would help reassure that there are no other rusty bits.

I think one of the best features of this was actually kind of downplayed by the pictures. It appears he's mounted an induction cowl around the fan and radiator which allows the car to be a bottom breather in the front which keeps the nose from looking hacked up and adds to the mystique of the car looking bone stock except for the wheels (Vintage 45s?).

With the right exhaust, this would sound bone stock to the uninitiated who could then become initiated when the light turns green. I also like the fact that the seller downplayed the performance. He mentioned that its about like a 327 Powerglide equipped Camaro, (which is slower than pedaling a tricycle uphill in a snowstorm...seriously if a 327 2-speed Camaro is your baseline for fast, imagine what a ride in a C5 Z06 would do to you), but it's a lot more enthusiastic than a stock Corvair, without the headache of trying to maintain a 50+ year old turbo design.

If this can stay below $10k and be driven home, its a winner.  See another rear engined classic for less? tips@dailyturismo.com

Thanks to Hunsbloger who penned 9/10ths of this post.


  1. There ain't no bloody proper place for me to post "off-topic" so I'll just run the risk of getting further flamed by stating that it's nice to see a pic of Das Boot in the upper right. I think, were it me, I'd run a muscle car/SS/Marauder theme with it. I know that's been done to death but I still think it's cool.





    1. just so we're crystal clear... the Roadmaster is 99.9% stock - what's not: radio, headlights/wiring (the OEM headlights are notoriously dim), Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires (popular among the RM crowd) - there's a complete set of replacement chrome (rare and expensive), the paint is shiny and smooth, everything works (now) - if i'd kept it, i would have kept it like this - the way you always want to find a vintage car...

      O - R - I - G - I - N - A - L

  2. Wow.

    Most 'Vair V8 conversions I've seen were mid engine using the Kelmark kit. ( See Wikipedia ) What's a SBC weigh? Lotta iron hangin' out the back there. These were pretty decent handling cars in stock form, but the weight distribution alone ought to make this thing...shall we say, "interesting" to drive in anything but a straight line. That, and all that weight hanging out of the back of a 50 year old unibody convertible? I don't see anything in the photos that indicates structural reinforcement. Fun while it lasts, though...

  3. Should have done a Kelmark mid engine with that vert. Put a nice Enderle Bird Catcher on the carb(s) and it is the closest thing out there to a street able Berkeley jet boat. Deafening with the top up...

  4. Well now depends what version of 327 you have and that powerglide is far better then you might think ! Ask some of the old drag racers they did not use it to go slow !

    1. To go a quarter-mile at redline a PG might be right.

      For a road car the world has moved on a long way since then.

  5. First off, not an SBC, it's a Rover 4.0 (aluminum Buick 215 evolution, weighs 300lb)

    Secondly, you're gonna go to that much effort and STILL keep the damn Slip-And-Slide-With-Powerglide?

    Nah. Just nah.

    1. Hmmm....that puts a different slant on things. Any Corvair guys out there that know what it would take to convert this to a 4 speed?

  6. Oh, and no, those are not Vintage 45 wheels - the VWW wheels are all cast. Those look more like American Torq-Thrust 2s.

  7. I'm thinking we need a weekly Corvair thread, this Greenbrier looks worthy of a pants-bulge.

    A 3500 mile '65 Monza?

    eBay seems full of 'em right now...

    Want an earlier car to tweak for a little 2002-spanking?

    1. I don't get it. That '64 Monza closed with zero bids on an opening bid of $1800. I'd have happily thrown in that much if it weren't an $1800 roundtrip to pick it up, and if the reaction upon my return home didn't involve a divorce attorney.

      Has the Corvair market peaked?

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  8. Yes do know this is the 215 Based Buick v-8 all 320 lbs of it,That is the one thing GM did to the pancake flat 6 was reverse the direction of what porsche helped them with so since this is running backwards (rover/buick215) are we sunny side up yet ?

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