Here’s What You Forget About The Chevrolet Corvair Monza

If there was ever a golden age for cars, it was the 1960s. From the creation of muscle vehicles to the explosion of sports cars, this decade was a pivotal moment in automotive history. In 1960, Chevrolet modified the Corvair coupe for the auto show by adding bucket seats and a more luxurious interior. Ed Cole, Corvair’s father, saw the finished product and decided to manufacture it immediately. As a result, the Corvair Monza was born.



The Chevrolet Corvair is a compact car produced by General Motors subsidiary Chevrolet from 1960 and 1969. Dubbed the “poor man’s Porsche” by some, the Corvair is very unusual for a domestic car. It was the first mass-produced American car to include a rear-mounted air-cooled engine, shattering Detroit’s conventional car mold. To end with a bit of trivia, the Corvair moniker is a mix of Corvette and Belair! Let’s take a look back at the history of the Chevrolet Corvair Monza and reveal some facts we’ve forgotten.

Related: We Love This Classic American Car That Was Way Ahead Of Its Time


8 Concept Car Display But Low Customer Satisfaction

The Corvair stood out from the competition’s selection of new subcompacts for the 1960s, including the Ford Falcon and Chrysler’s Valiant sub-brands. It was a convenient purchase due to its open and roomy cabin, front trunk and foldable rear seats. It was also cutting edge, with excellent handling for the period, incredible fuel economy of 20-25 MPG, and the industry’s first air-cooled flat-six engine. However, buyer response has not been as planned, with Americans preferring the more traditional and somewhat cheaper Falcon over the radical Chevy. Even in the midst of the Chevy panic, the Corvair wasn’t a complete failure. This car won the 1960 Car of the Year award from Motor Trend, and in February 1960, Chevrolet had introduced the Monza, the model that would bring the Corvair back to life.


7 First Turbocharged Production Car

An all too often overlooked fact is that the Corvair made history in April 1962, when it became the world’s first gasoline-powered turbocharged production car, beating the Oldsmobile turbocharged F-85 Jetfire. Although it took another decade before Porsche introduced a model with a rear-positioned turbocharged air-cooled flat-six engine, Chevrolet already had one in 1962. Even though it cost just $300 ($2,800 after inflation), this engine produced 150 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque. —an astonishing number for such a small machine. With its low center of gravity, excellent traction and massive power, the turbocharged Corvair has earned a reputation as a low-cost performance car.


6 Monza Starts Sporty Car Boom in America

The 1960-1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza is widely credited with fueling the American sporty car boom. Many would argue that it started long before the Monza became a twinkle in the eyes of Chevrolet, with the early Corvettes, Thunderbirds, and Studebaker Hawks receiving the honors.

While this is a valid argument, it is a fairly expensive car, and the modern understanding of “sports car” is one of the more accessible ones. However, whether as a concept pioneer or a follower, it can rightly be said that Monza saved the Corvair—and inadvertently introduced the marketing gimmick of fitting vinyl bucket seats and floor-mounted shifters into a compact car and calling it a sports car. car.

Related: The 10 Best Sports Cars Ever Released By Chevrolet (And 10 That Should Never Be Built)

5 The Car That Inspired the Mustang

Former Ford CEO Lee Iacocca stated in his 1984 memoir, “Iacocca: An Autobiography“, that the basic concept of the 1964 Mustang was inspired by a competing vehicle: the Chevrolet Corvair. Ford launched the Mustang in April 1964, a sporty compact car based on the Falcon that openly imitated the Corvair Monza’s sporty pretensions and mileage options list. It’s priced roughly the same as the Chevy, had a V8, and would sell more than a million cars in two years. Sales of the Corvair plummeted, forcing General Motors to rush to get their own Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro, into production. The Corvair was quietly discontinued in 1969.


4 It Was The Best Selling Corvair Model Of 1961

Monza is appreciated among American car buyers. The sporty image was a boon to sales, which peaked at 337,371 units in 1961 and remained strong through 1965. The second-generation Corvair, which debuted in 1965, was praised by none other than the American David E. Davis Jr.. automotive journalist known as a contributing writer, editor and publisher of Car and Driver magazine.

3 Ralph Nader Describes the Corvair As “One Car Accident

In the fall of 1965, The Nation magazine published “The story of Corvair“, which serves as an introduction to Harvard-educated attorney Ralph Nader’s scathing test of the American auto industry,”Not Safe at Any Speed“. This chapter is entitled “Corvair Sporty – One Car Crash” and based on an interview with George Caramagna, a Chevrolet engineer who warned of the dangers of removing the anti-roll bar on the Corvair in 1959. According to a 1972 safety commission assessment conducted by Texas A&M University, the 1960-1963 Corvair had no greater loss of control potential. in extreme scenarios than its comparable competitors.

Related: Here’s Why Only True Fans Like the Chevy Corvair Monza

2 1962 Monza GT Concept Helped Pave The Way For Corvette C3

Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine created the Corvair Monza GT, taking inspiration from Bertone’s Testudo. The Monza GT’s rear engine had to be moved because the wheelbase was 16 inches shorter than the conventional Corvair. As a result, the horizontally counterclockwise 145 cubic inch six-cylinder engine was rotated 180 degrees from the usual production Corvair configuration, resulting in a mid-engined car. The aerodynamic shape of the Monza GT Concept inspired the 1965 Mako Shark III Concept—the predecessor of the 1968 Corvette C3. Many of the car’s features were also used in Pontiac’s Banshee prototype.


1 One of the Cars Seen in the Neo-noir Crime Anthology Film”City of Sin

A 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Monza is one of the vehicles featured in Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s 2005 neo-noir crime anthology film “City of SinDescribed by Mickey Rourke, Marv uses this car to threaten a man into giving out information.

The Chevrolet Corvair, so maligned for years, deserved a better fate than it received. Corvair is a car that is agile, agile, stylish and attractive. Despite the Corvair’s unusual mechanics and shady reputation, a well-organized parts club and network now allows almost any enthusiast to own one of these prized vehicles in a practical and cost-effective way.

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