For $11,500, The V8 Corvair Will Haunt Your Dreams

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

The reason Chevy's Corvair failed was because it had a small engine in back when what most everyone wanted was a big V8 up front. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe custom 'Vair rectifies that situation, but does it come a day late and many dollars short?

Back in the sixties, BMW built rear-engined cars too - the cat whiskered 700 to be precise. Yesterday's 1988 635CSi however couldn't have been farther removed from those earlier flat twin-powered econoboxes. That distance, and its apparently awesome overall shape, also seemed worth the removal from someone's bank accountof its asking price , at least according to the 80% of you who gave it the Nice Price nod.


If you were to combine those two BMW models - the six cylinders from yesterday's coupe and the flat air-cooled layout in the rear of the 700 - you might come up with something like Chevy's nascent attempt at a modestly proportioned family car, the Corvair. Just not today's Corvair.

No, today's 1963 series one convertible takes just about everything that made the Corvair iconic and spins them backwards into a tree. Originally this car would have come with a 2,375-cc pancake six out back, and swing axles making up the rear half of its Quadri-Flex suspension that caused Ralph Nader's famously ill-researched tsk-tsking.

That rear-mounted motor and companion spare tire afforded the Corvair a commodious trunk up front as well as light steering and a decent ride. The cars also offered a completely flat floor for your trouble, letting you play footsie with your date at the drive-in.


There will be no footsie playing in this '63 example however. That's owed to the flat floor having been dumped and humped for the THM350 that now lives under it like a troll beneath a bridge. Why would you want a gearbox there? Well, to connect to the hot rodded 350 V8 that currently makes grocery getting in the car a challenge of course.


If you thought that the Corvair as originally designed was completely bass-akwards then you might just love this one for that front-mounted V8, and suspension sourced in front from a Mustang II and in the rear from an S-10 pickup truck. Yes the fact that it's no longer rocking independent suspension all the way a round may seem like a step backward, but then this car is not about taking steps, it's obviously about making leaps.


Take the styling modifications as an example. Switching air for water as cooling medium, and moving the engine to the front of the class like that annoying kid with the tucked-in T-shirts means that the trunk now needs airflow. Providing that is both a quartet of slots punched into the nose and below those, an old school Corvette grille set between the now bifurcated front bumper blades.

Out back there's also some 'Vette influence although it's a more jarringly modern set of tail lamps that ovoid the noid. A big-ass wing appears in one of the pics but not all of them so perhaps that's optional or just some kind of optical illusion. Very real is the front air dam that rolls into flared fenders which preside over Centerline style phone dials. There's also an incongruous raised center to the trunk lid hood.


Now, you may think this is the Corvair Chevy should have built - which of course they did, it was just called the Nova. Alternatively, you may think this as superfluous and unnecessary as tuna-scented feminine hygiene spray, but either way there's no denying the work that has gone into this car, nor the apparent quality of the finished product.


What still can be denied however is the price for that work and resulting car, and that's what we're here to do today. The seller claims to have too many toys and hence is offering up this one for $11,500. Now, that's not chump change, but then this isn't a car that's going to come along everyday, nor one that could reasonably be replicated.

What do you think about $11,500 for this front engine Corvair? Is that totally at the right end of the price spectrum, or will that backfire for the seller?


You decide!


Indianapolis Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed-price tip, and remember to include your commenter handle.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter