Corvair Cruise-In celebrates Chevy models
Corvairs were a very popular model by Chevy that were in production from 1960-1969. Included in the Corvair line were coupes, sedans, vans, truck and wagon-style bodies. Corvairs were the only mass-produced American passenger cars featuring rear-mounted, air-cooled engines.
Last weekend Corvairs were honored at the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo, California, for the South Coast Corsa’s “Corvair Cruise-In: Ageless to Anarchy” car show.
If you ever thought the word Corvair sounded like the perfect name for a Chevy, you weren’t wrong. The name Corvair was no accident, but rather occurred by design, with Chevy using a combination of two of their most popular models of the era, the Corvette and the Bel-Air, to create a hybrid name.
When it debuted, it was initially so well received, it ended up on the cover of Time Magazine, and Motor Trend Magazine awarded the Corvair the Car of the Year for 1960. A few years later, Ralph Nader wrote a famous book criticizing the safety of the car, which was later proven to be of no higher danger than other make and model cars on the market at the same time.
The car show, put on by South Coast Corsa Car Club, was a great display of the variety of the Corvair line, as it seemed every body style was represented, and both stock classics and modernized customs were in attendance. The Lakewood was the Corvair wagon-style model, made only from 1961-1963, and the Greenbrier was the van model of the Corvair, from 1961-1965.
A 1966 Corvair coupe clearly built for racing was also on display, with “84” emblazed on the doors in red, perfect blue racing stripes down the center of the standard, white base paint and a stark, minimalist red and white interior with a race steering wheel and race seatbelt harness. A beautiful piece of history, the car was billed as being one of the original Yenko Stinger race car prototypes. Race car driver Don Yenko had switched from racing Corvettes to using the Corvair in 1966 in an attempt to better compete with the new Shelby Mustangs.
One other slick Corvair at the show was a customized white 1960 Corvair with a gorgeous red pearl and metalflake roof and custom red touches all around, including red halo LED headlights and rocker glow lights. Completely rebuilt, the red and white stunner is up for sale, with custom postcards and window films to promote the car all around.
Another Corvair that stood out from the crowd was a 1966 Corvair coupe with wide custom wire wheels and a brilliant patina effect on the paint, creating a swirling mix of teal and steel — and the layers in between — all over the car. The ’66 model also featured the “B” pillar-less window design of that year.
It was an impressive turnout and a fun showcase of the variety of the short-lived, but well-loved, Corvair line, and the people who celebrate them.
For more information about Corvairs and the Corvair Society of America, visit www.corvair.org and for more information about the 1960 Corvair, visit www.hotpaint4u.com.
Heidi Van Horne is an author, artist and media personality with more than 25 years’ experience in the entertainment industry and the car culture community. She has written about cars for the Houston Chronicle and Hearst Media since 2008 and is currently working on her first book about women in the automotive and motorcycle world and their rides. Contact her by email at Heidi at heidiscustomsand