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Career Project...

Non-Traditionally Powered Corvairs

Unread post Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:34 am

Posts: 41
Location: Jacksonville, OR
Good day,
This post and attached photos are sequential to those posted in the "introductions" forum under the same heading, "Career Project." Hope you find them interesting...

After a chemical dip and red oxide coating on the underside, the body heads home for installation of a NOS rear cove from Clark's and repairs to the dented lft rear quarter.

Over the next several months an AutoCAD file was created to design and engineer a "back-bone" style chassis for attachment of the suspension, engine/transaxle, and as a stiffener to the Corvair's unibody. During this time I was working at an Industrial Design facility that provided contract design and engineering services to the OEM auto design studios located in central and southern CA. I had occasion to befriend an Engineer there by the name of Mark Visconte who had previously worked for Shelby American and was responsible for the suspension engineering on the Shelby Series One car. Fortunately for me, Mark offered to provide his expertise to my CAD file drawings to insure a performance oriented configuration to the suspension layout. The Shelby car used Corvette C4 front suspension components in both the front and rear. The Shelby rear took advantage of the later C4 front knuckles that incorporated ABS sensors that provided a hole through the knuckle that allows a half shaft to connect to a drive hub. Pretty neat arrangement and more geometrically and dynamically efficient than the standard rear configuration in the Corvette. At that time knuckle adapters were purchased from Shelby and hub adapters were machined by the folks at Mark Williams Enterprises to connect the C4 wheel hubs with the Porsche 930 CV jointed half shafts.
C4 lower a-arm getting the forging flash removed.
Upper control arms getting the same treatment. Before on the left, after on the right.

Simultaneously, the chassis was being fabricated and a reconditioned 930 Porsche transaxle was purchased through eBay.
Chassis profile.
Chassis, front view.
Chassis, rear view.

The front and rear sections of the chassis attach to the Corvair's unibody frame members via additional tube links while the center crossmember attaches to the Corvair's sill boxes in line with the rear door jambs.

In addition, quickie epoxy FRP molds were taken from the Corvair's hood and decklid. From the molds we fabricated carbon fiber inner and outer panels that were then joined with structural adhesive. The result was as you'd expect, very light and very stiff.
Epoxy FRP molds for the hood.

Unfortunately, I'm not diligent about taking photos in the quantity that I should so, as you may have noticed, there are huge blank spots in the build.

Unread post Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:34 am

Posts: 2275
Location: Hesperia, CA
Oh my god....suddenly I feel like I'm running wagon wheels. LOL

Unread post Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:28 pm

Posts: 41
Location: Jacksonville, OR
Good day Musik,
Hey, I get myself into stuff like this all the time where I've over extended myself financially and also escalated the scope of the project relative to labor. Please know that while you're enjoying your Corvair on the road, I've got a long way to go yet to be able to enjoy the same thing you already have. I don't know why I do it, I just do it; my wife isn't happy about it either. That said, perhaps my neurosis will offer some entertainment and inspiration to the forum. Cheers.

Unread post Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:33 am

Posts: 150

Killer start.........I will be watching
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Unread post Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:58 pm
ncwitte User avatar
Corvair of the Month
Corvair of the Month

Posts: 162
Location: Lansing, Michigan

Wow. This is more ambitious than I at first thought. I'm eager to see how this goes. Keep posting!
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible

Unread post Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:18 pm

Posts: 582
Location: Grand Ledge, Michigan
holy cow, your doing the right way, its going to be probbly the best setup for a corv8 that has been put together
Drive it like you stole it
65 Turbo Monza Coupe
64 monza convertible 4 spd
Grand Ledge, Michigan

Unread post Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:22 pm

Posts: 41
Location: Jacksonville, OR
I just got around to taking some pics of the car's current condition. There's a significant "jump" from the work completed (and time) in the last post. As I mentioned I'm not very diligent about taking pictures. In this series of pics a substantial amount of bodywork has been completed, and the carbon fiber hood and deck lid have been attached but without proper alignment or gaping. While the pictures don't show them, I've got a couple of kinda' Mickey Mouse hood and deck lid props that I'm not particularly happy with. They're stainless steel and operate via a self locking function that is released by lifting the hood until you hear a "click" and then you can lower it. It works well as long as there isn't a breeze that could lift the hood thereby unlocking the catch and allowing it to crash down. I was going to use gas struts but I'm inclined to believe they might cause the hood or deck lid to distort under pressure when closed; I'll have to give that one some more thought.

Under side of deck lid with a "stick" propping it open.

Completely stock looking from the outside.

This profile shot provides a glimpse of the "backbone" chassis through the wheel wells. I'll post some more detailed pics of the chassis very shortly.


carbon fiber hood

This view clearly shows the air inlets cut into the lower valence. The plan is to integrate inlet ducts into a splitter to clean up the appearance.

Before I joined the "spider" and outer hood skin I made all the smaller holes in the spider into larger openings that follow the contours of the spider's hat sections to create a cleaner look and reduce weight even more. Perhaps foolishly, I smoothed over the carbon fiber on the backside of the outer skin to make it look more like the original hood but in hindsight I'm thinking I should've left it in raw carbon fiber like it is on the deck lid...oops.

BTW, I have a question for any of you out there that might be Mustang II rack and pinion gurus. I purchased a new rack on eBay some time ago and was intending to change out the inner tie rods to later model T-Bird units that, coincidentally, have the needed length and thread size to mate up to Corvette C4 outer tie rod ends. I had done substantial research online to the conclusion that the T-Bird units would screw onto the Mustang rack in place of the Mustang II inner rods. Well this unit has a different thread size than the T-Bird Inner tie rods so it's a no go. But my question is, by all accounts, this should work, so I'm guessing the Mustang II rack I got is some cheesy knockoff with different threads. The other part of the rack that also contributes to my skepticism is that when I took the rack apart to change out the rods, it had a goofy hemispherical nylon button backed up by a spring that puts a pre-load on the ball end of the rod. I can imagine that thing compressing under dynamic steering loads and causing the toe-in to change, albeit by a very small amount. Conversely, the T-Bird inner rods have a threaded steel socket formed around the ball end to a very nice tolerance. BTW, the nylon button was also split in three places. Nice piece eh? Any advice out there?

Unread post Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:00 pm
ncwitte User avatar
Corvair of the Month
Corvair of the Month

Posts: 162
Location: Lansing, Michigan

Rick, I can't help you on your suspension question but the car looks awesome!
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible

Unread post Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:38 pm

Posts: 41
Location: Jacksonville, OR
This next series of photos shows the "backbone" chassis integrated into the unibody. Some additional links from the chassis to the body remain to be done but I'm holding off due to a lack of commitment on my part to the engine selection, commensurate exhaust routing and some issues surrounding the fuel tank and radiator placement up front.

Rear suspension box with 930 transaxle flipped upside down. If the trans isn't flipped, the only other way the make the wheels turn the correct direction is to have the ring gear moved to the opposite side of the transaxle. Turning it upside down offers the added benefit of more ground clearance and is a "free" solution.

Snake's eye view of rear.

930 tranny output flange.



Front suspension box. Fuel cell will fit into the middle. It will have to be fabricated as it will need to clear the rack and pinion steering.

Profile of front suspension box. Chassis to unibody frame end plates remain to be welded in.

Relocated steering penetration through the firewall (trunk wall?).


C4 Corvette upper and lower control arms.

Front knuckles, without holes and rear knuckles with ABS sensor holes, now allow pass-through of the halfshafts.

Now to mount the suspension and steering.

Unread post Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:36 am

Posts: 94
Location: Plano, Texas
I feel like I am in advanced mechanics class. Absolutely amazed.
1960 700 Sedan

Unread post Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:39 pm
ncwitte User avatar
Corvair of the Month
Corvair of the Month

Posts: 162
Location: Lansing, Michigan

This is so cool. I love the high quality work here.

If I understand correctly, the Kelmark conversions flipped the stock Saginaw transaxle. One issue was lubrication, since it was designed to use gravity to return oil. My recollection was that a separate oil pump was necessary to fix this. Is that going to be true of the this transaxle as well?
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible

Unread post Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:49 pm

Posts: 582
Location: Grand Ledge, Michigan
the quality of what you are doing is incredible, i'm not sure GM could have done it better
Drive it like you stole it
65 Turbo Monza Coupe
64 monza convertible 4 spd
Grand Ledge, Michigan

Unread post Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:05 pm

Posts: 213
Location: Glendale, AZ
Charles Troutman Sr.
Charles Troutman Jr.
Glendale, AZ

66 Vair-8
68 Vair-8
65 Convertible
Corvair Society Of America Member "Corsa"
V-8 Registry Member

Unread post Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:59 am

Posts: 2142
Location: Kronenwetter, WI

Jeremy (cad-kid)
Kronenwetter, WI (Central Wisconsin)
CORSA Member#031129
65 Monza 4spd/140
My 65 Monza thread
:soapbox: My YouTube page

Unread post Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:16 am
TikiRalf User avatar
Corvair of the Month
Corvair of the Month

Posts: 436
Location: Soon Valkenswaard - Netherlands - Europe

Holy WOW !!! thats way cool , good job dammmmm gonna follow this project :-) keep on going

Unread post Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:08 pm

Posts: 41
Location: Jacksonville, OR
Thank you all for the supportive comments.

Norm, to answer your question about trans lube, I've done a considerable amount of research on that with respect to the 930 trans. By all accounts, those being mostly mid-engined kit car conversions, the "flipping" procedure is acceptable with no discernible harm to the transaxle. It really depends on who you ask. I queried "Renegade Hybrids" (914/SBC guys) some time ago and they "suggested" that the ring gear option was preferable but then they perform the machine work so there's a bit of a conflict of interest. They're applications also benefit from leaving the 930 box in its right-side up orientation due to motor mount issues, shift linkage, and half shaft inclination. If anybody out there has anything to add I'd be grateful to hear from you. Thanks for your interest.

BTW, I'm currently prepping the suspension for installation and since all your positive comments have me amped up, I'll try to do better about taking more detailed pictures.


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