GM Concept cars that influenced Corvair design

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CarMel
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:03 pm
Location: Oconomowoc. WI

GM Concept cars that influenced Corvair design

Post by CarMel »

This is the 1955 Chevy Biscayne showcar, which had a very advanced form for the time. It featured the new V8 engine set low in a perimeter frame, which was a real breakthrough, allowing the overall height to be 52" rather than 59", as on the production Chevy of '55. Several elements of this body style showed up on later cars, the side-cove on the Corvette, the prominent front fenders on the Buick Riviera and the overall size, which foretold the Mid-size Chevelle of '64. But do you notice something familiar about the rear quarters? Image

CarMel
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:03 pm
Location: Oconomowoc. WI

Re: GM Concept cars that influenced Corvair design

Post by CarMel »

Here's a view of the rear, with the unique shape we've come know as the EM Corvair's. I helped out on the fiberglass portion of this restoration, here at the Chicago shop that was handling the job for Joe Bortz. The bumpers, taillights and exhaust bezels were newly made-up items since the tail had been badly damaged. I used NOS '60 Corvair taillight assemblies from Clark's and adapted them to the slightly smaller original openings, since they were the closest to the original design. The three-piece bumper treatment wound up on the '61 Corvette, but the upper belt-line was built upon to become the most striking feature of the new Corvair, extending around the entire car.

Yes, it would have been a hit, since the overall dimensions were so close to the '64 Mustang's!
I know because I measured it while I was working on the project. Chevy could have 'scooped' the Mustang by at least 5 years!
Image

CarMel
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Location: Oconomowoc. WI

Re: GM Concept cars that influenced Corvair design

Post by CarMel »

If you're thinking, I haven't ever heard of this concept before, you're not alone. Unfortunately, GM had it scrapped in 1959. but the junkyard held onto the cut up body pieces, since they were fiberglass and couldn't be put in the metal scrap pile. So they languished for 30 years, until they were re-discovered in 1989. Here's the 'as-found' photo from that day. Actually, this was taken after they placed it up on a chassis to roll out of the scrapyard, since the original chassis had made it into the metal pile and was long gone.
Image

CarMel
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Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:03 pm
Location: Oconomowoc. WI

Re: GM Concept cars that influenced Corvair design

Post by CarMel »

In the summer of 2008, the car was shown at Pebble Beach, along with many of GM's other showcars from that era. Joe got a special dispensation to show the car in this still-rough condition, since it's all part of the story. The car is now undergoing the final step of the restoration, the painting and upholstery and will be just as pretty as the first pic in this series. You can see how compact the overall car is in this shot.

But there were two other concept vehicles that were 'scrapped' at the same time and they were very early design studies for the Corvair. They also have been saved.....one of them is just behind the Biscayne in this shot, with its 13" wheels.
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UNSAFE
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Re: GM Concept cars that influenced Corvair design

Post by UNSAFE »

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Kevin Willson
1965 Monza 3.1
Juneau Alaska

CarMel
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Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:03 pm
Location: Oconomowoc. WI

Re: GM Concept cars that influenced Corvair design

Post by CarMel »

Thanks for the extra black and whites of these great concept cars!

Here's one of the '56 Impala in color. Too bad this was one of the cars that didn't get saved from the crusher.
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