Early Model - what should I buy?

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Bruins_Fan
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Early Model - what should I buy?

Unread post by Bruins_Fan » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:11 am

I don't have garage space now, but will likely be moving within a year or so (two car garage is mandatory!). And with a move coming, we will probably be renting a storage unit to clear out some stuff in the basement and where I could also park a car as soon as next spring. :tu: In the meantime, I'm learning as much as I can reading and perusing Corvair ads on craigslist, ebay, forums, etc. I'm not a mechanic by any measure, but am anxious to learn and work on my Corvair once I have it. I'll be buying an early model and based on prices I'm seeing, it will be in very good-excellent condition....that's the plan anyway!

Few questions for the experienced owners here:
I believe I read on one of the forums that it might be better to avoid a turbo model due to it being more complicated and with my lack of auto repair experience. Does that make sense...for me to go "no turbo"? And how about transmission? Are the manuals a better choice (mechanically speaking), or Powerglide for a new inexperienced owner? I'm not adamant either way on manual vs. auto.

I'm aware of the differences on the swing axle as of the 1964 model year vs earlier models. Any other compelling reasons on going '64 vs an earlier year? I've been thinking 1962-64 and simply finding a car in the best possible condition.

I appreciate the input. I'm sure I'll have more questions, too.

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bbodie52
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Re: Early Model - what should I buy?

Unread post by bbodie52 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:49 pm

1964 was the year of several upgrades, refinements, and introductions...
  • Front suspension stabilizer bar on all models.
  • Rear suspension transverse leaf spring and coil spring rate modifications to improve stability and handling of the rear swing-axle suspension.
  • Engine displacement increase from 145 CI to 164 CI via long-stroke crankshaft. Associated horsepower increase to 95 hp and 110 hp.
  • Introduction of lightweight magnesium cooling fan to improve fan belt reliability.
  • Improvements in Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system over that introduced in 1963.
  • Brakes were improved with finned rear drum.
The maximum horsepower rating of the turbocharged engine remained at 150 hp, despite the displacement increase to 164 CI. This was primarily due to an unmodified turbocharger capacity, which did not occur until 1965 (180 hp).

The turbocharged Spyder is a fun car to drive, but perhaps less-practical as a daily driver. It demands more-expensive Premium fuel, while the other engines can often tolerate Regular or mid-grade lower octane fuels. It also gets relatively poor gas mileage when compared to the normally-aspirated engines (depending on the driver's habits and use of the boosted engine). It can be more-difficult to tune properly. The Carter YH carburetor has a somewhat poor reputation, and the pressure retard device on the distributor is not consistent in operation. Premium fuel, proper tuning and driving habits, and the pressure retard device are the only protection from engine detonation that can cause engine damage. Excessive long-term operation of the turbocharger-boosted intake system can over-tax the engine and cause damage. Basically it was an economical early turbocharged engine design with limited technology to protect the engine. Properly tuned and maintained and operated by a knowledgeable owner the Spyder can be fun to own.
Brad Bodie
Lake Chatuge, North Carolina
Image 1966 Corvair Corsa Convertible

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Bruins_Fan
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Re: Early Model - what should I buy?

Unread post by Bruins_Fan » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:51 pm

Thanks for the feedback, Brad. Much appreciated.

Frank DuVal
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Re: Early Model - what should I buy?

Unread post by Frank DuVal » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:04 pm

The Powerglide is a more bullet proof transmission than the manuals. Although now that the seals in most Powerglides are 50 years old, they also can need attention.

Manuals usually develop loose flywheel rivets, unless cured by previous owner with a bolted flywheel.

Buy what you like! :clap:

Do not buy what you do not like and then try to change the car from manual to automatic or vice versa. Lots of little parts needed. :banghead:

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Trip
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Re: Early Model - what should I buy?

Unread post by Trip » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:36 am

I'll weigh in here with some opinions.

Turbo cars are a really cool novelty, but they are less reliable and need more attention. In really hot weather or mountainous country overheating can be serious problem. Consider them to be for "advanced" Corvair owners. If I was to own only one Corvair it would not be a turbo.

What year you ask? I suggest 62-64. 60's should be avoided unless you specifically want to deal with some of the headaches that come with them. Certain parts can be harder to get and if it has the original 1960 engine you have the terrible 1960 choke setup. 1961 is a fine car, and if you find a nice one you really like go for it, but there are some parts on the '61 as well that differ from the later cars and can be difficult to find. If it's an original '61 engine it has a manual choke (only year for that), which works fine but some ladies don't appreciate having to use it and the engine room part which can be problematic is not available new at all. My wife has one and she likes it just fine. =D

Are 64's the best? Well, they are generally considered to be probably the best year for build quality. They have the slightly larger engine, magnesium fan, and the transverse leaf spring in the rear.

That said, I personally wouldn't pay any more for a 64 than for a 62 or 63. If you want to autocross it, or otherwise think a little bit more performance is important to you than maybe you should look for a 64. Aside from that I wouldn't worry about it. Contrary to what some folks believe the earlier early-models handle just fine, even on the race track! The performance difference isn't exactly earth shattering either, and if you run your fan belt loose and replace it once a year or so you shouldn't have any trouble with the steel fan.

For me the biggest factor in considering 64 vs 62 and 63 is appearance. I'm not a fan of the aluminum trim on the 64 that includes wheel arch trim front and year with integrated rocker trim, mostly just because that wheel arch trim is an obstacle to installing larger than factory wheels/tires. I like the 63 tail light lenses best and the 63 style bright dash trim best. I like the 61 and 62 nose trim best, and the 61-62 has a brighter color red for the interior (if equipped) that I prefer. I don't like the checkered pattern on the 62 bright dash trim and I'm not a fan of the mylar on the 62 interior door panels. All personal preference, yours will probably differ from mine.

Happy shopping, when the time comes. =D
Ray "Trip" Rodriguez III
Gouldsboro, PA
66 Corsa 140 coupe
65 Corsa 180 Turbocharged coupe
64 Monza Convertible
61 Air conditioned Monza coupe (Missy's)
See them here: https://tinyurl.com/ydc7txrf

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Bruins_Fan
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Re: Early Model - what should I buy?

Unread post by Bruins_Fan » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:13 am

Great stuff guys, very helpful! :ty:

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