The Chevrolet Corvair may have been “unsafe at any speed,” but its 1965 redesign gave it modern style that was a match for any other General Motors product. Any criticisms by Ralph Nader had been addressed too, so the Corvair could built as a thoroughly modern transportation device that exhibited European-style sportiness, as this 1966 Corvair Corsa demonstrates.
When the redesigned Corvair debuted in 1965, it was unique beyond its rear-engine configuration. All Corvairs had no B-pillars, meaning all closed Corvairs were proper hardtops − unique in the compact-car field. Also notable was the independent rear suspension, a feature shared with the Corvette. Those of the more sporting persuasion opted for the new Corvair Corsa, which replaced the Monza Spyder.
The Corsa came standard with the 140-horsepower turbo flat-six with multiple carburetion, which had its origins from 1962. While this motor was available for lesser Corvairs, the Corsa was the only one to have the option of an 180-horse variant. Standard was a three-speed manual for both motors, but a four-speed manual was an option. Sporty? Sure sounds like it! Great handling and overall drivability was outstanding, but something was in the air during this time: the Mustang. While not quite the handler in comparison, the Mustang had up to 271 horses from its 289, giving Americans what they truly wanted − horsepower. While the Corvair’s 1965 sales were stellar, they fell by over 50 percent for 1966, and the trend continued through 1969 (247,092 – 109,880 – 27,253 – 15,399 – 6,000). Clearly, for as good as the Corvair was, it didn’t interest American consumers as much as more conventional models.
This 1966 Corvair Corsa was originally purchased on December 3, 1965 at Key Chevrolet in Frederick, MD. Equipped with the 140-horse 164 and the optional four-speed, it originally was painted Aztec Bronze (an awesome color when paired with the Fawn interior) but has been repainted Riverside Red, a Corvette color. Seller claims “the [previous] seller supplied a verification stating that the mileage was 23,065 when he bought it and … when I bought the car it had approximately 24,000 miles [and] the car now has a little more than 29,000 miles which is believed to be original.” Included are the original books, keys, and Protect-O-Plate. Seller shows recent maintenance updates, meaning that after paying $19,950, you should be able to hop in and drive it home. Who says you can’t afford a classic?