If you’re good with cars, you should know the answer. It came out during the same model year as Oldsmobile’s 1962 Jetfire, which was a limited-edition F-85 Cutlass compact with a turbo 215ci aluminum V8. But Chevrolet’s turbo motor was based on a flat-six − give up yet? The 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder!
When the Corvair was introduced for the 1960 model year, it was General Motors’ answer to the Volkswagen Beetle and other imports that were increasingly eating into the profit margins of Detroit’s Big Three. However, GM realized that utilitarian didn’t have to be boring as demonstrated by the Corvair Monza, a bucket-seat coupe that later was expanded to four-door and convertible bodystyles.
By 1962, the Corvair was riding high − perhaps not as successful as the more conventional Ford Falcon, but GM earned kudos from the automotive press, which would continue to grow with the Spyder and its turbocharged-six. Not only was it the first turbo Chevrolet, but it also was the first production turbo vehicle − period. With 150 horsepower coming from 145ci, it was the kind of American car that foreign car snobs could love.
Below you’ll find a Chevrolet promotional film from the GM Heritage Center that highlights the features, power, and performance of the new (for the time) 1962 Corvair Monza Spyder, just a few years before Ralph Nader got all uppity.