Launched in 1959 this car was perceived as GM's answer
to the influx of lower priced European economy cars into
America during the late 1950's and early 1960's.
In terms of engineering and style it was seen as refreshingly
different from the usual American conservative cars although
public opinion at the time said different.
Controversy surrounded early Corvairs culminating in
Ralph Nader to publish a book entitled "Unsafe at any Speed"
which resulted in a change in government regulations
and safety that continues even today.
Its engine was a rear-mounted, air-cooled flat six that
housed fully independent suspension. Car enthusiasts enjoyed
the European flavour of this car but this did little to
influence the ordinary buyer causing its more conventional
rivals to outsell it.
It took the Monza with its punchier motor, to find its
niche as a compact sportscar. Its fortunes improved further
in 1962 when a convertible version was released with some
being turbo-charged, a first for production cars.
Unfortunately when Ford produced the Mustang
in 1964 the
Corvair did not stand a chance. Consumers were drawn to
the Mustang's safer engineering and sporty image.
a rescue bid in 1969 with a Corvair restyle, but sales
never really recovered but today is seen as an important
car in US motoring history.