1965 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa Convertible - $34,900
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The Corsa was the top-of-the-line model and with the turbocharged engine, this convertible is probably the single most desirable of all the various Corvairs.

Is it finally time to let the lies and myths about the Corvair die? They are not and never were unsafe—as a matter of fact, only a portion of one chapter of Nader’s infamous book was devoted to the Corvair. The rest was about metal dashboards and protruding knobs and the lack of seat belts. If you can get past the nonsense, you will find that this 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa Turbo convertible is quite likely the finest of its kind in existence. And it’s one heck of a car, even today. Fast, comfortable, agile, and stylish, it’s everything you want from a hobby car and even at this price, it’s affordable. If this were a top-of-the-line Camaro convertible with every available performance-enhancing option, it would be a six-figure car. No matter how you look at it, the Corvair remains one of the biggest bangs for the buck in the entire automotive universe.

This particular 1965 Corsa convertible shows just over 36,000 original miles, and there’s little doubt about the figure being correct. It’s incredibly straight, clean, and tight, the feeling that only comes from a car that hasn’t been used, disassembled, and put back together again. The Corsa was the top-of-the-line model and with the turbocharged engine, this convertible is probably the single most desirable of all the various Corvairs. Code E Danube Blue metallic is this car’s original color and it was recently and comprehensively repainted in two-stage urethane that looks simply spectacular. We have a photo album that shows it being taken down to bare metal and only a few small areas were patched—the usual spots at the lower edge of the rear quarters and just ahead of the doors. Nothing major and the work was obviously correctly done with fresh metal welded in place. No worries there. The shine and gloss are far better than new and the fit of the doors, hood, and deck lid is pretty darned good for a Corvair. All the structural members underneath, which are particularly critical on convertible Corvairs, are in excellent shape and there’s zero sag so the doors close without a major slam. It also features a correct argent silver insert on the tail panel, fresh chrome on the bumpers, new emblems, and a sporty luggage rack on the deck lid. And Corvair experts will quickly spot the “Turbocharged” emblems that signify that this is no garden-variety economy car. The only notable modification is a 1968 Camaro front spoiler, but nobody is going to complain about the way this neat little ragtop looks.

The trim tag says this car originally came with code 733 blue vinyl, but during the restoration handsome black and white houndstooth cloth and vinyl were used—a familiar Chevy performance look that’s a lot more comfortable if you’re going to be out in the sun. The work was quite expertly done and it certainly looks as if the factory did the work, complete with the buttons in the seat backs. There’s new stuffing underneath, so the buckets are supportive for longer drives and obviously the door panels were upholstered to match. New carpets are protected by Chevrolet-logo rubber mats and the little mini console around the 4-speed manual shifter has a woodgrain pattern that warms up the interior just a little. A full array of factory gauges, including a tachometer, keeps an eye on the turbocharged six and the 36,669 miles shown on the odometer are authentic. The factory AM radio has been upgraded with an auxiliary input and there’s an accessory GM tissue dispenser that’s a fun addition. A white convertible top looks bright and crisp against the blue paint and includes a matching blue boot to finish it off. The forward trunk is beautifully upholstered in matching blue carpet and includes access to the master cylinder and a bottle of windshield washer solvent, as original.

The mechanical specifications on this Corsa read like something a lot more exotic (read: Porsche 911 Turbo). The 164 cubic inch air-cooled flat six has an aluminum case and has proven itself durable over the past five decades. Adding a turbocharger completely transforms the stout little six, boosting it to 180 horsepower and a rather surprising 232 pounds of torque, which you can really feel. With just 36,000 miles on it, the engine has never needed any major service, although it has been recently tuned, the carburetor was rebuilt, and an electronic ignition system was installed to light it up reliably. Incidentally, the side-draft carburetor is the same unit used on the earliest Corvettes with the Blue Flame Six and it works quite well thanks to an adjustable fuel pressure regulator (no more flooding after you shut it off as most Turbo owners will mention). A few chrome dress-up pieces really make it sparkle, but it is not drastically modified, so it starts easily, idles properly, and drives like it should. The turbo remains very low-key, offering a nice swell of torque but no peaky off-throttle shenanigans and you might swear that there’s a V8 working back there the way it digs out of corners in 2nd or 3rd gear.

1965 was a great year for Corvairs because the suspensions were upgraded to something very akin to that used in the Corvette. No more swing axles that were the cause of Nader’s consternation, but correct lateral links and coil springs to keep the tires planted properly. A 4-speed manual transmission is the only way to properly enjoy the turbo’s wondrous torque and it’s a joy to row it through the gears even the Saginaw gearbox is way back there with the engine. I promise you won’t miss any shifts. For a car with such impressive cornering, this Corvair has an astoundingly supple ride, ignoring bumps that make Camaros and Corvettes rattle and there’s hardly a shiver through the steering column. Brakes are the same size as those used on the much larger Chevelle/Malibu, so you will find that stopping power is extremely impressive, even without discs. Note that the floors are completely original and all the factory reinforcements are in place, plus the bell pan that protects the shift mechanism. There’s a new muffler out back that has the right muted sound and it sits on recent 185/80/13 whitewall radials on original wheels with wire hubcaps.

There’s quite a bit of documentation with this Corvair, including a photo album of the restoration, several small notebooks with the last two owners’ maintenance work, receipts, an original owner’s manual, and even a T-shirt with a photo of this car silkscreened on it. You can tell that this car has always been loved.

Corvairs have always been under-appreciated, but like all cars, the best ones inevitably rise to the top. Interest in Corvairs has been steadily rising, particularly the Greenbrier vans, and there’s no question that the 4-speed Corsa Turbo convertible is the most desirable of all. With low mileage, an excellent restoration, and lots of paperwork to back it up, this is the Corvair to own for posterity if you’re serious about Chevy performance. Call today!

Vehicle: 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa Convertible
Price: $34,900
Stock Number: 115049
Mileage: 36,669
VIN: 107675W221627
Engine: 164 cubic inch flat-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.55
Wheelbase: 108 inches
Wheels: 13-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 185/80/13 Bridgestone radial
Exterior Color: Danube Blue
Interior Color: Black and white houndstooth
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