Reader writes in about the Corvair.
Q: Greg, I enjoyed your column … on the Chevy Corvair. My dad bought a Corvair Monza Spyder that I then drove 100 miles per day back and forth to work (when he gave it to me). It was a fun car with a four-speed manual transmission, and it could also run with all but the most powerful cars back then on an equal basis. Our Monza Spyder handled great, whether it was a hot summer day or a typical New England winter.
Except for the "new" at the time serpentine fan belt that broke on my way to work one morning, that Corvair Monza was a great car. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Later, I bought a 1968 Candy Red Mustang Convertible, and the Monza was passed to my younger brother. Unfortunately, he fell asleep at the wheel and had a horrific head on crash with a 1968 bullet nosed T-Bird. Everyone survived (my brother barely), and today he is still doing OK. It wasn't the Monza's fault, but what a sad end for it.
Anyway, our Corvair Monza was great, and Ralph Nader be darned. I really enjoyed your column. I'm 68 years old. Richard Wraight, Norwich, Conn.
A: Richard, first I'm glad everyone survived that bad accident back then and your brother recovered. As I mentioned in the recent column, the Corvairs I've driven during my days have all been very road-worthy, and they handled great.
Corvairs also did well in road-racing competition, as there were some high-performance Don Yenko Corvairs available in the ’60s called the Yenko Stinger. Based on the Corsa and Monza lines, Yenko Stinger Corvairs were very popular in SCCA racing, and they won the D/Production central region title in 1966. Available in four stages of dress, Yenko Stingers came in 160-, 190-, 220- and 240-horsepower versions, all derived from Corvair's base 164-cubic-inch flat-six cylinder. A total of 185 Stingers were built in 1966 and 1967.
Yenko hailed from Pennsylvania and also built the awesome 427 Yenko Camaros with COPO (central office production order) nomenclature. COPO means Yenko took delivery of the 427 engines from GM and then installed them at his dealership in those 1967-69 Camaros with GM's blessing.
Thanks for your letter and happy holidays.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for GateHouse News Service and welcomes readers questions on collector cars at email@example.com or 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.