Before the 1961 I had a 1963. Here is a rare photo of it !
Bill Terwillegers 1961 Corvair > Click on the small picture to enlarge.
This car will never be for sale, however anyone that is interested in refinishing this car, the lacquer is cracking and I need to have the paint replaced ! > email me. Thank you !
I am the second owner of this "1961" Corvair. I discovered this gem in 1976, with less than 16K original miles. I had to do some serious investigation into who owned the car, and if it was for sale. I was 14 years old at the time, and needless to say, everyone I asked about the car kind of ignored me, but after repeated visits to the dirt lot I did get a name and number and made the call. I found out the car has been sitting in the same dirt lot since the owner had passed away... in 1964. I asked if I could buy it, and was told it was not for sale. The person I was speaking to was the widow of the man who bought it new. She told me the story of how he was a window washer and used the car for work in the spring, summer and fall. It had never been driven in the winter months because they went to Florida and left the car in the garage until they returned home in the spring. I told her that I was 14 and that and my father and I were into Corvairs as a hobby, and that I wanted to make a "show car" and thought her car would be a perfect candidate because it was in such good shape. She paused for a long time, and then to my surprise agreed to meet with me in person. The next day she sold me the car for $200.00. My Dad and I hooked the car to his toe truck and brought her home. I can still remember that day like it was yesterday, and that 30+ years ago. I can still remember the grin on my Dads face as he said over and over "Son, you found something very special". We spent the next week closely examining the car for imperfections. It was an all original "500" series coupe. The "500" series Corvair was the "Economy" version of the "Monza" coupe. What that really means is this was the stripped down, bare bones "work car". Card board door panels, cloth bench seats, rubber carpet, no radio... and get this... no role down rear windows. The following weekend we removed the mouse infested interior to inspect the floor pans. Minor rust from rubber mats holding moisture was the only thing we found. Everything was solid. The engine was seized, but that was ok because we knew that a new power plant was going to be installed. We decided that this car was in such good shape that we would not change the body, but would change it's looks... totally. I was two years away from my learners permit. It would take a lot of paper route money to fulfill my dreams.... and my fathers shop and expertise to make it all happen. We decided this was to be my first "show car" and we wanted to make it "California Style". At the time, this was a popular idea and we went to work customizing the paint, trim, power plant and interior to our liking. The engine is a 1966 Corsa 140/4/4 3:55 Posi (1965) This project took 2 years of constant work to complete, including the 50 coats of hand rubbed lacquer and 20 coats of clear. The body has not been chopped or channeled. The rest of the car contains every possible suspension modification (at the time), and the interior and trim contains a combination of model years, including ;
1961 Front Trunk Trim (Original and still like new)
1962 Deep Button Red Seats (Gorgeous !)
1963 Double Tail Light System
1964 Rear Engine Trim Panel
1965 Side Trim Moldings
1966 "Corvair" Insignias
1967 Rear View Day / Night Mirror
The photos below are from the cars history so far. The body is as good as it gets for a car this old, really ! This car today has less than 35K original miles ! It has never scene a winter and has always been stored inside a garage under a Clarks cover, and now it has it's own enclosed trailer.
The paint job is going on 30+ years old, and the 50 coats of hand rubbed lacquer and 20 coats of clear have cracks, and needs to be replaced. Right now, I drive and enjoy the car as a Sunday driver. She is a REAL HEAD turner ... The car drives like new, and I would not hesitate to drive it anywhere in the USA at the drop of a dime (I mean quarter). We have keep it mechanically perfect !
UPDATE: I recently had a major engine problem, and had to take the car to a to a "professional" for repairs. $7000+ and 2+ months later I got the car back. It's fixed. Later this year I am going to add the whole story and scan the receipts from the shop. Let's just say you will have "raised eyebrows" when you see things like the $6.00 each for the spark plugs. They also charged me several hundred dollars to seal the complete drive train. It still leaks.
If you have read this far then you know this car will be part of my life forever. My Dad and I built it, and I will never let this car go. Because the body is so solid, I know that as long as I keep the car up and out of the weather, it will still be around long after I am gone :)
Below is the "photo history" of my 1961 Corvair 500 Series Two Door Sport Coupe. We have not had time to take 2005 photos yet, but check back often.