Tag: Corvair

Reconsidering the 1972 NHTSA Report on the Corvair

If you’re at all familiar with the Corvair, Chevrolet’s air-cooled, rear-engined six-cylinder compact, you’re almost certainly aware that consumer advocate Ralph Nader famously lambasted it as a “‘one-car’ accident” in his 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed: The designed-in dangers of the American automobile, whose first chapter is devoted to the Corvair. You may also have heard that an investigation conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the early 1970s refuted Nader’s charges, declaring that the early Corvair’s handling was perfectly safe. However, the facts aren’t so clear cut — and neither is the ostensible exoneration of the Corvair.

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Patronism, Part 4

In addition to the piece I published on the Patreon page the other day about Reconsidering the NHTSA Evaluation of the Early Corvair, I published a follow-up, Reconsidering the Optional Corvair Suspension, discussing the RPO 696 heavy-duty suspension. This also is a Patreon exclusive for the time being; the NHTSA piece will run here for free in June, but I haven’t decided yet about the newer item. My goal is not to move Ate Up With Motor to the Patreon platform (which has some limitations I find frustrating when it comes to posting longer articles), but to try to build some interest in the Patreon page. As I’ve mentioned, my current financial situation is very dire, to the point that my friends have started a GoFundMe campaign for me, so trying to monetize Ate Up With Motor more than I have been able to in recent years is an important step. (ETA: As of May 16, 2024, the campaign has reached its goal — thank you all so much!)

Patronism, Part 3

In a fairly shameless bid to drive interest in the new Ate Up With Motor Patreon page, I’ve posted a new 4,000-word piece there about the 1972 NHTSA report that supposedly exonerated the early (1960–1963) Chevrolet Corvair of charges of evil handling. Because I think the subject is ultimately of (some) public interest, my plan is to eventually make that post publicly available here, but it will only be available to paid Patreon members until at least June 1, 2024.

Son of Stingray: The 1969-1973 Opel GT

The 1969 Opel GT was Opel’s first show car and the German company’s first two-seat sports car since before World War II. Based on the humble Kadett B and often considered a miniature Corvette, the GT also owed a great deal to Chevrolet’s compact Corvair and a concept car once intended to replace the ‘Vette. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we take a look at the origins, history, and fate of the 1969–1973 Opel GT and its various planned successors.
1971 Opel GT badge
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Falling Star: The Checkered History of the Chevrolet Vega

It sounded so promising at the time. After years of dismissing imported compacts as cars for kooks, GM was finally going to build an attractive, sophisticated subcompact featuring the latest advances in manufacturing technology. To follow that, Chevrolet was going to offer a sporty version with a racy twin-cam engine built by the legendary English firm Cosworth. It was the car that was going to save America for American cars — that is, until it all went wrong. This is the story of the 1971-1977 Chevrolet Vega and 1975-1976 Cosworth Vega.

1971 Chevrolet Vega badge

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The Crown Corvair V-8

What does nearly every car produced anywhere since the days of the Model T have in common? Other than wheels, it’s the inevitability that sometime, somewhere, somebody has stuffed a small-block Chevy V8 into it. We’ve yet to hear of a V8 Prius and there might be a Russian ZiL or two that remains innocent of the Mouse Motor, but everything else from ’32 Fords to RX-7s, has at one time or another had the ubiquitous Chevrolet engine stuffed under the hood — or wherever else it might fit.

The author recent met some of the members of the South Coast CORSA (Corvair Society of America) chapter and had a chance to see some of the cars owned by the members. Aside from Greg Vargas’s cherry black Monza (pictures of which appeared in our recent Corvair article), we also came face to face with a highly unusual example of the Corvair breed: Chuck Rust’s Crown V8 Corvair, a car that is no longer quite a Corvair, but a Corv-8.
Crown Equipped sticker on a 1965 Crown V8 Corvair
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First, Foremost: The First-Generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Nobody, least of all Ford, expected General Motors to take the success of the Ford Mustang lying down. Still, it took two and a half years for the General to field its challenger, the Chevrolet Camaro, and despite the Camaro’s fresh styling, a broad selection of engines, and a blinding array of options, the Mustang outsold it two to one.

If they couldn’t beat the Mustang on the showroom floor, Chevrolet decided, they would at least beat it at the track. GM was not officially in racing, but that didn’t stop Chevrolet engineers from concocting a fearsome homologation special to qualify their new baby for Trans Am competition: the Camaro Z/28. This is the story of the 1967-1969 Chevrolet Camaro and Z/28.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro badge
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