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Project Cars: Introducing the CorBaron

Well, long story short, my 88 Mustang, The Grey Ghost, is gone from my care. It has returned to my parents. So that means its high time for a new project car. From the past projects I’ve taken on, I knew I wanted to head back to the pre-smog arena ala the Ratsun Truck. I also knew it had to be a different format than the current selection of vehicles (wagon and hatchback), as that was one of the issues with the Ghost. That really left 3 options: sedan, truck, or convertible. Sedan is boring, regular, and just not me at this point in time (though I wouldn’t pass over a mid-70’s Mercedes sedan on air). I spent a lot of time on craigslist and BAT, then something came along via the father-in-law. He had a car he wasn’t allowed to keep at the house (a common story for him), and it interested me.

The car in question is a 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Turbo Spyder. Yes, unsafe at any speed! This is the first production car with a turbo, and the first year of that turbo to boot. While early model (EM) Corvairs did in fact have an issue with snap oversteer, this was mainly due to the overinflation of the front tires. There should be a 10 psi deficit between the front and rear tires, with the front having less. The other item is the fact that the rear outside tire can “tuck under” under aggressive handling. This was remedied in 1964 via a traverse leaf that comes with the car. It also has the front sway bar to further aide handling. Another item to assist with the oversteer is installing modern, wide tires, as the factory 13×5.5″ wheels leave a lot to be desired.

1962 Corvair Monza Turbo Spyder1962 Corvair 2

The current color is red with patina, along with a black interior (or lack thereof). The top is bare, but a black top was the most likely previous color. The wheels are 14″ 10-hole steelies with 205/70R14 M/S tires. The body has it’s fair share of minor dents and dings but is overall solid. The floors, however, are rusted out on the driver rear, and passenger side, along with the rear seat area. It comes with the pans for the floors, but not the rear seats. It does start and run, but needs a gas tank. Currently, the priority list is as follows:

  • install gas tank
  • convert to dual master cylinder
  • r&r brakes (new shoes, hoses, wheel cylinders)
  • install new shocks
  • install new points/condenser
  • install front seat
  • bolt down gas pedal, verify clutch/gas operation
  • replace turbo hose & vacuum lines with black silicone
  • oil change/high-volume oil pump install
  • regasket oil pan, valve cover, timing cover
  • convert to alternator
  • install magnesium fan

Lots of things to do. This should be a very entertaining car once it is done, stay tuned!

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