Chevrolet's answer to the Volkswagen Beetle was the pretty Corvair whose engine was rear-mounted and air-cooled - the first such mass-produced car with those features. Selling for half the price of a Ford Thunderbird, it was one of Detroit's answer to the clamor for economy compacts. The other cars to follow suit to the changing times were the Ford Falcon and Plymouth Valiant.
1966 Corvair Monza Convertible
But the days of the Corvair was numbered. On top of competition from the new Ford Mustang, Ralph Nader's book Unsafe at Any Speed, claimed that crashes related to uninstalling a crucial $15 suspension stabilizing bar to earlier Corvairs was done by Chevrolet in order to cut costs. Chevrolet's decision to redesign the suspension in 1965 models was too late to stem the bad publicity and decreased sales. Sales fell from 220,000 in 1965 to half that in 1966.
A 1972 safety commission report conducted by Texas A&M University contradicted Nader's claim and concluded on its 143-page report that "the 1960–1963 Corvair possessed no greater potential for loss of control than its contemporary competitors in extreme situations." Nader's claim was without merit and four contemporary cars—a Ford Falcon, Plymouth Valiant, Volkswagen Beetle, and Renault Dauphine—along with a second-generation Corvair (with its completely redesigned, independent rear suspension) have comparable results when tested on handling and stability in extreme situations.
But also faced with competition from the Ford Mustang, Chevy's own Camaro, and other pony cars, GM's management had lost interest in continuing production of the Corvair which had been costly to produce but was not offered at a premium price.
1966 Corvair Monza Specs
1966 Corvair Monza Specs:
Transmission Three-speed manual, optional four-speed manual, or two-speed Powerglide automatic.
1966 Chevrolet Convair Monza Convertible
The 1966 Monzas remained essentially unchanged from 1965. One notable change was a new four-speed synchromesh transmission using the standard Saginaw gear set with 3.11:1 first gear ratio used by other GM 6-cylinder vehicles.
The steering column was changed to a two-piece design with universal joint, lessening the danger of intrusion during a front end collision (actually a mid-1965 running change).
A plastic air dam was installed below the front valence panel to conceal the front suspension and underbody, and lessen crosswind sensitivity.
In front, The "lock door" emblem was changed from red to blue and featured a shorter bar.
Air conditioned cars received a new condenser that was mounted in front of the engine.
The Corvair script nameplate was moved from atop the trunk lid to a position next to the driver's side headlight bezel.
But still, sales began a decline as a result of Nader's book. A decision was
made to discontinue production of the car.
History of the Automobile:
Forerunners of the Modern Automobile
Early 1900's cars
More About 20's Cars
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1950's Imported Cars
1960's Economy Cars 1962 Ford Falcon 1966 Corvair Monza
1960's Muscle Cars Dodge Charger Daytona Dodge Charger R/T 1966 Pontiac GTO
1960's Pony Cars 1964 Ford Mustang 1967 Shelby GT500 1967 Camaro Convertible 1964 Plymouth Barracuda 1968 Mercury Cougar
1960's Foreign Cars 1963 Austin Mini Cooper 1966 AC Cobra 427 1967 Alfa Romeo Spider 1960 Aston Martin DB4
Classic 60's American Cars 1963 Buick Riviera Dodge Charger Daytona Dodge Charger R/T 1962 Ford Falcon 1962 Ford Galaxie 500XL 1964 Ford Mustang 1967 Shelby GT500 1963 Corvette Sting Ray 1966 Corvair Monza 1967 Camaro Convertible 1964 Oldsmobile Starfire 1964 Plymouth Barracuda 1968 Mercury Cougar 1966 Pontiac GTO 1969 Corvette Stingray
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