Bob's 1965 Monza Coupe (Updated 9/07/06)

My First Corvair

My previous experience with Corvair ownership was in the late Sixties when I owned a 1960 Coupe, 80 HP with 3 speed tranny. I had a 1960 Falcon which had developed a rod knock and a freshly printed federal tax return check in my hand. My first Vair was advertised in a local "throw away" paper for a mere $125.00. I called to inquire about it and it was immediately offered to me for $100.00. An instant discount and only a couple of minutes walking distance from my home. Upon arrival I met with the owner who immediately offered it to me for only $85.00. An "instant rebate?" Making a long story short, I bought it, repaired it using my own labor and along with about $40.00 in parts I ended up with a good running Corvair. A week later I sold the Falcon for what I had in the Corvair! Ultimately, the best parts were removed from it and placed in a 1962 Corvan as vans were popular back then.

My "New" Coupe

Purchased in May of 2004, number 137522 produced at Willow Run of 235528 Corvairs produced for the 1965 model year, she was manufactured in April 1965 and recently celebrated her 41st birthday. I had been considering buying a Corvair for about a year prior to my purchase. I felt it was important in the financial sense to get one in the best shape that I could afford and was pretty well set on having a late model but an early wasn't out of the question. (Note: I've recently purchased a 1962 Corvair station wagon which should attest for my love for the earlies too.)


WHAT I WANTED: The most important things to me were to be mostly rust free, decent paint, factory air conditioned, (working or not) a four speed transmission and some decent interior so I could enjoy driving it as I worked on the project. The condition of the engine was a minor consideration.


WHAT I GOT: I felt that I did well concerning the mostly rust free department, factory A/C, and decent interior although a bit crispy. She came with a powerglide transmission that I've learned to love and a marginal paint job. The whole brake system was completely dry, the gas tank rusted out but the engine could be turned. After the tank replacement, the usual carburetor rebuilds, a helicoil sparkplug insert in the number four cylinder, rebuilding the brake system, getting the air conditioning working and licensing I was on the road! Of course, this is the short version.


A project in process, I've added several items to dress it up. For the visual aspects, she has new paint, 14" slotted aluminum mags, and original clock in the dash, a new headliner and new upholstery for the seats. The interior is slowly getting changed to black so I don't have to mess with color matching problems. Oversized tires in the rear allow for freeway cruising at lower RPM. Since the speedometer connects to the left front wheel it's unaffected by the size of rear tires.


The headlight bezels and grille were painted black simply for the contrast. I'm not a huge fan of all the chrome that came with it but the original unpainted headlight bezels and grille are stored safely away in the garage if for any reason I decide to return the front to its original look. New repro bowtie mirrors on both sides helps me to see what's going on behind me and yes, I think they look cool. At one point the ride was getting rough, as if the oversized rear tires were square. I had them balanced twice. It turned out my front shocks were trash and I had to replace them. What a difference that made in the ride. I've also added a later model air dam to the front. That made a huge difference to the handling at freeway speeds.


The cove area and exhaust grille area were painted black to enhance my color scheme. This was NOT done to hide oil splotches as has I've been sometimes accused. Since this picture was taken I've replaced the inner lenses with the outboard type and for greater visibility and installed red LED type bulbs. The reverse lights didn't really illuminate anything so I didn't find their elimination to be much of a loss. I've also connected some small halogen fog lights to the reverse light circuit and installed them in the rear behind the grille to really light things up when I back up. I've also added bumper guards, front and rear, acquired during our last NTCA annual auction.


Here's some updates to my favorite project. After a recent top end rebuild the coupe is running great! The 95 HP heads that came with the 110 HP stock A/C engine have been replaced with 110 HP heads rebuilt by Steve Goodman in Golden, Colorado. New Clark's pistons, rings and bored cylinders also were installed for the rebuild. The old hydraulic lifters were replaced with a set from "The Source." I now have far more power then I ever imagined I would have.


The final major part of this project has been the installation of the gasoline heater. After much thought as to where I'd place it, I felt it would be best located in the pocket created by the right fender well. As you can see it's quite nicely tucked in there. The exhaust pipe for the heater exits close to the muffler. The obvious advantage to having a gasoline heater is the almost instant heat provided when it's needed. The disadvantage with it is that I'm compelled to remove it yearly and check the heat exchanger. If, for some reason, the heat exchanger should begin to leak, there's the danger of carbon monoxide fumes entering the cabin area. Like anything else that's mechanical it too needs regular maintenance. I'll admit, the main reason for installing the gas heater was due to my obsession with them, the same obsession that I have with the Corvair.

If you're read through all of this maybe you'll enjoy reading about my recently purchased Station Wagon.

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