The Chevrolet Corvair; a unique rear-engine car made from 1960 through 1969, which gained most of its fame from its inclusion in the book “Unsafe at Any Speed” by Ralph Nadar. Other than that, not too many Chevy fans have paid much attention to the car except for those who still see potential in the underestimated car to this day. Chuck Rust is such an enthusiast, as Mike Musto finds out in this week’s episode of Big Muscle. Don’t think that a Corvair can cut it in the realm of performance cars? Then check out the video above and prepare to be amazed.
In all fairness, we’re not talking about any old Corvair here. In fact, we’re talking about a 1965 Corvair Crown V8- a Corvair that has been fitted with a Chevy small block V8 in place of its original six-cylinder power plant.
In doing such a swap, the car gains the maneuverability and stability of any mid-engine sports car.
Inspired by the original Corv-8 conversion kit designed by Ted Trevor in the sixties, the V8 conversion kits are still available to any enthusiast willing to put in the time and effort to their unique project. And yes, that’s A LOT of time and effort, as dozens of components must be removed, reworked or rerouted for the ultimate prize. But that prize is certainly worth it for some.
A pure basket case when Rust first picked up the vehicle, the Crown V8 is now a potent 310 horsepower two-seater getting all its power from a Chevy 283ci engine. Sure, it’s not the 500+ horsepower cars we see today, but considering where this car started and where it is now at some 48 years later, this unique ride is quite amazing.
In addition to the small block V8, Rust has equipped his car with Corvette disc brakes in the front, front and rear sway bars, and 15-inch wheels. The car was also lowered with cut coils to dial in the handling beautifully.
Not your typical muscle car, this Corvair is surprising even to us. So much for unsafe at any speed, huh Nadar?