Saturday, February 11, 2017

1960 Chevrolet Corvair 700

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Thanks to Barn Finds fan, Jay P., for tracking down this great looking custom! This is a 1960 Chevrolet Corvair 700, no really, it is! It’s in Long Beach, California and is on Craigslist with an asking price of $3,000. This car has quite a history, being custom made by a former GM chassis engineer, and I mean custom made! Our own Jamie wrote about two handfuls of Corvairs being offered up for sale by a Detroit collector back in February, and it included this very car and some museum-quality Corvairs.

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Ok, now you know its nickname. This car started out as a four-door 700 sedan and it was basically cut in half, had 18″ removed from the center, and JB Welded back together again. No, it was welded, and not just by a shadetree mechanic, but by a former GM chassis engineer. He thought that GM should have made a shortened two-door Corvair like this, and if GM could have seen this car in 1960 they very well may have. You may have noticed that there’s an extra tail light on each side, that’s custom, too. If they would have had such a thing as reality tv in the mid-1980s when this car was built, it could have made the fabricator a star.

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What a gorgeous piece of work this was, and still is! The fabricator didn’t just use standard doors, the seller says that they “made custom longer doors utilizing sets of doors from FOUR different four door sedans. He then had custom glass cut for these custom doors.” Amazing! I can’t imagine doing that kind of custom work, but I sure applaud the folks who can master it. I’m a purist 99% of the time, but I really like this car. This rear 3/4 shot is gorgeous, in my opinion. It has the traits of a Corvair but it also looks European to me. They also “upgraded the suspension to the 1964 one year only version which was the best improved design for the 1960-64 cars with the transverse leaf spring on the rear and a sway bar up front. He also used stronger 5 lug axles from the van/truck Corvairs.”

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Yes, that’s custom AC and this car also has cruise control. I’m not a fan of the steering wheel or the velour seat fabric, but those things could always be changed. The builder “removed the 3 speed manual transmission and swapped in a 4 speed Saginaw manual with short shifter from a 1966 car,” Cool. This is a running car, but it has a big caveat, much bigger than such a short car should have.

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GAAA! That’s not a deep dish Chicago-style pizza, it’s the undercarriage, or what’s left of it. What a shame. This car started out SO well, too. Being in Michigan for years, this “car has suffered some major rust on the rocker panels, floor and the rear doglegs behind the doors from being driven in Michigan winters with salt on the road. It will need to be cut out and patched with good dry sheet metal.” Ouch, this will be a massive project to fix that rust in such a way that the car could be used again. But, according to the seller, it can be done. And, look what the original owner/fabricator did in the first place, so it definitely could be fixed. But, wow, this would be so far above my head that it’s scary. But, I have no doubt that a good number of Barn Finds readers have done rust repair maybe to even rival this amount of work. What do you think of Stubby? Cute l’il bugger, isn’t it? Can this great little car be saved or is the amount of rust just too much to make it worth the effort?