1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster
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Community Lounge, Introductions and General Discussion Discussion, 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster in General Discussion; Alright, So some of you know that I have been working on something very dangerous. Something unsafe... at any speed. ...
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    Lupin's Avatar
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    1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    Alright, So some of you know that I have been working on something very dangerous. Something unsafe... at any speed. Well, I figured I may as well share my progress with you guys here.

    A few months back Stingroo and I were playing Forza motorsport, and an update came out which included the Corvair. I immediately was drawn to the vehicle, and playing with it from the seat of my ultra high-tech prosche simulator box, I fell in love with it. Roo recalls me asking "why do people hate these cars so much?" To which he replied "Ralph Nader." At that point I went offline.



    Well, then in real life, literally less than 48 hours later. I showed up with this.



    I found it in Merrit Island, just west of Cocoa beach. Rotting away on the side of the road with a bunch of stickers in the window. "1964 CORVAIR MONZA CONVERTIBLE. NEEDS CARBS CLEANED AND GAS TANK DRAINED." I spoke with the chap who owned it, he had told me it wouldn't crank over. I had brought my go-bag with all kinds of test equipment, enough to make any vehicle within reason start. I show up, and I say "I want to test it." He looked at my blankly, and said "well there's no battery." To which I replied, "I brought a jump box, let me see the key." At that point he hands me a small masterlock padlock key. I look up at him, expecting him to laugh at the joke he just made. He didn't. I said 'this is the key?" "Yes that is the only key the car came with." Much to my surprise, I put it in the ignition, attempted to turn it, and miraculously, it wouldn't do a thing! Because it is not a padlock. It is a car. It was heavily rusted in some parts, great in others. Everything was there. All I had to go on when I got the car was a title and a good feeling, so we negotiated, and I put it on a flatbed and took it home.



    First thing I did was break into the car and take the locks out, then take them to an antiquities locksmith. To my great pleasure, all the cylinders matched! One key did everything. Over the next few days I found that the gas tank didn't need to be drained at all! God had taken care of that for me, through the miraculous combined efforts of corrosion and gravity! I sprayed starting fluid (I call it 'special juice') into the intake manifolds, after replacing the battery, turned the key, and it sputtered and twitched. This was a good sign. After patching the tank, and rebuilding the cars' two single barrel carburetors, re-did the fuel lines, and cranked the engine over, with a bit of prayer. It started!!!! Then stopped. I found it would stay alive at high RPM's. So I pull the vacuum advance, and it died immediately. Clearly timing was to blame. I re-timed the engine using the "old fashioned" method (left till it pings, then right a bit.) and the car ran like a top!



    After that, I went to go take it for a ride. Filled up the brake fluid, let out the clutch, and she carried along fine! Then I... well... hit the brakes. Yeah... After some creative engine braking and swearing and cursing, I got the car back into my driveway. It was pissing brake fluid from all the lines. New brake lines were $200! So I said to myself, "Know what's less than that? A roll of tubing." So I spent my free time the next couple days under the car with a flaring tool and a line bender, and completely re-plumbed it. Bled it, and bam! Brakes. With some more tuning, I had the car going like a scalded cat! I was commuting with the little scamp already, and it was loving every moment of it, and getting 24MPG in the process!




    However there are still issues. There is quite a bit of rust on this car. The floor pans are SHOT, and the rockers are on their last legs. This being GM's first unibody car, those are the main structural components of the vehicle, which cause things like the doors being very difficult to close, especially with the convertible top down.



    I ordered some new floor panels and other bits, and drove the car over 200 miles to my body guy, who has agreed to take on the body project. (The car was a champ the whole ride, by the way. It did vapor lock after I sat in traffic for a while, though. I was too lazy to insulate fuel lines. Lesson learned.) I am planning on connecting the car's two subframes, making the body much more solid. I expect this to greatly improve handling. As of right now, the car is with my body man, who is doing the welding, patching, and metalwork. This is the latest photo I have of the progress.


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    talismandave's Avatar
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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    Thank's man! I love it. Nadar was a jerk. he could have gone after any rear drive/rear enging car. The only reason the poor Corvair was the victim was the mass production and relative power in the hands of clueless Americans. If Porsche had sold multiple hundreds of thousands, they would have been his target!
    Thanks for the thread and keep us updated. Even people who don't love them like me can still enjoy a good "return from the ashes" story.
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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    Nader also didn't want to offend his Volkswagen driving constituency. Let's face it, it was more lucrative for a counter culture, fame seeking young attorney to take on GM and make a name for himself than to tell the truth and indict the "hippies" favorite transport the VW Bug. To have cited the "bug" for evil handling and other "Unsafe at Any Speed" traits would have brought the rath of counter culture adults and children who rallied around him!
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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    Not bad. Not bad at all, especially with 24 mpg. Glad you are enjoying the project.

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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    From what I read on the subject, records indicate that Nader was approached by lobbyists SPECIFICALLY to attack GM. This was about 1964 when he was approached. Now, the '60-'63 corvair DID have issues with the rear suspension tucking under, but to be honest, you had to be going WAY TOO FAST in a corner for that to happen, but regardless, GM buffed up the suspension in '63 and added a stabilizer bar in '64, so by the time Nader was approached, the problem was gone! Tests performed by the government after Nader's book killed this charming little guy's lineage, indicated it was just as, if not safer, than the European alternatives. It's a real interesting thing to wonder... The Corvair was SUCH a modular vehicle. Trunk space is INCREDIBLE, better than cars twice the size, incredibly modular (how many other cars share architecture with a convertible, saloon, pickup truck, van, station wagon, and RV?) Very efficient, my four speed manual 'vair, on the 200 miles trot to south Florida, actually got 28 highway MPG, and I haven't even finished tuning it! GM's first electric conversion... a Corvair. Second turbocharged vehicle. It's a hotbed of innovation. Then after it was deemed unsafe, what did they call its replacement? The Nova. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Nova, but you can't help but wonder what things would be like today if we had kept developing this formula back in the 60's and 70's.

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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    Excellent work, Matt. Glad you decided to bring the old girl back from the brink!

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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    I've always had a soft spot for the Corvair. IMO it has to be one of the most radical things GM ever sold, and this coming from a company at the time who liked to play it safe with the mechanicals of their cars.
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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    I always wanted to put one of them engines in a VW.
    I still think they are kool cars. The poor mans Porsh.

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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    The Corvair is a pretty sweet looking little car. I always have liked them. Their best quality is their uniqueness, in my opinion. They actually have character. Convertible, too... The only way to go.
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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    I am trying to map out a sound system for the thing. I think I am going to somehow hide a 6" bazooka tube up under the dash. I am not sure if that will be too big, though. I am also going to convert it to a dual pot master cylinder for better brake proportioning. As far as sound goes, I am VERY restricted. I was thinking I may put, up in the of the front corners of the "firewall," some vertically mounted 4x10's (like those in old Saabs) in a bit of MDF. There is also a kit to mount 5" speakers up above the fresh air exhaust of the cabin, but I'm not sure if that would be enough sound for me, with the top down. Right now some PO has mounted patio speakers haphazardly on the firewall, which is charming in its own right.

    Here is a pic of the interior of a similar car. If you guys have any ideas, I would love to hear them.

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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    Does this ever bring back memories - I owned 2 Corvairs - a '61 coupe, ordered with the optional 98 hp 4-speed, white on green vinyl. The second was a '64 Spyder turbo coupe, white on red vinyl. I drove the entire Northeast, summer and dead winter, in both cars with few problems and no handling problems - even at the time most Corvair owners thought Nader was a true jackass. You'll remember that the entire line of incredible air cooled rear-engined Porsches sailed right through the whole mess..............

    For history, the Spyder was the machine that coined the "turbo muffler" - now synonymous with a low back pressure "performance" muffler.........but the Spyder had no wastegate and no turbo boost limiter (as such). It used a single barrel side draft carburetor with a bore size to limit inlet air flow at redline rpm, and the single (chrome outlet) muffler was designed with an increasing backpressure curve to limit turbo speed at high rpm. Pass that on to your "performance" friends.

    Lupin, Just under the radio pod in my '61 I installed an ammeter and oil pressure gauge - the ammeter was a 30 amp unit wired to a shunt at the alternator (alternators were optional - yours has the stock generator), and the oil pressure was a StewartWarner electric unit wired to a sending unit on the rear clip bulkhead - I used a brazed pipe T and flex hydraulic hose to the oil pressure port so I still had the idiot light sending switch and the gauge pressure sender.

    EDIT: There is no gear shift on earth that is any slower and sloppier than that 5-foot long setup. It's like driving a bowl of ice cream with a straw stuck in it. I had forgotten about the real hand emergency brake. Several Corvairs had water poured into the oil fill cap............."Lady, you're low on water" says the non-air cooled pump jockey.

    Another edit: it's all coming back..........Keep an eye on the generator and idler pulley mounting bolts - they have a tendency to work loose, and then, no air cooling fan. You might hit JC Whitney or some such for a cooling fan center bearing assembly - cheap, but that belt puts a LOT of side load on the fan. I'm waiting for someone to ask "What's the dipstick in the firewall ?"
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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    My dad had a 64 he drove for 135,000 miles and traded on a 68 Buick Special wagon. The salesman was mad that my dad wouldn't lie about the mileage being over 100,000, then tried to get him to sign a blank title statement. This was the morning he left to trade it.
    64 Corvair050.jpg
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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    Quote Originally Posted by Lupin View Post
    From what I read on the subject, records indicate that Nader was approached by lobbyists SPECIFICALLY to attack GM. This was about 1964 when he was approached. Now, the '60-'63 corvair DID have issues with the rear suspension tucking under, but to be honest, you had to be going WAY TOO FAST in a corner for that to happen, but regardless, GM buffed up the suspension in '63 and added a stabilizer bar in '64, so by the time Nader was approached, the problem was gone! Tests performed by the government after Nader's book killed this charming little guy's lineage, indicated it was just as, if not safer, than the European alternatives. It's a real interesting thing to wonder... The Corvair was SUCH a modular vehicle. Trunk space is INCREDIBLE, better than cars twice the size, incredibly modular (how many other cars share architecture with a convertible, saloon, pickup truck, van, station wagon, and RV?) Very efficient, my four speed manual 'vair, on the 200 miles trot to south Florida, actually got 28 highway MPG, and I haven't even finished tuning it! GM's first electric conversion... a Corvair. Second turbocharged vehicle. It's a hotbed of innovation. Then after it was deemed unsafe, what did they call its replacement? The Nova. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Nova, but you can't help but wonder what things would be like today if we had kept developing this formula back in the 60's and 70's.
    Yes, the Corvair did have an issue with its' rear wheels tucking in and loosing traction while making turns. But so did Volkswagen and, at lest, Mercedes of the same time period. All you have to do is lift the rear of a Volkswagen of that era and watch the rear wheels point in at the bottom. The same thing was true if you you jacked up the rear of a "Ponton" series or later Mercedes. The superior "German Engineering" answer to independent rear suspension left a lot to be desired when it came to vehicle control. In the mid sixties the US Army's new Jeeps also came with the "swing axle" independent rear suspension which was responsible for many a wreck during those years, this series Jeep was quickly phased out in th early seventies.

    The above facts are why Nader's attacks on GM and the Corvair were just a publicity seeking ploy to make a career for a young lawyer who was too impatient to make a career in "Big Law." The press was also implicit in aiding and abetting this unjust attack. Even though the problem with the swing axle tip in on the first Corvairs had already been remedied (and the VW continued this design for another 5 years) the press in its' usual manner of ignorance and the ever present editorial impulse to put sensationalism over reality on their front pages. They killed what was, in its final iteration, one of the safer and better handling American cars of the period .... and never mentioned that GM, the British and the Italians had found a much better solution to independent rear suspension in the late fifties and certainly by the mid sixties!
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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    Quote Originally Posted by talismandave View Post
    My dad had a 64 he drove for 135,000 miles and traded on a 68 Buick Special wagon. The salesman was mad that my dad wouldn't lie about the mileage being over 100,000, then tried to get him to sign a blank title statement. This was the morning he left to trade it.
    Attachment 94083
    A nice Corvair, a handsome young lad, but best of all a beautiful Boxer!
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    Re: 1964 Corvair Monza - Operation Crustbuster

    Here I thought someone would notice the bulk gas tank leaning against the house.(Right under my bedroom window.) Because dad drove so many miles a year he had a jobber deliver to the house. The boxer was our second one. She was 1 1/2 when we got her from a breeder who raised show dogs. She was the least classic boxer (to breed standard) we had. She was either abused or neglected and was afraid of everything, especially men. Wonderful family dog though. She was the one that adopted the four kittens and behaved like their mother.Cindy and Tom054.jpg
    Damn now I'm jacking Lupins thread, I'm gonna get a
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