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    CHEVROLET CORVAIR MONZA SPYDER

    RUN BY Martin Buckley
    OWNED SINCE August 2016
    PREVIOUS REPORT Nov 2017

    / #Chevrolet-Corvair-Monza-Spyder / #Chevrolet-Corvair-Monza / #Chevrolet-Corvair / #Chevrolet / #GM

    The Corvair is now running. In fact, I commuted to my shed in it for a whole week in November before a carburettor leak stopped play (probably caused by a blocked fuel filter and/or a rusty fuel tank). A few electrical things remain on the to-do list, and I haven’t worked out yet how to make the heater function – although warm air does waft in from somewhere.

    But the point is that the car is on the road after months – possibly even years – of frustration. You may recall that I destroyed the diff in 2017 and decided to give the engine some love, on the basis that it had to come out anyway. The diff turned up in the post one morning from Clark’s Corvair – a nice surprise for me, if not for the delivery driver.
    Meanwhile, I ordered a variety of additional parts (standard rings, gaskets, a seal for the turbo and engine-shroud seals) and sent the heads over to Gardias Engine Services in Witney to lap the valves and re-cut the seats.

    By the end of May, my master mechanic Gus had everything he needed and was all set to rebuild the #flat-six . But he’s a busy boy with his Mercedes work and it wasn’t until September that he called to say it was time to get the car back to him in Swindon. A month later, Gus drove the Corvair over to me with instructions to use it and see how I get on. It starts easily and is pleasant to drive – I’m not sure what I was expecting, performance-wise, but the vacuum gauge on the dash indicates that the turbo is working. What I can say is that it feels relatively sluggish in first and second but seems to get on its toes in third and pulls well. Reading contemporary reports, this sounds about right but I can’t tell you much about what speeds it gets up to – the speedometer is stuck at 90mph. Also, the rev counter seems to be running some way behind.

    The gearchange is on the stiff side but the clutch is light and the brakes are effective enough, if slightly wooden in feel. The engine has a lovely growl and, because Gus has had the various shrouds repainted, it looks smart. I still need to rescue its battery from a Datsun Fairlady (it’s a peculiarly long, tall shape) and Gus would like to tidy up the wiring and cure a small oil leak.

    One thing that desperately needed sorting was the window in the hood, which afforded virtually zero rear vision and was plain dangerous on the road. However, once my father-in-law had attacked it with a buffing wheel and fine cutting paste, a huge improvement was achieved. The hood is pretty good otherwise, as are the white plastic seats and red carpets.

    But what you really want to know about is the handling. The truth is, I have not had a proper play with it, but even without the important differential between front and rear tyre pressures it feels very acceptable. Dropping the fronts by 10lb gives a lot more weight to the light, low-geared steering, and even then you can virtually park the Corvair with one finger. You would have to be quite committed to get into trouble, but I’ll give it a try and get back to you. The car’s future on the fleet is still in the balance, but the more I look at it, the more I like the Corvair. It is cheeky-looking but elegant, with a pretty tail treatment. These aesthetic observations have gone over the head of my wife, who was traumatised by towing me back to the shed when the diff ate itself and has also been watching hours of YouTube films showing them flipping on their sides.

    However, she’s the sort of person who would drive a skip if you told her it was a convertible, so I predict a more positive attitude in this parish when the sun comes out.

    THANKS TO
    Δ Gardias Engine Services: 01993 703053
    Δ Clark’s Corvair: www.corvair.com
    Δ Gus Meyer

    All painted, the engine looks in fine fettle

    Gus Meyer rebuilt the engine, and gave strict instructions: “Drive it and see how it goes”

    The Corvair is back on the road, but its time could soon be up – unless it continues to charm
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    Market picks up on US pick-ups

    Act swiftly to land an original hauler before they go the way of earlier trucks

    CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips

    / #1954-Chevy-3100 / #1948-Dodge-Power-Wagon / #1949-Ford-F1 / #1975-Ford-Rancher-F-250-Super-Cab / #Chevy-3100 / #Dodge-Power-Wagon / #Ford-F1 / #Ford-Rancher-F-250-Super-Cab / #Ford-Rancher-F-250 / #Ford / #Dodge / #1954-Chevrolet-3100 / #Chevrolet-3100 / #Chevrolet /

    American pick-ups are hot. Generation Xers have embraced vintage trucks in a big way and are prepared to shell out serious money for the proper stuff.

    At January’s Scottsdale auctions $74k was paid for a #1948 Dodge Power Wagon and $59k for a ’ #1949 Ford F1. Mint Seventies Ford Broncos are being advertised at $100k and hailed as blue-chip investments while Jeep CJs, Chevy C10s, 3100s, Apaches and even Silverados are all attracting interest. You can see this upswing in affection in movies like Gifted, Logan and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri where the hero drives a battered SUV or pick-up. There could be a market lift here too, because younger UK enthusiasts see these Midwest icons as cool practical classics with room to haul bikes, surboards and quads.

    I’d start looking at the Sixties/Seventies Ford F-Series because they haven’t been hyped, have that square-jawed look and aren’t expensive. ABC Auto Finders in Texas has a green ’ #1973 F-100 with 65,000 miles, 302ci V8 and lovely green velour insert seats for just £5k. With the 30-year import rule you could ship that one back and pay the 5% duty for just over £2k.

    Here in the UK a private online seller is offering an unmolested ’ #1975 Ford Rancher F-250 Super Cab with 76,000 miles, 460 V8, four-speed auto, original paint and still wearing hubcaps for £11,750. This may sound like one of my more demented predictions but these classic pick-ups have massive presence and radiate tons of American nostalgia. And don’t forget Ford now sells a new F-150 here – modern pick-ups are everywhere – so market acceptance of these utility vehicles is growing.

    Don’t go for restomods. Instead seek out the really original, stock, straight ones. Over in the US, dealers have latched on to this upsurge in demand and are trawling farm sales buying fresh-out-the-barn trucks. Some are doubling their money overnight.

    You could do worse than look at pick-ups already landed in the UK. Last year Brightwells sold a well restored ’1954 Chevy 3100 for £16,500 – a price that’s actually behind the smoking US market. Find a virgin survivor American pick-up, ideally with a #V8 , and you might find yourself ahead of the curve.

    VALUE 2010 £10k
    VALUE NOW (2018 UK) £12k

    ‘Don’t go for restomods. Instead, seek out original, stock, straight ones’
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    We’re fascinated by the top speed of supercars. It wasn’t that long ago that 200mph on a road car was incomprehensible. Now it’s pretty much the norm for supercars. But how many of us have actually gone 200 miles per hour? About ten years ago I met a guy who ran a school for people who wanted to go 200 miles per hour. He would give you some training and then take you out on the salt flats, and if the car didn’t hit a timed 200mph you got your money back. He had Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches and other assorted vehicles, and when it came right down to it a lot of these cars would go 196, 197, 198. Not quite 200. His secret weapon, to make sure he got paid, was to go back to the garage and pull out the Mercedes McLaren SLR. That was the one car he had that always did a real-world 200mph-plus.

    / #Chevrolet-Corvette-ZR1 / #2018-Chevrolet-Corvette-ZR1 / #Chevrolet-Corvette / #Chevrolet-Corvette-ZR1-C7 / #Chevrolet-Corvette-C7 / #GM / #Chevrolet / #2018

    For supercars, going 200mph is like being a seven-foot- tall basketball player. In America they always say a team has a particular number of seven-footers. In reality, like the cars that go 196, 197 or 198, many of those guys are six-foot-eight or six-foot-nine. Apparently there are only 2800 people in the entire world who are seven feet tall, in a population of 7.4 billion.

    So when Chevrolet said the new Corvette had a top speed of 200mph-plus, I thought, why not try and prove it?

    The Corvette we chose was the new #Chevrolet-Corvette-ZR1 . I have the last version of the ZR1 with 640bhp, which was a mind-numbing figure back in 2009. This new Corvette is rated at over 750. Although I enjoy driving my ZR1, the concept of top speed seems silly because there is no place on the street where you can even come close to those numbers. But hey, that’s what sells magazines.

    What really surprised me was how receptive to the idea Chevrolet was. It wasn’t long ago that most American manufacturers would shy away from the idea of putting their vehicles up against Europe’s and Japan’s finest, but not any more. The new Ford GT, the Camaros, the Mustangs, the Corvettes, these are all world-class cars. And something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime was a Cadillac running at Le Mans.

    We went to the GM Milford proving ground in Milford, Michigan. This was the car industry’s first dedicated facility when it opened in 1924. The banked circular track is 4.5 miles long. Over 4800 people work in the 107 buildings inside the proving ground, security is at the Pentagon level and everything works with military precision. I hooked up with Tadge Juechter, the Corvette’s chief engineer. He’s a Stanford graduate who’s been with General Motors for 37 years. He’s been to my garage a number of times, so I was thrilled to be able, finally, to look at some of his stuff.

    I knew the new mid-engined Corvette was here somewhere. I saw a couple of car covers go on pretty quickly as we went from room to room, but Tadge was slyly coy on the subject. When we got to the proving ground, a totally stock 2018 Corvette ZR1 was waiting for us. It had all its emissions gear, it had production Corvette tyres and it was running on pump gas.

    I got in the driver’s seat, Tadge beside me in the passenger seat. After a few warm-up laps to get heat into the tyres I asked Tadge what it was like to drive a Corvette at 200mph. He said: ‘I have no idea! I’ve never gone 200mph in a Corvette.’ So the first time you’re doing this is with a retired chat show host who’s never been on this track in his life?

    It’s amazing how far aerodynamics have come in the last decade. A decade ago I drove the Porsche Carrera GT around Talladega Raceway and my highest speed was 190mph. On the corners I felt the car moving around and it was nerve-wracking. After about 50 laps I got the thumbsup from the crew, so I lifted off the throttle on the straight. Big mistake. The back end snapped round and I spun about five times. Luckily I remembered the old adage that you always run into what you’re looking at.

    So when I saw the wall I turned my head and managed to contain my spin in the middle of the straight. No damage to myself or the car, but the tyres were toast. That’s what was on my mind as we passed 200 in the Corvette. The dial kept fluctuating between 204 and 205. Because the track is banked, they said it was the equivalent of about 208. The amazing part was how easy it was to do. After a few minutes 200 felt like 100. On the cool-down lap, 150 felt like 60.

    When I was a kid, there were very few people in the 200mph club. Now it’s open to anyone who wants to give it a try. So what’s the next frontier?

    ‘I ASKED THE CHIEF ENGINEER WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO DRIVE A CORVETTE AT 200MPH. HE SAID: “I HAVE NO IDEA”’
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    CAR: #Chevrolet-Nomad / #GM / #1957-Chevrolet-Nomad / #Chevrolet /

    Year of manufacture #1957
    Recorded mileage 18,850
    Asking price £37,500
    Vendor Dave Caruso, Hertfordshire (private sale); tel: 07737 096073

    WHEN IT WAS NEW
    Price $2757
    Max power 185bhp
    Max torque 275lb ft
    0-60mph 12.3 secs
    Top speed 99mph
    Mpg 15

    This rare wagon came to the UK two years ago, imported from California by the vendor. It’s going only because he has too many other cars vying for his time. It’s straight and apparently rot-free under an older repaint. The solid chassis has a few minor knocks, the inner wings and arches are mint. The only flaws were small bubbles at the base of the passenger door. All of the brightwork is present and undamaged, most of it likely original, and the correct Nomad rear script will be on by the time of sale. The front ‘Dagmar’ rubbers are undamaged, plus the wheeltrims are undinged, the centre badges all intact. It wears a sunvisor plus the dash-mounted ‘signal seer’ prism for reading traffic lights. All the windows (sliding at the sides) open and close as they should, and there are H4 lights, plus new exhausts. It sits on Classic radials, with plenty of tread – including the spare, near which we find new rear dampers and a repaired upper mount on the right.

    The 283 is stock apart from a four-barrel Holley, but the original twin-choke Rochester is included. Its coolant is full and green, the oil darkish and mid marks, while the transmission fluid is pink and sweet-smelling. Inside, it’s superb with all the dash trim intact, though the instrument bezels and the steering column shroud are chromed. The seat covers are probably repro items; the driver’s seat base velour is worn threadbare and a tear in the back was due to be fixed. The headlining is excellent and all of the chrome strips are in place. There are electric wipers, auxiliary gauges under the dash, and it has a modern digital radio in the original slot.

    It starts easily, and drives really well for a 60 year old, suggesting that it’s never been significantly apart. There’s plenty of grunt from the V8 and smooth changes from the three-speed Turboglide, though it’s quite lowgeared. It tracks straight, with no clonks from the suspension, and the re-lined brakes are sharp, but they pull slightly to the right. It’s easy to manage and the compact turning circle comes as a surprise. Oil pressure is over 50psi warm when driving, and coolant steady at about 85ºC. The Chevy will be sold UK-registered – its NOVA paperwork is already done.

    SUMMARY

    EXTERIOR Straight; repainted; good trim
    INTERIOR All there and all works; some wear to the driver’s seat
    MECHANICALS In rude health; performs well
    VALUE 7/10

    For Standard and super-cool, with desirable options
    Against Bubbles on offside door

    SHOULD I BUY IT? Well priced compared to similar cars in the US, it’s deceptively usable on UK roads, being about the size of today’s large European cars
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    UNRELIABLE AT ANY SPEED

    Car #Chevrolet-Corvair-Monza-Spyder / #Chevrolet-Corvair-Monza / #Chevrolet-Corvair / #Chevrolet / #GM

    Run by Martin Buckley
    Owned since August 2016
    Total mileage 47,615
    Miles since April
    report approx 50
    Latest costs £375

    The Corvair has proved troublesome and its future has hung in the balance a few times – particularly because I had a variety of people who wanted to buy it, although they typically evaporated when I actually got serious about the idea. I got particularly depressed when a pair of fellow Corvair owners/ journalists turned up at my shed with a beautiful 700 Powerglide sedan, which, more than ever, looks like the variant I really wanted. Yet here I was stuck with this opentopped turbo thing that wouldn’t even make it to the MoT test station without throwing off its fanbelt or lobbing a hubcap 150 yards into a field (one task is finding a way of getting them to cope with my cornering speeds).

    What with the belts and the dynamo problem, I had so many failed attempts at getting the car to the MoT that Mr Tester got the hump with me and we had a fall-out. I managed to get the proper fanbelt from Clarke’s Corvair. It has to be a ‘V’ rather than a modern toothed type that you run fairly loose. The fanbelt problem was followed by a refusal to idle or run properly, but Gus Meyer sorted that when he discovered that a plug had come out of the carb – it was letting air in and leaning itself off. When it was running properly, it felt quite nice, although with very light steering that suggests I need to look at the tyre pressures. A large variance between front and rear is essential if you don’t want to end up as one of Mr Nader’s statistics.

    The brakes are pretty good and the ride excellent but I was becoming aware of a noisy differential as well as a persistent and fairly copious oil leak from that general area. I ignored it on the basis that it might go away ‘with use’ when a ‘dry’ seal swelled sufficiently to start working, which always sounds like a rather optimistic prediction.

    Sure enough it didn’t work and the diff was getting noisier, so I decided to have a proper drive of it to try to get to the bottom of what was going on; ‘proper’ in this instance being returning home from my shed one Sunday evening.

    Well, I almost made it home: going into the roundabout two minutes from safety, I felt and heard something give way: all drive was lost and I just about made it to the traffic lights with a ’box full of neutrals and graunching noises from the rear. A friendly Audi driver helped me push the accursed thing around the corner out of the way. Mia and I then spent the next hour towing the Corvair back to the shed on a rotten old bit of rope that kept snapping until it was replaced with a wonderful AA one that I got from the BP garage.

    A few days later, Gus had taken both the engine and gearbox out and investigated the differential. The crownwheel and pinion had chewed each other to bits and the casing had cracked. In other words, there was really nothing to be done other than buy another diff.

    Investigating US eBay unearthed a rebuilt unit for $450, which seemed a bit steep, particularly with the outrageous shipping costs on top, never mind the taxes. With some digging, I found a solution. Clarke’s Corvair had a 3.55:1 diff for $90 and would send it to Texas for sensible money. From there, a company from Northamptonshire, Topspeed Automotive, would stick it in a container with a load of other gear and ship it back here for £65. Hopefully, by the time you read this I will have collected it from Wellingborough. I also invested in three new engine mountings and Gus is going to look at the various seals on the engine while it’s out.

    On a more positive note, it did finally get an MoT, which meant that I could get a V5C and numberplates. I still need to sort something out with the plastic rear window in the hood, though. I suspect the summer will be a distant memory before I get the Corvair out on the road as a reliable prospect. Meanwhile, I can only press on with it and hope it starts behaving itself.

    THANKS TO

    Gus Meyer Clarke’s Corvair: corvair.com
    Framptons numberplates: www.framptonsplates.com
    Topspeed Automotive: 01932 506070

    Removing the Corvair’s engine and gearbox turned out to be a surprisingly straightforward job. The seals will be checked while everything’s accessible.
    Refitting radio was a purely cosmetic job.
    Nice raised-digit plates from Framptons.
    The offending diff, which is being replaced after leaving Buckley stranded in Cirencester
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    Return of veteran ’Vette. Replica honours the five original Corvette Grand Sports. Words Glen Waddington.

    / #GM-LT1-V8 / #Tremec-T-56 / #Tremec / #GM-LT1 / #GM-V8 / #GM / #V8 / #1962-Chevrolet-Corvette / #Chevrolet-Corvette-C2 / #Chevrolet-Corvette-Grand-Sports / #Chevrolet-Corvette-Grand-Sports-C2 / #Chevrolet-Corvette-GM-LT1-V8 / #Chevrolet / #Tremec-T56

    A 1962 #Chevrolet-Corvette in the new car pages? Don’t worry, we haven’t gone mad. This is the latest offering from Superformance, the company that brought you the Pete Brockapproved Cobra Daytona Coupe replica.

    Zora Arkus-Duntov isn’t around to sanction this one, but #GM has licensed its production. Duntov, the engineer behind the ’Vette, originally planned a run of 125 cars, set to dominate the international road racing community, and the Grand Sport qualified as a GT production car – but only five had been built before GM executives pulled the plug and ordered their destruction. All five survived, but try prising one from the hands of its collector owner.

    Which is where Superformance comes in. The cars are sold as TKM: ‘turn-key minus engine/transmission’. But Superformance is on hand to offer the final jigsaw pieces too. This test car is fitted with a 460bhp 6.2-litre GM-LT1-V8 and Tremec T-56 six-speed manual gearbox. Out back is the regular transverse-leaf suspension layout and the whole is wrapped in an ‘aesthetically and dimensionally correct’ glassfibre body, just like the real thing. Inside there’s a periodstyle steering wheel but greater comfort: power steering for a start, plus air-con and electric windows. Optionally you can install a ‘Touring interior package’, which offers more of an authentic look. The wheels are the correct raw matt Halibrand alloys.

    Price? Call it $170,000 built and finished to this spec, though you can spend above that to gain a more powerful engine and different cosmetics.

    You’d have to question whether such power is necessary though: this car isn’t lacking. There’s massive shove from the off, accompanied by a traditional V8 beat and thrillingly raw exhaust – side-exiting, naturally. Heard the racing ’Vettes thunder down Goodwood’s start/finish straight? The loudest cars at the event, and that jackhammer racket is authentically replicated here. It’s worth the entry price on its own.

    Control weights are surprisingly light, with excellent brake moderation, light yet extremely precise and feelsome steering, and a satisfyingly substantial yet free-moving gearshift. You soon settle in and enjoy the flow, despite the threatening noises-off from under the door. Over Laureles Grade from the Laguna Seca raceway, the Grand Sport looks as though it’s escaped from its natural environment, yet it feels perfectly at home, riding ruts with enough body movement to let you know what’s going on yet without too much harshness. Power oversteer can only ever be a twitch of the throttle away but, as this twisting rollercoaster road proves, the Grand Sport is really a benign yet rapid device. If one of those five originals remains beyond your means, you can have an awful lot of fun pretending in this one.

    Left and below The right looks, inside and out, plus the correct chassis spec. Pictured car sports a period-correct 377 engine, too.
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    AMERICAN BOXER CHARMS NOVICE

    CAR: #Chevrolet-Corvair-Monza-Spyder / #Chevrolet-Corvair-Monza / #Chevrolet-Corvair-Spyder / #Chevrolet / #Chevrolet-Corvair / #GM /
    Run by Martin Buckley
    Owned since August 2016
    Total mileage 47,615
    Miles since acquisition none
    Latest costs £350

    The Corvair is an itch that I have wanted to scratch for years, maybe decades. The curiosity started with a book called Corvair Affair by Mike Knepper that I got hold of in the early 1980s. The idea was reignited by a group test I did on a full set of early cars a couple of years ago in LA (February 2014).

    I love the shape of them, the sound they make and all the intrigue and scandal that seems to surround the poor things – I even bought a copy of Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed, which is actually a good read. They tick lots of boxes that needed ticking. For starters, I have never owned an American car before, or anything with an aircooled flat-six and, what with 911s being so pricey, the Corvair is probably my only chance of that. They are a lot cheaper than 911s and, while they are in no way a substitute for the German car, they do make a similar noise.

    It had to be an early, 1959-’1964 model and my preference was for a saloon rather than a coupe or a convertible. I missed a tidy enough one that was due to be sold out of the Calne museum collection a couple of years back. Then, about 12 months ago, my friend Fredrik Folkestad (of DKW fame) decided he was never, realistically, going to do anything with his Monza turbo convertible – did I want to buy it? “Yes” was the answer as I put my purist views to one side. The four-door saloon is the ‘important’ car, but, if you are going to plough money into a Corvair, a Monza Spyder Turbo is the way to go. The history file dates back only to 1989 and, from what I can tell, it was imported into Sweden in 2006; Fredrik brought it into the UK in 2010. He lobbed out on quite a few new parts for the engine in the first flush of enthusiasm, but, with so many projects on the go, he never quite got it running properly.

    So, when the Corvair arrived with me, it was mechanically a mystery though it seemed tidy. It’s pretty much rust-free, but had rather flat paint. I’m resisting the urge to respray it beause it looks decent from 10 feet and the panels are so straight it’s clearly a nice car.

    The interior tends to suggest that the 47,000 mileage is correct and UK Detailing did a great job on the trim and paint, bringing it up beautifully. To be honest, it now looks smart from five feet. The hood is in good condition and I managed to adjust the catches to get it to seal acceptably. Having said that, the Californian heat has ravaged most of the rubber seals.

    Dougal Cawley at Longstone suggested a set of period-type XAS Michelins, which got rid of the whitewalls and even made the awful fake wire hubcaps look almost acceptable. Normal trims remain my preference, though. In terms of getting the Corvair sorted, it has been in the hands of Gus Meyer in Swindon, who usually works on my Mercedes but is happy to tackle anything. On his initial consultation he spent time chasing manifold leaks, sorting stripped threads, establishing that the engine had compression and then setting up the points, timing and hydraulic tappets. He got it running, though not to his total satisfaction and there was still the question of the brakes, which at the very least needed a new master cylinder. I ordered one from New York and waited until Gus could fit me in again a few weeks later, by which time it had turned up.

    On the second visit, Gus changed all the belts, sorted the brakes and discovered that the poor running was down to a missing plug in the throttle body that was causing it to run too lean. He also found that some essential bits were missing from the dynamo, which is why it wasn’t charging; I have an alternator conversion kit on the way from America.

    The only difficult thing was finding a battery to fit because the Corvair has a particularly long, narrow space for it. Shield Batteries’ Yeovil branch sorted me out with a correct size unit for £159. Meanwhile, I await the alternator (which Gus will come over to fit) and I might even risk putting the Corvair through an MoT test.

    THANKS TO Gus Meyer
    Longstone Tyres: 01302 711123
    Shield Batteries, Yeovil: 01935 848661
    UK Detailing, Cirencester: 01285 770090

    Ian Sealy of UK Detailing did a fine job of bringing lustre back to the dull paintwork. The Corvair’s influential lines inspired NSUs and the Hillman Imp. Nader slated GM’s costcutting on design. Roomy cabin in ‘compact’ Corvair ragtop. Flat-six proclaims ‘150hp’ on the turbo. Upholstery transformed after a bit of TLC. Buckley adjusted hood and cleaned screen.
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    Car #Chevrolet-Master-Deluxe / #Chevrolet-Special-Rally-Car / #1941-Chevrolet-Master-Deluxe / #Chevrolet-Master / #Chevrolet / #GM /
    Year of manufacture #1941
    Recorded mileage 6347
    Asking price £60,000
    Vendor RPS, Witney, Oxfordshire; tel: 01993 358009; www.rps.com

    WHEN IT WAS NEW
    Price $715
    Max power 123bhp
    Max torque 170lb ft
    0-60mph n/a
    Top speed c85mph
    Mpg n/a

    This Chevy was prepared for rallying by RPS after it had spent some time in the Haynes International Motor Museum. It features RPS’ suspension mods – big telescopic dampers with travel-limiting straps, front anti-roll bar – and its comprehensive rewire and replumb with double fuel lines. It also has comfy Corbeau seats and harnesses, but retains the standard transmission and doesn’t run a roll-cage, though a sump guard is included.

    It’s nice and straight, with factory paint flaking in a couple of places, the doors having been resprayed. All of the bright trim is present, the grille lightly corroded and the rear wings slightly bent, and it’s a bit unfinished where the running boards have been removed, but it’s a working rally car. It also runs RPS’ lightweight vinyl-skinned bootlid, beneath which is a load of costly aluminium work. There are two spares, both unused. Incredibly, the matching Fulda commercial tyres on the car, mounted on new van wheels, have done a Peking-Paris and a Flying Scotsman yet retain plenty of tread. The motor is tidy, rebuilt before the P-P. It wears twin Daytona carbs on a Kenton manifold, plus an electric fan and lightweight high-torque starter, and has lots of extra relays on the bulkhead, plus an electric fuel pump and big filter lurking. Coolant is fullish and blue; oil topped-up but dark.

    Inside, the door trims and headlining are fine, just coming adrift about the right pillar. Fake veneer paint is tidy on the door tops, flaking on the dash, and there are extra auxiliary gauges as well as a Monit tripmeter. The 235cu in ‘six’ (3.9-litre, optional over the standard 216) fires easily and it’s a pleasant drive with lots of torque, a decent column shift and the ride well controlled by the big dampers. The speedo doesn’t work (GPS is more accurate) but the wind-up clock does. Oil pressure is just under 3bar, which is healthy for one of these, and temperature stays at the lower end of the gauge. The all-round drums have uprated friction material and pull up adequately for the performance, which is quite sprightly; great fun. It’s being sold for less than it cost to build, but to take it to the next level, with five-speed Tremec and Ford 9in rear axle, would cost c£20k.

    SUMMARY

    EXTERIOR Tidy; decent paint; all trim there
    INTERIOR What’s original is mostly good
    MECHANICALS Completely rebuilt; feels as if it would go to the moon and back

    VALUE ★★★★★★★★✩✩
    For Easy to drive; on the button
    Against Transmission is the weak item for rallies

    SHOULD I BUY IT?
    If you want a good basis for a longdistance rally car, built by the best, then worth a serious look – either to drive as is or feed more steroids.
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    / #1956 / #Chevrolet-Corvette / #Chevrolet-Corvette-C1 / #Chevrolet / #GM / #1956-Chevrolet-Corvette /

    For sale at Barrett-Jackson, January 15, barrett-jackson.com

    Why buy it? Desirable higher performance model with 225bhp thanks to dual fourbarrel carburettors. Presents well with good chrome and what has to be the best Fifties Corvette colour – Cascade Green. Highly original and still has its Wonderbar radio.
    Price estimate
    No reserve
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