1964 Chevrolet Corvair - Reader Ride

By: Ian Johnson

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We caught up with Ian Johnson and his '64 Chev Corvair at our recent Rolling 30 event at Sydney Motorsport Park

I spotted it on the internet and grabbed it. I have now owned this car three and a bit years and I have spent that whole time trying the keep it cool, being a rear-engine car that is quite a challenge. 

I did my apprenticeship at Volkswagen and worked for Porsche in London, so I have a little experience with rear-mounted, air-cooled flat boxer engines and I do most of the mechanical work on this car myself.

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The car was in excellent condition when I purchased it, but I have touched it up a little bit. It is CAMS log booked as a Group Nb race car but I haven’t done much racing in it. When I do I’m good for about three laps before it overheats.

| Read next: 1965-66 Chev Corvair Corsa review

The car received a lot of bad press back in the day, so I have a thank-you note to Ralph Nadar on the dash.

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One of the issues with the car being a rear-engine and having Volkswagen-type suspension was buyers were given incorrect tyre pressures, they were told 24 psi all round, but they need much less at the front otherwise they wander all over the road. They put brackets on the suspension for sway bars but decided to save $8 per car and not install them.

The overheating problems comes from the original design of the fan belt being a bit silly, I have replaced that with an electric fan but it’s still not enough to keep it cool so it now has a Porsche style fan, but even that has been a lot of mucking around because the crank in a Porsche rotates clockwise, and the crank in a Corvair rotates anticlockwise. I did a 3D plastic print of a Porsche fan then switched the blades around and manufacture the item from there. Thanks to the Men’s Shed at Gosford, we managed to get the job done.

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I can’t tell you what the secret is to getting a Corvair handling well; I’m still working on the cooling issues. I’ll let you know when I get to that. bit.

- See our galleries from Rolling 30 here

 

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