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Gibsonvair 10-30-2010 09:44 PM

Ecomodding my 1966 Corvair
I've sucessfully revived a 1966 Corvair coupe. I drive it daily 124 miles per day and 4 days per week and have been doing so since April, about 6 months. Gas mileage is about 25mpg. 26 or 27mpg would tickle me to death!
I'm thinking mostly aeromods to begin with, something easy. #1 will be some kind of front end treatment to add stabilty in gusty winds.
Steve Gibson

gone-ot 10-30-2010 09:50 PM

...which: automatic or manual transmission?

...consider: (1) front-end air-dam/spoiler and (2) trunklid lip spoiler.

...also, a "simple" reliable vacuum-gauge will help too.

Schelter 10-30-2010 10:18 PM

I thought the Corvairs did have a chin spoiler starting in 65. If you dont have one I hear the 69 Camaro one fits nicely. Have also seen S10 air dams cut down to fit.

Definatly a vacuum guage.

Old cars are a hoot to drive, I drove my 66 Polara 'vert all summer and love the :thumbup: I get. Wish mine got more than half the mileage yours does but even if you drive a 383/auto carefully it still guzzles gas.

Gibsonvair 10-30-2010 10:28 PM

pictures and description of car
The Corvair was converted from automatic, two speed powerglide, to four speed manual by my son, years ago when it was his car to drive to trade school. I tore it apart and put in new brakes, wheel bearings and suspension. here is how it looks now.
Steve Gibson

Gibsonvair 10-30-2010 10:41 PM

Front end picture???
Yes, beginning in 1966 the Corvairs came with a chin spoiler for high speed stability. My son installed the Camaro version, but it was removed one winter by a hard chunk of snow. The plan is to attach a piece of conveyor belt to the spot weld flange under the front valence. this will hopefully divert air around the front suspension and tires and get me some better gas mileage!:) By the way, how do y'all like my 100 percent grill block?
Steve Gibson

Schelter 10-30-2010 11:00 PM

By the way, how do y'all like my 100 percent grill block?

I like it, I like the 100% bumper delete too!

brucepick 10-30-2010 11:05 PM

Love the grill block!! Kudos on taking care of this classic.

If you have modern tires on it, boost the pressure to "max sidewall".

A full belly pan probably would help reduce aero drag, and wouldn't change the look of the car. A bigger project though. Have a look at Belly pan - EcoModder

tjts1 10-31-2010 01:44 AM

Multi port EFI on that engine would be very interesting.

cfg83 10-31-2010 01:23 PM

Gibsonvair -

How about wheel skirts?

(This probably co$t$ a ton)
Steel Fender Skirts at Fender Skirt King

(Wrong year, but you get the idear)


Gibsonvair 10-31-2010 02:34 PM

Yes!, wheel skirts are definately in! It's an old beat-up car. Aero mods will make it look better.
Not my car, but I like it.
Steve Gibson

Frank Lee 10-31-2010 11:45 PM

Corvairs are pretty clean underneath already so a bellypan would do even less than it normally does.

My '66 is nice and stable cuz it still wears it's factory chin spoiler. I also replaced the skinny 13" wheels with Nova 14 in ralleys in the front and wider Camaro ralleys in the rear. I've read about the Vair chin spoiler being added specifically to enhance stability.

Gibsonvair 11-07-2010 01:14 AM

Corvair HEI
I couldn't figuire out how to reshape the front quarter panels to direct air around the front tires and although I bought some conveyor belt to make the front air dam, I moved on to something more exciting and easy.
This weeked I replaced the distributor and coil. The distributor is a modified unit from a 2.8 liter GM 60 degree V-6. The total advance is 71 degrees with initial, full mechanical and full vacuum. It runs better with steadier timing and less hesitation. The engine is worn-out, but a spare is now being rebuilt. I will find out in two more days how the gas mileage is doing after my first tank of gas.
I hope to report back soon!
Steve Gibson

autoteach 11-07-2010 01:55 AM

umm, I am not real sure that 71 degrees of timing is a good thing. I have worked on cars for a while, and 8-15 initial and max of 55ish (think HIGH rpms) was about all we could run on anything.

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Gibsonvair 11-07-2010 02:44 PM

The original installed distributor was set @ 20 degrees static, 13 degrees full mechanical by 2000 rpm, and 16 degrees of full vacuum advance @ 25'' mercury.
The new is set @ 20 degrees static, 7 degrees full mechanical by 2700 rpm, and 24 degrees full vacuum @ 10" mercury. I'm carrying a timing light in case there is pinging.
Steve Gibson

cfg83 11-07-2010 11:58 PM

Gibsonvair -

Fount this by chance :

An Illustrated History Of Automotive Aerodynamics – Part 3: Finale | The Truth About Cars

We’re not going to pursue the evolution of racing aerodynamics further in this limited survey, but the Chaparrals’ influence would also quickly spill over into passenger cars. GM hired an aerodynamicist back in 1953 to assist with wind tunnel tests on its turbine concept cars, although he was grossly underutilized for years. But GM’s technical assistance to the Chaparral team was a well-known fact. How much of that was aerodynamics is not clear, but the first mass production car to sport a chin spoiler like the 2B above was the 1966 Corvair. It was added in the second year of the Corvair’s 1965 re-style to reduce drag and improve down force and cross-wind stability.

Gibsonvair 11-09-2010 06:19 AM

MPG first tank, new ignition
After 260 miles: No noticable FE gain...but no loss. 25 mpg. Much better drivability and lugs better. Should lend to low speed, high gear driving for fuel efficiency.
Steve Gibson

me and my metro 06-26-2021 11:25 PM

That vacuum advance may be adjustable through the vacuum port with an allen wrench. If not you can get rid of some with a piece of windshield washer tubing over the pin that comes up through the plate inside. I agree 70 something is too much.

cRiPpLe_rOoStEr 06-27-2021 02:18 AM

Corvairs are quite cool, yet the aftermarket support for them seems harder to find than it is for either other GM compacts following a more mainstream tech or the classic Volkswagens.

freebeard 06-27-2021 01:14 PM

me and my metro -- Did you observe the post date for Permalink #16? '11-09-2010, 02:19 AM'.

No objection to zombie threads, in this case I saw the history of the chin spoiler at Permalink #15. But eleven years down the road, before addressing the poster instead of the lurkers you can check their profile. In this case ==> Last Post: Begin front quarter mod '66 Corvair 11-13-2010 10:00 AM

Just, you know, FYI.

samwichse 06-27-2021 03:59 PM

I'd think about a thermostatically controlled electric cooling fan. V-belts are inefficient. 90° v-belts even less so. And then your thermostat when closed is just adding back pressure to the fan, which is already sucking power when not needed.

They make kits with everything you need in both centrifugal:
Corvair Specialties - Products:Â Corvair Street Electric Cooling fan

And axial:

freebeard 06-27-2021 05:30 PM

Zombie threads rock!

The Corvair Specialties links suggest to me a retrofit to a Type I engine. I'm thinking twice fans underneath with a collector on top, working with the chimney effect instead of against it.

My next door (two over) neighbor has a Baja Bug with electric fans on the stock cooling shroud. Parked waiting for a rebuild, so I wouldn't do it that way. :)

cRiPpLe_rOoStEr 06-27-2021 07:30 PM


Originally Posted by freebeard (Post 651501)
retrofit to a Type I engine

Sometimes I do wonder why GM didn't try to fit the 153 engine into the Corvair instead of developing the flat-6. It used to be a common engine swap done to Kombis in South Africa. But a souped-up Type 1 engine (or a Type 3 which could eventually be more suitable to the station-wagon version) would already be interesting.

Piotrsko 06-28-2021 08:55 AM

Height of the Vw popularity, GM developed an aircooled engine that mimicked what the Germans were doing then copied the car using Detroit speak. I just cant see a doghouse cover working on a corvair.

I guess you all know it's the external bits that make the different type motors? All the basic parts: blocks, cylinders, heads, crankcases are interchangeable. Well, maybe not 6v motors, but even those bolt up.

MeteorGray 07-10-2021 02:21 PM

This thread brings back memories about my misspent youth in a brand-new, just-introduced 1961 Corvair that I drove in my senior year of high school.

If Ralph Nader had been right about the Corvair being "dangerous at any speed", I'd be the guy they talk about at reunions who didn't make it past the '61 senior prom due to the big crash that night. Instead, the little Corvair handled very well despite my crazy Phil-Hill-wannabe driving.

I don't remember what type of mileage I got in that little Corvair 60 years ago, probably because I usually had the odometer disconnected so I could fool my parents that I honored their demands that I wouldn't go out of town on dates. My mom checked the odometer in an unsuccessful attempt to keep me honest, and you can't figure fuel mileage without knowing how far you drove :=)

Ah, the memories.

freebeard 07-10-2021 03:40 PM

Porsche 542 - Wikipedia
Porsche 542 or Studebaker Z-87 was a prototype made by Porsche for Studebaker in 1953. The first prototype Porsche 530, a four-seat version of the Porsche 356, was rejected. The new prototype got a different engine, a 120 degree V6 at three litres. Two versions were developed, one aircooled 542L and one watercooled 542W.
Porsche made a 120 degree V-6 for Studebaker in 1953 in air- and water-cooled versions. It looked a lot like a front-engined Type III.

cRiPpLe_rOoStEr 07-10-2021 08:17 PM


Originally Posted by freebeard (Post 652342)
Porsche made a 120 degree V-6 for Studebaker in 1953 in air- and water-cooled versions. It looked a lot like a front-engined Type III.

Front-engined with a V6 air-cooled engine? The only ones I remember right now are those Magirus-Deutz trucks :D

samwichse 07-10-2021 11:14 PM


Originally Posted by cRiPpLe_rOoStEr (Post 652356)
Front-engined with a V6 air-cooled engine? The only ones I remember right now are those Magirus-Deutz trucks :D

From Wikipedia:

rear engine, rear wheel drive
So no front engine according to Wikipedia

Yes front engine according to Motorweek pg 31 on the bottom left of the page:

I think I'll trust the old Motorweek

samwichse 07-10-2021 11:23 PM

Edited the Wikipedia article based on the motor week info. We'll see if it sticks.

freebeard 07-11-2021 02:58 AM

I went looking for the article where I'd learned about the Type 542, but Special Interest Autos Studebaker by Porsche, A (1954 Type 542 prototype) 404s. The Teardroppers Powered by Ford article is gone too!

some_other_dave 07-19-2021 02:51 PM

You might check on , if you know the old URL.


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