John Jackson is our kind of guy. As a professional automotive photographer, he's managed to combine his passion for photography and beautiful machinery into a vocation. But unlike most shooters, Jackson prefers to get off the beaten path to suss out the custom rides that would typically get passed over in favor of big-shop productions. How does he do that? He takes to the road in his own custom 1964 Chevrolet Corvair van. There's no air conditioning, and the air-cooled engine can only crank the
Behold, Corvair handling! The first time you decide to autocross a forward-control Corvair, this lifted-wheel, heavy-leaning posture must be positively terrifying. When all four wheels find pavement again, and the view out the windshield levels off, the driver's likely giggling like a lunatic. Something that amusing obviously calls for another run through the cones.
Safety doesn't sell cars. At least that's what Detroit executives walked around saying back in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The whole of them were convinced that if you even mentioned the word "safety" in a marketing campaign it would imply that cars were unsafe. In fact, it took a crusader like Ralph Nader to stand up to the auto industry and say enough with the death traps, like he did when he published his infamous Unsafe at Any Speed (only one chapter is about the Corvair!) in 1965. Like him
Here's a fun column we came across talking about cars as metaphors. Kind of like referring to something as the "Rolls-Royce" of its industry means it's the best (or most expensive, perhaps). The writer, Miss Cellania, lists five vehicles that rightly or wrongly have come to be symbols of the worst from the automotive sector. All five of her picks are instantly recognizable for their place in motoring history. While we empathize with owners of these vehicles because they frequently have endearing
YouTube serves up another cool video. Corvairs are hella cool, and they were tarred and feathered out of existence by zealots. They were no worse than other cars on the road at the time, but they were picked up as all that was wrong with motoring safety by Ralph Nader. Cars in in the late '50s when the Corvair was developed were all less safe than what we have now. 50 years of scientific study and applied engineering will do that for you. This video offers up some great scenes of a Corvair being
Here's a totally different flavor of Corvair that wasn't mentioned in our recent Reader Ride feature. The Ultra Van is a true Corvair, according to the Corvair Society of America (CORSA), even though it didn't roll off a GM assembly line. The Ultra Van is more akin to a cabin cruiser on the inside and a DC-10 in construction, with a happy-looking front-end, to boot. In case the picture has somehow left you scratching your head,UltraVan really is is a motorhome.
The Corvair was GM's Porsche 911, but better, at least in some ways.. Debuting in 1960, the Corvair seemed totally out of left field from GM. It featured an air-cooled, horizontally-opposed powerplant mounted in the rear and a notorious swing-axle suspension (it was no more dangerous than its contemporaries). It was almost an entire line of vehicles, sorta like a subset of GM proper. There were trucks, vans, station wagons, sedans and coupes. Flickr member corsa180 sent in a really pretty 1965 C