Unique sleeper 1968 Chevy Corvair has a 400-horsepower V8 out back

The Pick of the Day is a nicely converted resto rod that is ‘shockingly fast’

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corvair
The Corvair has a subtle grille located beneath the bumper for radiator cooling

The Pick of the Day seems like it just drove out of a Ralph Nader nightmare, a 1968 Chevrolet Corvair with a 400-horsepower V8 perched behind its back axle. 

But others among us see a totally cool resto-rod sleeper ready to run with the big boys and surprise the unwary. 

corvair

“This handsome and well-built Corvair delivers in a big way,” according to the Macedonia, Ohio, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. “It’s expertly sorted, easy to drive, surprisingly polished, and yes, shockingly fast.

“The fact that it looks so docile and unassuming is only icing on the cake, and that’s just about the most delicious way to have fun on the road.”

What looks like a fairly normal Corvair coupe in clean condition is actually a muscle beast that has been expertly converted to handle the extra power and needed modifications. The lightweight compact must have crazy acceleration, although the seller says it’s also a relaxed driver ready for the open road.

corvair

“Beautifully engineered V8 Corvair. 355 cubic-inch Chevy V8, Oldsmobile Toronado transaxle (you keep your back seat!), laser-straight bodywork, full interior. What an incredible sleeper!” the seller adds.

There’s no word in the ad as to who performed the intricate work of stuffing a water-cooled Chevy V8 where an air-cooled flat-six would normally reside.  However, the seller says, the conversion was done with an eye on keeping the Corvair functional as a regular car and authentic in appearance.

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“Unlike the Crown conversion kits of the ’60s, which eliminated the back seat and put the engine over your shoulder, this slick Corvair has a full interior that looks almost completely stock,” the seller notes. The low-back buckets are standard Corvair pieces, and the dashboard will feel familiar to anyone who has driven a sporty Chevy from the ‘60s.

“Again, finish quality is excellent and you can tell nobody was phoning it in here – the carpets fit well, the headliner is taut, and all the weather seals were replaced so it seals up pretty well.

“Obviously, the forward-mounted trunk is not quite the same as it was, housing a giant aluminum radiator and beautifully fabricated aluminum duct work, as well as the gas tank and battery, which help give the Corvair decent balance.”

The conversion work is fully documented, the seller adds.

corvair

“We have a stack of receipts and invoices on this car about four inches thick, and every detail on the car just screams, ‘Cost no object!’ I didn’t total up all the receipts, but there’s easily $80,000 in this build and it shows everywhere you look.

“Finish quality is very good and it shows rather well with just over 2,200 miles since it was completed.”

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Considering the unique nature of this Corvair and the fine workmanship that apparently went into it, the asking price seems quite reasonable at $34,900.

It would certainly provide some entertaining reactions as you roar away from the traffic light, leaving wide eyes and open mouths in your wake.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Am looking for a shadow of logic a car would get an $80K invested & be offered for 1/2 the price.

    Someone pls. advise….
    Thanks.

    • No one said, and I saw no implication, that this was built last week and is being sold this week for half of the price. It is advertised to having been driven 2200 miles which could relate to four, five, or six years of driving. Any of which would compare to a new car, five years old, losing half of the initial outlay. I, and probably others, think it is reasonable, the only question left to ask our selves would be is do we feel the build is of such quality to uphold an asking price of almost 35 thousand dollars.

    • Spending more than a car is worth is pretty common in the old car world. Sometimes you just do it for the love or enjoy the project or because you want the car. In this hobby, money isn’t logical. Ask anyone who has restored a car and they will tell you that it was a big money loser for them. Just how it is so have fun!!!

  2. Intriguing, that’s what caught my eye as I looked at this ad. I can’t imagine spending $80k plus building this car, but the finished project is definitely “intriguing”.
    God bless America

  3. Front to rear weight ratio hast to be seriously compromised. The cars were bad from the beginning with no weight on the front end. You’d try to turn hard and the car would keep going straight.

  4. Actually, the Corvair didn’t “keep going straight” when you turned the car hard under deceleration (or braking), they over steered and the rear end came around. A lot like the early Porsche 911.

  5. Might be a good idea to scale the car to mitigate the obvious concerns of extreme weight bias . . . and address the completed need for suspension modifications. Personally, I’d be interested if these two issues were addressed

  6. Me and my brother in law built a 1965 Corvair with a 454 up front and it was a great car to fast form but he loved it.

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