Saturday, October 15, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Monza 900

When searching for interesting old cars on the streets, I love finding obscure makes and models. But if I can't find an obscure brand, I'll settle for an oddball model from a well-known make. So I hit the jackpot when I ran across a collection of Chevy Corvairs, the only mass-produced rear-engined, air-cooled American car. For now I'll be focusing on the oldest, a 1963 Monza 900 coupe. It's the third Corvair I've featured, and the second Monza.

It seems that 1963 wasn't a very important year for the Corvair. The Corvair range was dwindling somewhat, with the discontinuation of the station wagon the previous year and the Loadside pickup at the end of '63. The only obvious changes to the remaining cars were different gearing and some changes in the front-end ornamentation. The Monza coupe, like this car, accounted for nearly half of all Corvair sales that year, with 117,917 produced (not including another 11,827 turbocharged Monza Spyder coupes).

I found out about the Corvair collection while researching a Packard rumored to be in the neighborhood. This bright green Monza coupe is the first one I found while wandering the neighborhood on foot. It's not a factory color for that year, but it has a faint - very faint - resemblance to Meadow Green from 1964. There was almost always a light metallic green available, but never anything as bright as this. The body's in pretty good shape, though the decklid Corvair badge is missing and there's a dent on the passenger side front fender, as well as a crinkled headlight bezel and front end trim piece. I always tell myself that's the price one pays for keeping a vintage car in the city and parking it on the street, especially when the car lives its whole life there.

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