Tag Archives: Corvairs

Corviar 60’s print ads

27 Dec
Love is Blue

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Vintage 1960 “Film Strip” Corvair Presentation

6 Dec

Most of the Corvair brethren remember film strip presentations from grade school.  Dealership advertising used similar technology to present historical and technological  information to potential car buyers.  Sit back, relax and enjoy the bings and dings of just such a show………

The Corvair in Action……1960 TV Commercial

6 Dec

This is one of those glorious TV ads from the 60’s that most of us in the Corvair world remember with fond worm feelings. The following is one of those 6 plus minute “infomercials” that Chevrolet aired on National TV presumably during the Ed Sullivan Show or perhaps Red Skelton. Sit back and enjoy the view once again.

Corvair Racing Pioneer John Fitch Dies

5 Nov

The following is a recent excerpt from Hemmings Motor News:

Racing Legend and Safety Pioneer John Fitch Dies

A living legend has left us. John Fitch, the racer whose life would have been entirely unbelievable had he not lived it, has died at the age of 95.

It’s difficult to sum up John Fitch’s life without leaving something important out, just as it’s difficult to find any one highlight to his life, considering that his whole life was one almost endless highlight reel. He knew just about everybody there was to know in international racing’s glory years, he drove with some of the best and most notorious race car drivers on the planet, he built his own cars and designed a world-renowned race track, and he invented safety devices that continue to save lives today.

He was born August 4, 1917, to a family that counts another John Fitch, the inventor of the steamboat, among its ancestors; Fitch’s stepfather worked as an executive at Stutz and introduced the young Fitch to automobiles and to engineering. He went to Lehigh University to study the latter, but dropped out in 1939 to visit Europe “to see the world before it was destroyed,” he said. Two years later, he volunteered for the Army Air Corps and flew missions in North Africa and England before being shot down over Germany in 1944 and serving out the rest of World War II as a prisoner. He began racing sports cars in 1949 and eventually earned a spot on the Mercedes racing team, sharing a co-driver spot with Pierre Levegh at the infamous 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans. He later raced for Chevrolet and Briggs Cunningham, but the Le Mans crash stayed with him and influenced him to develop the Fitch Inertial Barrier System – those sand-filled yellow barrels that have become almost standard at highway exit ramps. During the 1960s, he turned to tuning the Chevrolet Corvair in attempts to make it perform along the lines of the sports cars that he had so much experience with, and in the mid-1960s built the one-off Fitch Phoenix, a Corvair-based two-seater that very nearly made it into series production. Though he retired from racing in 1966, he remained a fixture in the international racing scene – particularly in and around Lime Rock Park – and in 2003 attempted to set a land-speed record in a Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing.

In later years, Fitch has not only been presented with the Simeone Museum’s Spirit of Competition award, but has also been inducted into numerous halls of fame, including the Corvette Hall of Fame, SCCA Hall of Fame, Sebring Hall of Fame, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, and the Bloomington Gold Great Hall. Three years ago we had the chance to visit with him and found him, at age 92, as charming and lucid as ever and still willing to take the Fitch Phoenix or his Consulier GTP out for a spin at the drop of a hat.

As Autoweek reported, Fitch died early this morning of Merkel carcinoma. He was 95.

UPDATE (1.November 2012): As noted above, Fitch was a prolific inventor. While he holds a couple patents on vehicle suspension systems (3366400 and 3473822), one on a stowable luggage rack (3181753) and even one on a wood-burning stove (4141366), the majority are related to both on-track and on-highway crash safety (3606258, 3856268, 3880404, 3916816, 5921702, 5947515, 5957616, 6010275).

VairFest Wrap-up Rap for September 13, 2012

15 Sep

A small but merry band of Corvair enthusiasts gathered at President Jim’s home to chew the fat of VairFest. We did not have to chew for long since the treasurer’s report shows the club made a whopping $.18 profit for our most recent event in June.  Not that we are in this to line the club coffers with dough but we all got a good laugh at the expense and credit report. The bottom line, to use the parlance of our time; we are still in the black and that was cause for celebration.  Pizza, wine, fruit and a variety of salads lined the buffet counter as we discussed the future of this fine Corvair event.

Beauty in the eye of the beholder

Our goal this year is to grow the event both in paid attendees and in passersby attendance.  We would like to make this a “go to” destination event for everyone and we  agreed to Jump start the 2013 event immediately.  Timely media we agree will be key to getting this event into the eyes of the right people.  First and foremost it was deemed that we get our event into the national media magazines such as Hemming’s Classic Car, CORSA Communique and others that have a calendar of events.  Many of these mags have lead times that are due 6 months in advance so it behooves us to start now.  Which reminds me…..Central Coast Corsa’s annual VairFest event at Heritage Park in Arroyo Grande, CA. will take place the weekend of June 21, 22 and 23, 2013. Once again our signature “Best Value” features are: Friday evenings date night with spaghetti dinner and a movie, Saturday car show, BBQ lunch, raffles and awards and a trek back in time to the Great American Melodrama for a fun and zany vaudeville show that is rife with laughs and a hint of burlesque just for spice. Our goal is to have 35 cars and a parade of informed populace craving to gawk at all the beautiful and unique Corvairs!  Let the parade begin.

Upcoming Corvair Book Signing Event!

11 Jul

Dear Central Coast Corsa:

I want to invite you and your CORSA chapter’s members to an upcoming reading and signing of Lifemobile, my new Corvair-themed novel, on Friday, July 20, 5:30 p.m., at the Outpost Trading Company in Santa Ynez, CA. This will be my first West Coast event for the book, and the only one for the foreseeable future. I’m sorry the location is out of the way, but that’s where family is, and this is their store, so that’s where I’ll be. Directions to Outpost Trading Co., 1102 Edison Street, Santa Ynez, CA, are here. Copies of Lifemobile will be available for sale at the event.

Lifemobile tells the story of Benjy Bennett, an honor student with Asperger’s Syndrome, who upon graduation from high school despairs that “there’s no place in this world” for someone as different as him.  But then his father brings home a “Deathmobile” – an old Corvair, famously characterized by Ralph Nader as “unsafe at any speed.”  When Benjy learns that the U.S. government ultimately found Nader’s charges untrue, he decides that the Corvair is “not disabled, just different,” as he is, and has been unfairly stigmatized by a world that does not understand it, just as he has.  Taking Benjy and his father on a wild and emotional ride full of colorful characters and comic adventures, the Deathmobile becomes their “Lifemobile,” ultimately helping them both discover Benjy’s own uniquely satisfying place in this world.

The book is based on my experiences with my son, described here, and has received very high praise from readers, Corvair owners, and critics, including this:

In this lovely first novel from Jonathan Rintels, what begins, literally and figuratively, as a reclamation project for the much maligned Corvair grows into a sweet, moving celebration of the bond between fathers and sons – the way their flaws can magnify each other and their virtues can save each other. Written with a deft touch, an engaging wit, and a sure eye for what will ring warm and true, this is an incredibly engaging story that anyone would treasure. It may even make you go out and buy a Corvair.             Robert Bianco, TV Critic, USA Today

There’s lots more info on the book’s website, http://jonathanrintels.com/, including a reprint of a recent article about Lifemobile from CORSA’s Communique Magazine, here.

I would be very grateful if you would spread the word about this event to your chapter’s members and any others who might be interested. And if you would like further information or to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope you’ll be able to come to this fun event.

Best regards,

Jonathan Rintels
Member, Central VA Corvair Club and CORSA

Clark’s Goes West…..to the Great Western Fan Belt Toss & Swap Meet

10 Jul

Our friends at Clark’s Corvair Parts have an announcement about this year’s Fan Belt Toss in Palm Springs, CA.

GREAT WESTERN FAN BELT TOSS PALM SPRINGS, CA OCTOBER 26-28, 2012 No actual parts for sale. We’ll have samples of some of our latest repros including: trim, new forged pistons, Clark engine bearings, etc. YOU MAY PLACE ORDERS AT THE SHOW 5% OFF for credit cards (& checks) 10% OFF for CASH LOOK FOR OUR BOOTH FRIDAY 12:00 – 5:00 (Oct 26) SATURDAY 9:00 – 5:00 (Oct 27) (Clark’s will not be vending on Sunday) PLUS – WE’LL COVER 25% OF UPS GROUND SHIPPING (in continental USA). At the show, YOU MAY ORDER ANY ITEMS IN OUR CATALOG BUT WE SUGGEST YOU write down YOUR ORDERS AHEAD. WE’LL GIVE YOU A DETAILED RECEIPT. These specials are only good at the show. SUNRISE PARK, PALM SPRINGS, CA (we assume).

Central Coast CORSA members and other interested parties can learn more about the Great Western Fan Belt Toss  and Clark’s Corvair Parts.