AJ's Car of the Day 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Hardtop Coupe

Car: Chevrolet Corvair Hardtop Coupe

Year: 1965

What makes it special: Chevrolet's Corvair was manufactured for model years 1960–1969. It was the only American-designed, mass-produced passenger car to use a rear mounted air-cooled engine. Corvair models included a two-door coupe, convertible, four-door sedan, four-door station wagon, passenger van, commercial van, and pickup truck variants. The name "Corvair" is a portmanteau of Corvette and Bel Air.

What made it famous: The second generation Corvair arrived for model year 1965, noted for its lack of a "B" pillar and a new fully independent suspension replacing the original swing axle rear suspension. The Corvair used coil springs at each wheel. The standard 95 hp and optional 110 hp engines were carried forward from 1964. The previous 150 hp Spyder engine was replaced by the normally aspirated 140 hp for the new Corsa. The engine was unusual in offering four single-throat carburetors, to which were added larger valves and a dual exhaust system.

Why I would want one: It has its own place in car history of being one of the only cars mired in controversy.

Fun fact: The Corvair's legacy was affected by controversy surrounding its handling, scrutinized in Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed, along with the then GM's top management resorting to unethical measures to handle the issue, as well as a 1972 Texas A&M University safety commission report for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which found that the 1960–1963 Corvair possessed no greater potential for loss of control in extreme situations than its contemporaries.