Chevrolet Corvair 500

Model Specifications

  • Manufactured in 1961
  • Motor: Rear-mounted, air cooled horizontal six-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 80
  • Transmission:
  • Swing axle rear suspension
  • Factory price: $1,974


Chevrolet introduced the Corvair in the autumn of 1959 as a 1960 model. The Corvair name came from the combination of the model names of two of Chevrolet’s most successful vehicles: the Corvette and the Bel Air. In an era of large American automobiles, the Corvair was Chevrolet’s first compact car. It received popular and critical acclaim; however, its success was short lived.

In 1965, Ralph Nader called into question the safety of American cars in his book Unsafe At Any Speed, devoting the entire first chapter to the shortcomings of the Corvair. The book severely damaged the Corvair’s reputation. Corvair sales declined dramatically over the next few years and led Chevrolet to end Corvair production in May 1969.

This model has the spare tire located over the engine compartment, a new feature on the 1961 model.

Donated by Marvin and Raena Barbre

Not currently on display