Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Exciting 1962 Corvair Monza GT Concept Car

The Corvair was a "compact" (USA terminology) car marketed by Chevrolet for model years 1960-69.  Unusual features (again, for the USA) included an air-cooled motor with six cylinders in "boxer" format.  In addition, the engine was mounted at the rear, VW Beetle fashion.  During Corvair's first year in the market a sporty version of its coupé was added: the Monza.

Monzas proved so popular that General Motors used the name for a Corvair-based concept car in 1962.  Unlike production Monzas, the Monza GT show car had the motor mounted ahead of the rear axle, making it a mid-engine vehicle.

The Wikipedia entry for the Monza GT is here.   A General Motors Web page devoted to the car is here.  Wikipedia claims the GT was displayed at the New York Auto Show in 1963, but the GM page says it was 1962.   I mention this because I was able to see the Monza GT at a New York Auto Show since I was stationed in the army within striking distance of New York City both years. What I don't remember is which year I saw the car.

Credit for styling the Monza GT is given to Tony Lapine and Larry Shinoda.

When I viewed it, I was excited by the sculpting of its front end and fenders as well as the fastback roof line.  I still like the design even though I'm more amused by the way it combines some practical engineering with plenty of jazzy show-car features.  In theory, it could have become a production car.  But making it street-legal and ergonomically practical would have neutered many of its design features, destroying its looks.

Gallery

I don't have a source for this photo taken GM's Technical Center.  I include it because it's one of the few images found on the Internet that show the car about as it would look to someone standing nearby -- most photos are taken from unrealistic angles.  The plaque in front of the GT includes the word "Spyder," which seems incorrect.  That refers to the Corvair Monza SS concept car convertible.

Flashy image of the Monza GT that emphasizes the sculpting.

Showing the rear aspect.

Side view.  At the auto show the GT was placed on a raised platform, perhaps with a turntable.  So this low-angle shot is close to what I saw.  It certainly dramatizes what's already a dramatic design.  The various air intake vents clutter the design, but were necessary for cooling the motor.

Poor-quality front view showing the clamshell headlight openings.  Totally impractical for street use.  Ditto the absence of a front bumper.

Passenger compartment opening.  Also impractical if used on stormy days.  An instance of show-car jazz.

This shows how the engined was accessed.  A whiff of show-car jazz, but more practical than the passenger access.

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