A French Company Resurrected the Chevy Corvair That You Can Buy
The Chevrolet Corvair, produced from 1960 to 1969, has always been one of GM’s most controversial cars. It was also one of its most ambitious, with its air-cooled six-cylinder engine in the rear. Corvairs have mostly evaporated from the auto scene as classics, muscle cars, and sports cars take the forefront in collectors’ eyes. But, incredibly, a company in France has completed a contemporary version of the 1965 to 1969 Corvair and has plans to start making them in Orange County, California.
Who makes the Corvair and is it a real Corvair?
The company is called NewRide, owned by Romain Roulleou, in Burgundy Dijon. It has been long in the works and was scheduled to debut at the 2020 SEMA Show, which was canceled over COVID restrictions. Other delays and projects pushed it off until this year when it made its debut this week at SEMA in Las Vegas.
The Corvair 2020 is a contemporary, reimagined Corvair, from the original design by Ron Hill. Its crisp, clean design and signature airy top resulted in one of GM’s best designs of the mid-1960s. But by the time it debuted in 1965, the Corvair was in the crosshairs of consumer advocates like Ralph Nader for the first version’s sometimes scary handling.
What is the Corvair’s body made of?
Though the Corvair’s body is made completely out of carbon fiber, it is placed over a sixth-gen Camaro. In this case, it is a 2018 Camaro SS. That means, unfortunately, the engine is not in the rear as in the original. But with the weight bias to the rear of original cars, this might be a good thing.
While the windshield is stock Camaro, the rest of the glass is custom-made. The only OEM pieces are the VW Polo mirrors, Dodge Demon headlights, and Ferrari 812 Superfast taillights. Alcantara and custom carbon fiber bits upgrade the basically stock 2018 Camaro interior. NewRide has also chosen to use carbon fiber for the headlight surrounds, and bumpers, as opposed to chrome as with the original Corvair.
What engine does it run?
The engine is the factory 6.2-liter LT1 V8, with custom stainless steel exhaust added. EBC brake rotors replace the stock versions, and the suspension is upgraded with AirLift Performance components. Vossen EVO wheels run 19-inch fronts and 20-inch rears. Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires hit the pavement.
In all, the project took 5,600 hours to complete, which is an astronomical amount of time. But with molds, five-axis milling of components and panels, and flaying, then reskinning the Camaro, it is a time-consuming process. For series production, we expect that number to fall sharply.
When and where will it be made?
NewRide has already set up plans for production in Orange County and has other body styles to prototype. They include a convertible, and a sport wagon version. The convertible should be an easy variant. But the wagon will require still more custom glass and a reworked back half.
No prices or availability have been announced. In any case, once the operation is up and running we’ll take a peek as they’re in our backyard.