Chevrolet Corvair

The Chevrolet Corvair was a rear-engined automobile produced by General Motors from 1960 to 1969. The Corvair was offered in a wide range of body styles (such as a four-door sedan, coupe, convertible, station wagon, pickup, panel van, a window van called the Greenbrier) and featured an air-cooled engine, which was unusual for American cars at the time.

The Corvair remains one of GMs most unusual creations. Design began in 1956 under the auspices of Ed Cole, and the first vehicles rolled off the assembly line in late 1959 as part of the 1960 model year (in which it was named Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year).

The Corvair — like the Ford Falcon, Studebaker Lark, Rambler, and the Plymouth Valiant — was created in response to the small, sporty and fuel-efficient automobiles being imported from Europe by Volkswagen, Renault and others.

The Corvair was part of GM's innovative A-body line of cars, but this was by far the most unusual, due to the location and design of its engine. It was a rear-engined vehicle in the style of the Volkswagen Beetle and the Porsche 356 Speedster. The "trunk", on the other hand, was in the front of the vehicle, while the spare tire was stored above the flat engine, saving trunk space.

The entire line (which eventually grew to incorporate sedans, coupes, convertibles, vans, pickups and station wagons) initially shared an aluminum, air-cooled 140 in³ (2.3 L) flat-6 engine. The first engines produced as little as 80 hp (60 kW), but later developed as much as 180 hp (134 kW). For 24 hours, the Corvair was tested at the Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, California, one car did a roll but the other did the 24 hour drive and only lost a quart (1 L) of oil (Source: Riverside Raceway Palace of Speed by Dick Wallen)

The first Corvairs (1960 – 1964) were factory equipped with an ignition lock wherein it was possible to start the car and then remove the key. Doing so in Southern California and being caught by the Los Angeles Police Department was a guaranteed ticket to a weekend in jail.

History

The Corvair name originated as a fastback show car in 1954, which, like many Chevy concept cars of the period, were based on the Corvette, including the Chevrolet Nomad and Chevrolet Impala. The design was championed by Ed Cole, Chevrolet chief engineer in the early 1950s and general manager in the late 1950s, as an answer to the growing popularity of small, lightweight imported cars.

The early 1960 models were conceived as economy cars, and had boxy styling, basic trim, and few amenities to keep prices down despite the relatively expensive and unique powertrain. A novel feature available for two-doors was a fold-down rear seat, included on some higher-level models. Passenger compartment heat was supplied by a gasoline heater mounted in the luggage compartment. The line quickly grew from plain, four-door sedans with bench seats (the base 500 and slightly more upscale 700) to the Monza 900, a two-door coupe with bucket seats and plush trim introduced late in the model year. Optional was a more powerful engine rated at 95 horsepower, thanks to a more radical camshaft and low-restriction exhaust. Despite its late introduction, the Monza sold 12,000 copies, making it one of the most popular Corvairs.

1961

For 1961 Chevrolet added an optional four-speed manual transmission to augment the standard three-speed manual and optional two-speed automatic. The Corvair engine received its first size increase to 145 in³, courtesy of a slight increase in bore size. The base engine was still rated at 80 hp (60 kW) when paired with the manual transmissions and 84 hp (63 kW) when mated to the optional automatic transmission. The high-performance engine was rated at 98 hp (73 kW). The standard heater was changed from the gasoline heater to engine cooling air ducted into the passenger compartment. The gasoline heater remained an option through 1964.

A station wagon, the Lakewood, was also added to the lineup in 1961, and it contained a total of 68 ft³ (1.9 m³) of cargo room — 58 in the main passenger compartment, and another 10 in the "trunk" under the hood. Engine heat and gasoline odors migrating up through the floor of the station wagon proved to be a persistent problem, and the wagon was relatively short-lived.

That same year, Chevrolet also introduced the Corvair 95 line of light-duty truck, which used the Corvair driveline and were forward-control, with the driver sitting over the front wheels, as in the Volkswagen Type 2. The Corvan model was available in a myriad of configurations as both a panel van and a window van. There were also two models of pickup available. The Loadside was a fairly typical pickup of the era, except for the rear engine, forward controls, and a strange pit in the middle of the bed, The more popular pickup was the Rampside model, which, as its name implies, had a large fold-down ramp on the side of the pickup bed. Rampsides were used by the Bell System because of the ease with which cable reels could be rolled in and out of the bed.

The Greenbrier Sportswagon used the same body as the Corvan with window option, but was marketed as a station wagon like the Lakewood, and was available with trim and paint options similar to the cars, arguably making it the first American Minivan.

Continuing from the end of the previous year was the Monza, heavily promoted and sometimes considered "the poor man's Porsche." The Monza was expanded to a four-door as well as a two-door coupe, and garnered around 144,000 sales.

1962 – 1963

The Corvair's innovative flat-6 engine left room for the spare tire, creating even more room in the forward trunk.

In 1962, Chevrolet introduced the 150 hp (112 kW) turbocharged Monza Spyder, making the Corvair one of the first two production automobiles to come with a turbocharger as a factory option, (with the Oldsmobile F-85 Turbo Jetfire of the same year). The Super Deluxe Monza Spyder introduced improved brakes and suspension, and a multi-gauge instrument cluster which included a tachometer, cylinder head temperature gauge and intake manifold pressure gauge. A convertible option was added as well. The 1963 model year saw the end of the Lakewood station wagon and Loadside pickup, and the availability of a long 3.08 gear for improved fuel economy, but the Corvair otherwise remained largely the same as in 1962.

1964

Significant engineering and safety changes occurred in 1964, while the bodies and models available remained the same.

The lineup remained relatively unchanged for the 1964 model year, with the exception of the engine growing from 145 to 164 in³ (2.3 to 2.7 L)due to an increase in stroke; the base power growing from 80 to 95 hp (60 to 70 kW), and the high performance engine growing from 95 to 110 hp (70 to 80 kW). The Spyder engine remained rated at 150 hp (112 kW)despite the displacement increase of the engine. The Rampside pickup was discontinued at the end of the model year.

1964 also saw a critical improvement in the Corvair's suspension; the car's swing axle rear suspension's tendency to lose traction suddenly and without warning when pushed to the limit was tamed by use of an additional transverse leaf spring coupling both rear wheels. The change was insisted upon by new Chevrolet general manager Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen, who according to contemporary John DeLorean had to threaten to resign in order to get the change approved.

However, a young lawyer named Ralph Nader had written a book called Unsafe at Any Speed in which the 1960-63 Corvair (and its purported greater tendency to roll over) was used as a dramatic case study. Even though a 1972 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety commission study ultimately exonerated the Corvair and declared it no more unsafe than any similar vehicle of its era, Nader's book, which was published in 1965, dealt a severe blow to sales of the Corvair line. The sporty, inexpensive Ford Mustang, based on the conventionally designed Ford Falcon and introduced in late 1964 in response to the Corvair, ultimately finished off Chevrolet's bold experiment.

1965

Cover of IND 1965 Cars publication, featuring Corvair

A dramatic redesign of the Corvair body and suspension and several powerful new engines came in 1965. The new body style lay somewhere between that of a baby Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and a mid-1960s Italian sports car and foreshadowed the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro that eventually replaced the Corvair. A new fully independent suspension similar to that used on the Corvette replaced the original swing axle rear suspension.

The previous 150 hp (112 kW) Monza Spyder was replaced by the normally-aspirated 140 hp (104 kW) Corsa and the 180 hp (134 kW) Corsa Turbo. The Corsa came with more instruments on the panel and a short throw shifter when equipped with the manual transmission. The standard equipment Corsa 140 horsepower (104 kW) engine was notable for the fact that the engine used 4 single-throat carburetors, larger valves, and dual exhaust — the factory's response to a modification which hot-rodders had been making since the car first appeared; it was available as an option on other Corvair trim levels. The base 95 hp (71 kW) and 110 hp (82 kW) high performance engines were carried forward from 1964 for the 500 and Monza models.

By this point, the more utilitarian station wagon, Panel Van, and pickup body styles had all been dropped in favor of the sportier coupe, hardtop sedan and convertible styles. 1965 would be the last year for the Greenbrier window van, which was retained only because of a few fleet orders, with less than 2000 being built. Chevrolet replaced the Corvair-based vans with the Chevrolet Sportvan/GMC Handi-Van, which used a traditional front engine/rear drive axle borrowed from the Chevy II.

1966 – 1969

The 1966 lineup remained essentially unchanged from 1965, and sales began to decline as a result of Nader's book, the popular (and cheaper) new Mustang, and rumors of the upcoming Camaro. The sales decline was also accelerated by a decision at GM to discontinue further development of the Corvair. One change of note was a more robust 4 speed synchromesh transmission for 1966, using the standard Saginaw gear set used by other GM vehicles. The new transmission was capable of handling more stress, though generally wasn't as smooth shifting as the earlier transmission. Also, the gear ratios were carried over from other GM cars, and were not optimal for a street-driven Corvair. A small flexible plastic air dam was installed below the front apron to alleviate problems with front-end lift at high speeds. It is a popular retrofit to the 1965 models both for functional and aesthetic reasons.

1967 Corvair Monza

In 1967 the Camaro was introduced and the Corvair line was trimmed to the base 500 sedan and coupe, and the Monza sedan, coupe and convertible. The 140 hp (104 kW) and 180 hp (134 kW) engine options were deleted as well, although the 140 HP option would be later reintroduced as a Regular Production Option and would remain available until Corvair production ended.

In 1968 the line was trimmed even further to just the coupe and convertible, and sales were down to 15,400. This model year was the first equipped with true collapsible steering columns, a final response to one of the most valid safety criticisms.

Corvair production finally ceased in 1969 with sales of only 6,000 cars, a victim of Nader's book, Ford's Mustang, and Chevrolet's own Camaro and Nova. Although negative publicity hurt the Corvair, ongoing litigation is believed to have extended the production life of the vehicle, as ending production would have been construed as an admission by General Motors that the product was flawed.

In the 1970s an abortive attempt was made by Corvair tuner John Fitch (driver) to found a company dedicated to acquiring 1965 – 1969 Corvairs in good condition and rebuilding them from the ground up. The finished car was not sold as a restoration, but with newer headlights and taillights and minor mechanical improvements, as a sort of an update. It is not known how many were completed.

Engineering

The Chevrolet Corvair engine, unique for an American car, presented a different set of requirements for mechanics, many of whom treated the engine in the same way as they would an engine of normal design, leading to problems.

An engineering weakness not generally highlighted related to fumes and gases entering the passenger area via the heater system, a problem endemic to an air-cooled engine that uses heat radiated from the engine directly to heat air for the passenger compartment. Carbon monoxide and other noxious or deadly gases could enter the sedan passenger areas if exhaust system gaskets aged or failed using this system, since the gaskets were inside the heater box air intakes and air for engine cooling and passenger heating was mixed together as one common airflow. The 1960 model Corvairs used a GM Harrison division gasoline heater located in the front trunk area, as its standard heater, similar to the Eberspächer heater offered as an auxiliary heater by Volkswagen as a dealer-installed option. It operated independently from fuel in the cars' gas tank, but this feature became optional in 1961 and was dropped in 1965 due to weak consumer demand. Chronic oil leakage from the pushrod tubes, caused by GM's poor choice of pushrod tube seal material, also contaminated the passenger heating air. That air might also become noxious if a 6-inch (152 mm) wide rubber seal almost 16 feet (5 m) long, located between the engine assembly and the body, was not maintained in like-new condition. Another common problem in the earlier years was oil leakage caused by dissimilar metal thermal expansion on the aluminum and steel engine. Chevrolet wrestled with several problems of this nature the entire time the Corvair was in production with varying degrees of success.

The interior air would also be contaminated if the voltage regulator allowed an over-voltage condition and the original battery vent hoses were not attached. The battery, which was mounted in the engine compartment, could emit sulfuric acid vapor if overcharged. Chevrolet installed special battery caps and hoses that vented the battery to air outside the engine compartment, but these were often discarded by owners during the car's life. The Volkswagen Beetle (Type I), another automobile with an air cooled engine, located the battery in the passenger compartment under the rear seat. This may have been a source of noxious interior fumes in that vehicle as well, and was also a fire hazard if the battery terminal insulator was not placed over the battery and someone or something heavy sat on the seat. The Beetle heater system better isolated fresh air from engine cooling air fumes, and was only susceptible to carbon monoxide contamination from the two heat exchanger to muffler seals at the rear of the engine, as opposed to the eight exhaust joints in the Corvair system. The VW Beetle, likewise, was susceptible to poor engine perimeter seal maintenance resulting in contaminated air being sucked into the cooling fan, which supplied passenger compartment heat as in the Corvair.

This air contamination problem is illustrated by the fact that many American cities' taxi regulations had prohibited air-cooled engine cars from being used as taxicabs when they derived their heated air from engine exhaust heat, decades before the Corvair and VW Beetle entered the market.

A criticism in Lawyer Ralph Nader's 1965 book concerned the steering column design. Like most cars of its era, the Corvair's steering column was rigid and could impale the driver in a front-end collision. While the Corvair's steering box was mounted ahead of the front cross-member, it was well behind the frame horns, in what would later be called a "crumple zone," and could, in a severe front-end collision, push the steering column and steering wheel toward the driver. In practice, most driver chest injuries were sustained due to the lack of a shoulder belt, rather than steering column intrusion. Any increase in risk of injury due to steering column intrusion in a front-end collision was, however, more than offset by the absence of an incompressible engine and transmission in the front of the vehicle, which commonly intruded into passenger compartments on vehicles of the era. Chevrolet, aware of Nader's criticism, changed the steering shaft to a two-part design with a frangible joint in the 1966 model year, and a collapsible steering column was provided in 1967, towards the end of the model's life span.

In defense of Nader's criticism of the Corvair's swing axle rear suspension, some writers have pointed to a critical factor in the combination of soft "American-style" springs together with an unusually large and heavy engine for a rear-engine, air-cooled car. Both of these factors would have greatly increased the potential for excessive body lean and over-cambering of the suspension in sharp turns, as compared with smaller and lighter contemporary Volkswagens, Renaults, Porsches, and other rear-engined cars. In addition, the car was designed to avoid terminal oversteer by using very low air pressure in the front tires, typically 12 to 15 pounds force per square inch (80 to 100 kPa), so that they would begin to understeer (slip) before the swing axle oversteer would come into play. Although this pressure was quite adequate for the very lightweight Corvair front end, owners and mechanics, either through ignorance of the necessity for this pressure differential between front and rear or thinking that the pressure was too low for the front, would frequently inflate the front tires to more "normal" pressures, thus ensuring that the rear of the car would lose traction before the front, causing it to oversteer. It should be mentioned that the Corvair is by no means unique in requiring dissimilar front and rear tire pressures for normal controllability. The Ford Explorer had widely-publicized stability problems when equal pressures were used. See Firestone vs Ford Motor Company controversy.

Although Nader probably overstated the severity of the handling problems, as was later found by US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigators, Chevrolet made changes to the suspension: in 1964, adding a transverse leaf spring extending between the rear wheels to limit rear wheel camber change. In 1965 the Corvair got a state of the art fully independent rear suspension closely resembling that of the contemporary Corvette, even sharing some components. These changes were, however, viewed as Chevrolet's recognition of possible problems with the original design.

Modifications

Many sports car purists were more interested in the Corvair (particularly the 1965 and later cars) than in more conventional designs, such as the Ford Mustang, despite the latter's power advantage. From the first appearance of the Corvair, a large selection of high-performance equipment and modifications became available for it.

Yenko Stinger

Don Yenko, who had been racing Corvettes, could not compete successfully against the Carroll Shelby Mustangs after they arrived on the scene; he therefore decided to race modified Corvairs, beginning with the 1966 model. As the stock Corvair did not fit into any of the SCCA categories, Yenko had to modify four-carburetor Corsas into "sports cars" by removing the back seat; in the process he would introduce various performance improvements. As the SCCA required 100 cars to be manufactured to homologate the model for production racing, Yenko completed 100 Stingers in one month in 1965. Although all were white, as the SCCA required for American cars at the time, there was a great deal of variety between individual cars; some had exterior modifications including fiberglass engine covers with spoilers, some did not; some received engine upgrades developing 160, 190, 220, or 240 hp (119, 142, 164, or 179 kW). All were equipped by the Chevrolet factory with heavy duty suspension, four speed transmission, quicker steering ratio, positraction differentials (50 with 3.89 gears, and 50 with 3.55 when Chevrolet dropped the 3.89) and dual brake master cylinders (the first application of this by Chevrolet, to become stock equipment the next year). The Stingers competed in Class D Production, which was dominated by the Triumph TR4, which was very quick in racing trim; however in its first race in January 1966, the Stinger was able to come in second by only one second. By the end of the 1966 season, Jerry Thompson had won the Central Division Championship and placed fifth in the 1966 Nationals, Dick Thompson, a highly successful Corvette race driver, had won the Northeast Division Championship, and Jim Spencer had won the Central Division Championship, with Dino Milani taking second place.

The next year, however, Chevrolet dropped the Corsa line, and the Monza line was not initially available stock with the four carburetor engine; the engine was eventually offered as a special performance option, however, along with the 3.89 differential. The Monza instrumentation, however, did not have a tachometer or head temperature gauges, which had to be separately installed. The SCCA, on the other hand, had relaxed its ruling regarding color, and the cars were available in red or blue. It is believed that only fourteen 1967 Stingers were built, but Dana Chevrolet, who distributed Stingers on the US West Coast, ordered an additional three similar cars to be built to Stinger specifications, but with the AIR injection system to meet California emissions laws, with Yenko's permission. A total of 185 Stingers are believed to have been built, the last being YS-9700 built for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company as a tire test vehicle in 1969 – 1970.

Comedian, television star, and car enthusiast Tim Allen currently owns and races Yenko Stinger #YS-043.

John Fitch Corvair Sprint

Longtime roadracer John Fitch was particularly interested in the Corvair as the basis for a spirited road and track oriented car, due to its handling. The basic Sprint received only minor modifications to the engine, bringing it to 155 horsepower (116 kW), but upgrades to the shock absorbers and springs, adjustments to the wheel alignment, quicker steering ratio, alloy wheels, metallic brake linings, the obligatory wood-rimmed steering wheel (leather available for an additional $9.95) and other such minor alterations made it extremely competitive with European sports cars costing much more. Body options such as spoilers were available, but the most visually remarkable option was the "Ventop", a fiberglass overlay for the C-pillars and rear of the roof that gave the car a "flying buttress" profile.

Fitch went on to design and build a prototype of the Fitch Phoenix, a Corvair-based two-seat sports car, superficially resembling a smaller version of the Mako Shark based Corvette. With a total weight of 1,950 pounds (885 kg), even with a steel body, and with the Corvair engine modified with Weber carburetors to deliver 175 horsepower (130 kW), the car delivered spirited performance for $8,760. Unfortunately, the Traffic Safety Act of 1966 placed restrictions on the ability to produce automobiles on a small scale; this was followed by Chevrolet's decision to terminate production of the Corvair, which confirmed the end of Fitch's plan. He still retains the prototype however, and occasionally exhibits it at car shows.

V8 Corvairs

The ultimate Corvair modification was replacement of the engine with a V8. As daunting as this might seem, two things made it possible:

  1. The Corvair engine rotated in the opposite direction from most other engines, so that if a V8 was placed in the rear seat area (the added weight of a V8 in the original location of the Corvair engine would be abominable to drive), and the transaxle was rotated 180 degrees to meet it, the gearing would drive the car in the proper direction, not four speeds in reverse and one forward
  2. The switch in 1966 to using standard Chevrolet Saginaw gear sets in the manual transmission could handle the torque of a V8.

A radiator occupies the former trunk, in the front of the vehicle. However, the former engine compartment in the rear now is available as luggage space. A complete kit to adapt a Chevrolet small-block V8 to a Corvair was manufactured by a company named Crown Manufacturing, for $600. The resulting vehicle weighed only 2,750 pounds (1250 kg), compared to 3,700 pounds (1680 kg) for a small block Corvette, and possessed independent rear suspension of almost the same design. Crown's prototype with 350 horsepower (261 kW) Corvette engine recorded an elapsed time of 12.22 seconds and 105 miles per hour (169 km/h) in the quarter mile (402 m). An advantage of this modification is that the rearward weight distribution gives excellent traction without the need for slick or "cheater slick" tires, let alone modifying the wheelbase as on the FX cars of the time The mid-engine design also provides optimal handling characteristics. Although a few Corvairs have been modified to accept the Chevrolet big-block engine, the added size of the engine makes the work significantly more difficult, and the result, although a great performer, tends to be unreliable.


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Although a few Corvairs have been modified to accept the Chevrolet big-block engine, the added size of the engine makes the work significantly more difficult, and the result, although a great performer, tends to be unreliable. Common formats in digital camera images are DCF, DPOF, EXIF, JPEG, RAW, TIFF; formats for movies are AVI, DV, MPEG, MOV, WMV etc. An advantage of this modification is that the rearward weight distribution gives excellent traction without the need for slick or "cheater slick" tires, let alone modifying the wheelbase as on the FX cars of the time The mid-engine design also provides optimal handling characteristics. Some DVD recorders and television sets can read memory cards too. Crown's prototype with 350 horsepower (261 kW) Corvette engine recorded an elapsed time of 12.22 seconds and 105 miles per hour (169 km/h) in the quarter mile (402 m). The camera connects to the printer, which then downloads and prints its images. The resulting vehicle weighed only 2,750 pounds (1250 kg), compared to 3,700 pounds (1680 kg) for a small block Corvette, and possessed independent rear suspension of almost the same design. An autonomous device, such as a PictBridge printer, operates without need of a computer .

A complete kit to adapt a Chevrolet small-block V8 to a Corvair was manufactured by a company named Crown Manufacturing, for $600. Earlier consumer-based digital cameras used floppy disks. However, the former engine compartment in the rear now is available as luggage space. In common use are Compact Flash (CF) (which includes microdrives, as they use the same format), Secure Digital (SD) cards, xD cards, and for Sony devices, Memory Stick cards. A radiator occupies the former trunk, in the front of the vehicle. Most dedicated cameras, however, use a removable memory card to store data. As daunting as this might seem, two things made it possible:. Cheap cameras and cameras secondary to the devices main use (such as a camera phone) use onboard memory, such as flash memory.

The ultimate Corvair modification was replacement of the engine with a V8. Digital cameras need memory to store data. He still retains the prototype however, and occasionally exhibits it at car shows. Mobile phone cameras are even more common than standalone digital cameras. Unfortunately, the Traffic Safety Act of 1966 placed restrictions on the ability to produce automobiles on a small scale; this was followed by Chevrolet's decision to terminate production of the Corvair, which confirmed the end of Fitch's plan. Some devices, like mobile phones and PDAs, contain integrated digital cameras. With a total weight of 1,950 pounds (885 kg), even with a steel body, and with the Corvair engine modified with Weber carburetors to deliver 175 horsepower (130 kW), the car delivered spirited performance for $8,760. Some cameras such as the Kodak EasyShare One are able to connect to computer networks wirelessly via 802.11 Wi-Fi.

Fitch went on to design and build a prototype of the Fitch Phoenix, a Corvair-based two-seat sports car, superficially resembling a smaller version of the Mako Shark based Corvette. USB is the most widely used method, though some have a FireWire port or use Bluetooth. Body options such as spoilers were available, but the most visually remarkable option was the "Ventop", a fiberglass overlay for the C-pillars and rear of the roof that gave the car a "flying buttress" profile. Early cameras used the PC serial port. The basic Sprint received only minor modifications to the engine, bringing it to 155 horsepower (116 kW), but upgrades to the shock absorbers and springs, adjustments to the wheel alignment, quicker steering ratio, alloy wheels, metallic brake linings, the obligatory wood-rimmed steering wheel (leather available for an additional $9.95) and other such minor alterations made it extremely competitive with European sports cars costing much more. Many digital cameras can connect directly to a computer to transfer data. Longtime roadracer John Fitch was particularly interested in the Corvair as the basis for a spirited road and track oriented car, due to its handling. In some cases, extra resolution is interpolated into the image by shifting photosites off of a standard grid pattern so that photosites are adjacent to each other at 45 degree angles, and all three values are interpolated for "virtual" photosites which fall into the spaces at 90 degree angles from the actual photosites.

Comedian, television star, and car enthusiast Tim Allen currently owns and races Yenko Stinger #YS-043. The luminous intensity color values not captured for each pixel can be interpolated (or guessed at) from the values of adjacent pixels which represent the color being calculated. A total of 185 Stingers are believed to have been built, the last being YS-9700 built for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company as a tire test vehicle in 1969 – 1970. This provides a wider color gamut, but requires a slightly more complicated interpolation process. It is believed that only fourteen 1967 Stingers were built, but Dana Chevrolet, who distributed Stingers on the US West Coast, ordered an additional three similar cars to be built to Stinger specifications, but with the AIR injection system to meet California emissions laws, with Yenko's permission. Sometimes a 4-color filter pattern is used, often involving 2 different hues of green. The SCCA, on the other hand, had relaxed its ruling regarding color, and the cars were available in red or blue. The high proportion of green takes advantage of properties of the human visual system, which determines brightness mostly from green and is far more sensitive to brightness than to hue or saturation.

The Monza instrumentation, however, did not have a tachometer or head temperature gauges, which had to be separately installed. A Bayer filter pattern is a 2x2 pattern of light filters, with green ones at opposite corners and red and blue elsewhere. The next year, however, Chevrolet dropped the Corsa line, and the Monza line was not initially available stock with the four carburetor engine; the engine was eventually offered as a special performance option, however, along with the 3.89 differential. The Bayer filter pattern is typically used. By the end of the 1966 season, Jerry Thompson had won the Central Division Championship and placed fifth in the 1966 Nationals, Dick Thompson, a highly successful Corvette race driver, had won the Northeast Division Championship, and Jim Spencer had won the Central Division Championship, with Dino Milani taking second place. A normal sensor element cannot simultaneously record these three values. The Stingers competed in Class D Production, which was dominated by the Triumph TR4, which was very quick in racing trim; however in its first race in January 1966, the Stinger was able to come in second by only one second. This is because in digital images, each pixel must have three values for luminous intensity, one each for the red, green, and blue channels.

All were equipped by the Chevrolet factory with heavy duty suspension, four speed transmission, quicker steering ratio, positraction differentials (50 with 3.89 gears, and 50 with 3.55 when Chevrolet dropped the 3.89) and dual brake master cylinders (the first application of this by Chevrolet, to become stock equipment the next year). The software specific to the camera interprets the information from the sensor to obtain a full color image. Although all were white, as the SCCA required for American cars at the time, there was a great deal of variety between individual cars; some had exterior modifications including fiberglass engine covers with spoilers, some did not; some received engine upgrades developing 160, 190, 220, or 240 hp (119, 142, 164, or 179 kW). Image color or resolution interpolation is used unless the camera uses a beam splitter single-shot approach, three-filter multi-shot approach, or Foveon X3 sensor currently used in Sigma SD10 DSLR and Polaroid x530 point and shoot. As the SCCA required 100 cars to be manufactured to homologate the model for production racing, Yenko completed 100 Stingers in one month in 1965. However, the higher color fidelity and larger file sizes and resolutions available with multi-shot and scan-backs make them attractive for commercial photographers working with stationary subjects and large-format photographs. As the stock Corvair did not fit into any of the SCCA categories, Yenko had to modify four-carburetor Corsas into "sports cars" by removing the back seat; in the process he would introduce various performance improvements. It is usually inappropriate to attempt to capture a subject which moves (like people or objects in motion) with anything but a single shot system.

Don Yenko, who had been racing Corvettes, could not compete successfully against the Carroll Shelby Mustangs after they arrived on the scene; he therefore decided to race modified Corvairs, beginning with the 1966 model. The choice of method for a given capture is of course determined largely by the subject matter. From the first appearance of the Corvair, a large selection of high-performance equipment and modifications became available for it. These CCDs are usually referred to as "sticks" rather than "chips" because they utilize only a single row of pixels (more properly "photosites") which are again "stamped" with the Bayer filter. Many sports car purists were more interested in the Corvair (particularly the 1965 and later cars) than in more conventional designs, such as the Ford Mustang, despite the latter's power advantage. The third method is called "Scan" because the sensor moves across the focus plane much like the sensor of a desktop scanner. These changes were, however, viewed as Chevrolet's recognition of possible problems with the original design. A third version combined the two methods without stamping a Bayer filter onto the chip.

In 1965 the Corvair got a state of the art fully independent rear suspension closely resembling that of the contemporary Corvette, even sharing some components. Another multiple shot method utilized a single CCD with a Bayer filter but actually moved the physical location of the sensor chip on the focus plane of the lens to "stitch" together a higher resolution image than the CCD would allow otherwise. Although Nader probably overstated the severity of the handling problems, as was later found by US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigators, Chevrolet made changes to the suspension: in 1964, adding a transverse leaf spring extending between the rear wheels to limit rear wheel camber change. The most common originally was to use a single CCD with three filters (once again red, green and blue) passed in front of the sensor in sequence to obtain the additive color information. See Firestone vs Ford Motor Company controversy. There are several methods of application of the multi-shot technique. The Ford Explorer had widely-publicized stability problems when equal pressures were used. The second method is referred to as "Multi-Shot" because the sensor is exposed to the image in a sequence of three or more openings of the lens aperture.

It should be mentioned that the Corvair is by no means unique in requiring dissimilar front and rear tire pressures for normal controllability. Single Shot capture systems use either one CCD with a Bayer filter stamped onto it or three separate CCDs (one each for the primary additive colors Red, Green and Blue) which are exposed to the same image via a beam splitter. Although this pressure was quite adequate for the very lightweight Corvair front end, owners and mechanics, either through ignorance of the necessity for this pressure differential between front and rear or thinking that the pressure was too low for the front, would frequently inflate the front tires to more "normal" pressures, thus ensuring that the rear of the car would lose traction before the front, causing it to oversteer. The first method is often called "Single Shot," in reference to the number of times the camera's sensor is exposed to the light passing through the camera lens. In addition, the car was designed to avoid terminal oversteer by using very low air pressure in the front tires, typically 12 to 15 pounds force per square inch (80 to 100 kPa), so that they would begin to understeer (slip) before the swing axle oversteer would come into play. the camera body had multiple lenses, viewfinders, winders and backs available for use with it to fit different needs.) Since the first backs were introduced there have been three main methods of "capturing" the image, each based on the hardware configuration of the particular back. Both of these factors would have greatly increased the potential for excessive body lean and over-cambering of the suspension in sharp turns, as compared with smaller and lighter contemporary Volkswagens, Renaults, Porsches, and other rear-engined cars. (This is because most of the large- and medium-format camera systems in professional use at the time that digital capture overtook film as the professional's medium of choice were modular in nature, i.e.

In defense of Nader's criticism of the Corvair's swing axle rear suspension, some writers have pointed to a critical factor in the combination of soft "American-style" springs together with an unusually large and heavy engine for a rear-engine, air-cooled car. High-end digital camera backs used by professionals are usually separate devices from the camera bodies which they are used with. Chevrolet, aware of Nader's criticism, changed the steering shaft to a two-part design with a frangible joint in the 1966 model year, and a collapsible steering column was provided in 1967, towards the end of the model's life span. For our purposes, a chip sensor is a CCD. Any increase in risk of injury due to steering column intrusion in a front-end collision was, however, more than offset by the absence of an incompressible engine and transmission in the front of the vehicle, which commonly intruded into passenger compartments on vehicles of the era. CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) sensors are differentiated from CCDs proper in that it uses less power and a different kind of light sensing material, however the differences are highly technical and many manufacturers still consider the CMOS chip a charged coupled device. In practice, most driver chest injuries were sustained due to the lack of a shoulder belt, rather than steering column intrusion. chips comprised of a grid of phototransistors to sense the light intensities across the plane of focus of the camera lens.

While the Corvair's steering box was mounted ahead of the front cross-member, it was well behind the frame horns, in what would later be called a "crumple zone," and could, in a severe front-end collision, push the steering column and steering wheel toward the driver. All use either a CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) or a CMOS sensor, i.e. Like most cars of its era, the Corvair's steering column was rigid and could impale the driver in a front-end collision. The actual transfers to a host computer are commonly carried out using the USB mass storage device class (so that the camera appear as a drive) or using the Picture Transfer Protocol and its derivatives. A criticism in Lawyer Ralph Nader's 1965 book concerned the steering column design. They are rated in megapixels; that is, the product of their maximum resolution dimensions in millions. This air contamination problem is illustrated by the fact that many American cities' taxi regulations had prohibited air-cooled engine cars from being used as taxicabs when they derived their heated air from engine exhaust heat, decades before the Corvair and VW Beetle entered the market. Among digital still cameras, most have a rear LCD for reviewing photographs.

The VW Beetle, likewise, was susceptible to poor engine perimeter seal maintenance resulting in contaminated air being sucked into the cooling fan, which supplied passenger compartment heat as in the Corvair. In addition, some newer camcorders record video directly to flash memory and transfer over USB and FireWire. The Beetle heater system better isolated fresh air from engine cooling air fumes, and was only susceptible to carbon monoxide contamination from the two heat exchanger to muffler seals at the rear of the engine, as opposed to the eight exhaust joints in the Corvair system. However, modern digital photography cameras have a video function, and a growing number of camcorders have a still photography function. This may have been a source of noxious interior fumes in that vehicle as well, and was also a fire hazard if the battery terminal insulator was not placed over the battery and someone or something heavy sat on the seat. Initially, a digital camera was characterized by the use of flash memory and USB or FireWire for storage and transfer of still photographs, and this is still the common meaning of the unadorned term. The Volkswagen Beetle (Type I), another automobile with an air cooled engine, located the battery in the passenger compartment under the rear seat. Digital still cameras are cameras whose primary purpose is to capture photography in a digital format.

Chevrolet installed special battery caps and hoses that vented the battery to air outside the engine compartment, but these were often discarded by owners during the car's life. In addition, many still digital cameras have a "movie" mode, in which images are continuously acquired at a frame rate sufficient for video. The battery, which was mounted in the engine compartment, could emit sulfuric acid vapor if overcharged. Digital cameras can be classified into several groups:. The interior air would also be contaminated if the voltage regulator allowed an over-voltage condition and the original battery vent hoses were not attached. Mavica worked off magnetic disks and was based on television technology that inherently limited image quality. Chevrolet wrestled with several problems of this nature the entire time the Corvair was in production with varying degrees of success. Sony marketed Mavica, the first filmless camera in 1981.

Another common problem in the earlier years was oil leakage caused by dissimilar metal thermal expansion on the aluminum and steel engine. components, a Kodak movie-camera lens and the tiny CCD chips introduced by Fairchild Semiconductor in 1973. That air might also become noxious if a 6-inch (152 mm) wide rubber seal almost 16 feet (5 m) long, located between the engine assembly and the body, was not maintained in like-new condition. For his device, Sasson used an analog-to-digital converter adapted from Motorola Inc. Chronic oil leakage from the pushrod tubes, caused by GM's poor choice of pushrod tube seal material, also contaminated the passenger heating air. No one, however, had attempted a completely solid-state digital-video device. It operated independently from fuel in the cars' gas tank, but this feature became optional in 1961 and was dropped in 1965 due to weak consumer demand. Before that time television cameras had converted images into analog electrical signals, cameras aboard robot space probes had digitized photographs using vacuum tube components and relayed them back to Earth, and Texas Instruments had designed a filmless but analog-based electronic camera in 1972.

The 1960 model Corvairs used a GM Harrison division gasoline heater located in the front trunk area, as its standard heater, similar to the Eberspächer heater offered as an auxiliary heater by Volkswagen as a dealer-installed option. The question was simply 'Could we build a camera using solid-state imagers?' At that time (1970s) the CCD had just come out, and people were curious about its applications. Carbon monoxide and other noxious or deadly gases could enter the sedan passenger areas if exhaust system gaskets aged or failed using this system, since the gaskets were inside the heater box air intakes and air for engine cooling and passenger heating was mixed together as one common airflow. Sasson's masters supervisor, Gareth Lloyd, set him an open ended assignment. An engineering weakness not generally highlighted related to fumes and gases entering the passenger area via the heater system, a problem endemic to an air-cooled engine that uses heat radiated from the engine directly to heat air for the passenger compartment. Steven Sasson, an engineer working for Eastman Kodak, is credited with developing the first digital camera, an 8-pound toaster sized box that captured a black-and-white image on a digital cassette tape at a resolution of .01 megapixels. The Chevrolet Corvair engine, unique for an American car, presented a different set of requirements for mechanics, many of whom treated the engine in the same way as they would an engine of normal design, leading to problems. .

It is not known how many were completed. Modern digital cameras are typically multifunctional and the same device can take photographs, video, and/or sound. The finished car was not sold as a restoration, but with newer headlights and taillights and minor mechanical improvements, as a sort of an update. A digital camera, is an electronic device to transform images into electronic data. In the 1970s an abortive attempt was made by Corvair tuner John Fitch (driver) to found a company dedicated to acquiring 1965 – 1969 Corvairs in good condition and rebuilding them from the ground up. They are superb for portraiture and artistic photography because they can be customized for various applications with a comprehensive range of exchangeable lenses. Although negative publicity hurt the Corvair, ongoing litigation is believed to have extended the production life of the vehicle, as ending production would have been construed as an admission by General Motors that the product was flawed. They are also bulkier and frequently much more expensive than their casual-use oriented counterparts.

Corvair production finally ceased in 1969 with sales of only 6,000 cars, a victim of Nader's book, Ford's Mustang, and Chevrolet's own Camaro and Nova. They resemble ordinary professional cameras in most ways, most with replaceable flash and lens components, which give the user maximum control over light, focus and depth of field. This model year was the first equipped with true collapsible steering columns, a final response to one of the most valid safety criticisms. Digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR) share the optical layout of single-lens reflex cameras and typically have a sensor many times larger than that of a standard digital camera, and are targeted at professional photographers and enthusiasts. In 1968 the line was trimmed even further to just the coupe and convertible, and sales were down to 15,400. They excel in landscape photography and casual use. The 140 hp (104 kW) and 180 hp (134 kW) engine options were deleted as well, although the 140 HP option would be later reintroduced as a Regular Production Option and would remain available until Corvair production ended. It is also part of the reason professional photographers find their images flat or artificial-looking.

In 1967 the Camaro was introduced and the Corvair line was trimmed to the base 500 sedan and coupe, and the Monza sedan, coupe and convertible. This allows objects at multiple depths to be in focus simultaneously, which accounts for much of their ease of focusing. It is a popular retrofit to the 1965 models both for functional and aesthetic reasons. They have an extended depth of field. A small flexible plastic air dam was installed below the front apron to alleviate problems with front-end lift at high speeds. They are characterized by great ease in operation and easy focusing; this design allows for limited motion picture capability. Also, the gear ratios were carried over from other GM cars, and were not optimal for a street-driven Corvair. Standard Digital Cameras (also called compact digital cameras or digicams): This encompasses most digital cameras.

The new transmission was capable of handling more stress, though generally wasn't as smooth shifting as the earlier transmission. Webcams can capture full-motion video as well, and some models include microphones or zoom ability. One change of note was a more robust 4 speed synchromesh transmission for 1966, using the standard Saginaw gear set used by other GM vehicles. Webcams are digital cameras attached to computers, used for video conferencing or other purposes. The sales decline was also accelerated by a decision at GM to discontinue further development of the Corvair. They generally include a microphone to record sound, and feature a small LCD to watch the video during filming and playback. The 1966 lineup remained essentially unchanged from 1965, and sales began to decline as a result of Nader's book, the popular (and cheaper) new Mustang, and rumors of the upcoming Camaro. These are a combination of camera and VCR to create an all-in-one production unit.

Chevrolet replaced the Corvair-based vans with the Chevrolet Sportvan/GMC Handi-Van, which used a traditional front engine/rear drive axle borrowed from the Chevy II. Camcorders used by amateurs. 1965 would be the last year for the Greenbrier window van, which was retained only because of a few fleet orders, with less than 2000 being built. Professional video cameras usually do not have a built-in VCR or microphone. By this point, the more utilitarian station wagon, Panel Van, and pickup body styles had all been dropped in favor of the sportier coupe, hardtop sedan and convertible styles. These typically have multiple image sensors (one per color) to enhance resolution and color gamut. The base 95 hp (71 kW) and 110 hp (82 kW) high performance engines were carried forward from 1964 for the 500 and Monza models. Professional video cameras such as those used in television and movie production.

The standard equipment Corsa 140 horsepower (104 kW) engine was notable for the fact that the engine used 4 single-throat carburetors, larger valves, and dual exhaust — the factory's response to a modification which hot-rodders had been making since the car first appeared; it was available as an option on other Corvair trim levels. The Corsa came with more instruments on the panel and a short throw shifter when equipped with the manual transmission. The previous 150 hp (112 kW) Monza Spyder was replaced by the normally-aspirated 140 hp (104 kW) Corsa and the 180 hp (134 kW) Corsa Turbo. A new fully independent suspension similar to that used on the Corvette replaced the original swing axle rear suspension.

The new body style lay somewhere between that of a baby Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and a mid-1960s Italian sports car and foreshadowed the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro that eventually replaced the Corvair. A dramatic redesign of the Corvair body and suspension and several powerful new engines came in 1965. The sporty, inexpensive Ford Mustang, based on the conventionally designed Ford Falcon and introduced in late 1964 in response to the Corvair, ultimately finished off Chevrolet's bold experiment. Even though a 1972 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety commission study ultimately exonerated the Corvair and declared it no more unsafe than any similar vehicle of its era, Nader's book, which was published in 1965, dealt a severe blow to sales of the Corvair line.

However, a young lawyer named Ralph Nader had written a book called Unsafe at Any Speed in which the 1960-63 Corvair (and its purported greater tendency to roll over) was used as a dramatic case study. The change was insisted upon by new Chevrolet general manager Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen, who according to contemporary John DeLorean had to threaten to resign in order to get the change approved. 1964 also saw a critical improvement in the Corvair's suspension; the car's swing axle rear suspension's tendency to lose traction suddenly and without warning when pushed to the limit was tamed by use of an additional transverse leaf spring coupling both rear wheels. The Rampside pickup was discontinued at the end of the model year.

The Spyder engine remained rated at 150 hp (112 kW)despite the displacement increase of the engine. The lineup remained relatively unchanged for the 1964 model year, with the exception of the engine growing from 145 to 164 in³ (2.3 to 2.7 L)due to an increase in stroke; the base power growing from 80 to 95 hp (60 to 70 kW), and the high performance engine growing from 95 to 110 hp (70 to 80 kW). Significant engineering and safety changes occurred in 1964, while the bodies and models available remained the same. The 1963 model year saw the end of the Lakewood station wagon and Loadside pickup, and the availability of a long 3.08 gear for improved fuel economy, but the Corvair otherwise remained largely the same as in 1962.

A convertible option was added as well. The Super Deluxe Monza Spyder introduced improved brakes and suspension, and a multi-gauge instrument cluster which included a tachometer, cylinder head temperature gauge and intake manifold pressure gauge. In 1962, Chevrolet introduced the 150 hp (112 kW) turbocharged Monza Spyder, making the Corvair one of the first two production automobiles to come with a turbocharger as a factory option, (with the Oldsmobile F-85 Turbo Jetfire of the same year). Continuing from the end of the previous year was the Monza, heavily promoted and sometimes considered "the poor man's Porsche." The Monza was expanded to a four-door as well as a two-door coupe, and garnered around 144,000 sales.

The Greenbrier Sportswagon used the same body as the Corvan with window option, but was marketed as a station wagon like the Lakewood, and was available with trim and paint options similar to the cars, arguably making it the first American Minivan. Rampsides were used by the Bell System because of the ease with which cable reels could be rolled in and out of the bed. The Loadside was a fairly typical pickup of the era, except for the rear engine, forward controls, and a strange pit in the middle of the bed, The more popular pickup was the Rampside model, which, as its name implies, had a large fold-down ramp on the side of the pickup bed. There were also two models of pickup available.

The Corvan model was available in a myriad of configurations as both a panel van and a window van. That same year, Chevrolet also introduced the Corvair 95 line of light-duty truck, which used the Corvair driveline and were forward-control, with the driver sitting over the front wheels, as in the Volkswagen Type 2. Engine heat and gasoline odors migrating up through the floor of the station wagon proved to be a persistent problem, and the wagon was relatively short-lived. A station wagon, the Lakewood, was also added to the lineup in 1961, and it contained a total of 68 ft³ (1.9 m³) of cargo room — 58 in the main passenger compartment, and another 10 in the "trunk" under the hood.

The gasoline heater remained an option through 1964. The standard heater was changed from the gasoline heater to engine cooling air ducted into the passenger compartment. The high-performance engine was rated at 98 hp (73 kW). The base engine was still rated at 80 hp (60 kW) when paired with the manual transmissions and 84 hp (63 kW) when mated to the optional automatic transmission.

The Corvair engine received its first size increase to 145 in³, courtesy of a slight increase in bore size. For 1961 Chevrolet added an optional four-speed manual transmission to augment the standard three-speed manual and optional two-speed automatic. Despite its late introduction, the Monza sold 12,000 copies, making it one of the most popular Corvairs. Optional was a more powerful engine rated at 95 horsepower, thanks to a more radical camshaft and low-restriction exhaust.

The line quickly grew from plain, four-door sedans with bench seats (the base 500 and slightly more upscale 700) to the Monza 900, a two-door coupe with bucket seats and plush trim introduced late in the model year. Passenger compartment heat was supplied by a gasoline heater mounted in the luggage compartment. A novel feature available for two-doors was a fold-down rear seat, included on some higher-level models. The early 1960 models were conceived as economy cars, and had boxy styling, basic trim, and few amenities to keep prices down despite the relatively expensive and unique powertrain.

The design was championed by Ed Cole, Chevrolet chief engineer in the early 1950s and general manager in the late 1950s, as an answer to the growing popularity of small, lightweight imported cars. The Corvair name originated as a fastback show car in 1954, which, like many Chevy concept cars of the period, were based on the Corvette, including the Chevrolet Nomad and Chevrolet Impala. . Doing so in Southern California and being caught by the Los Angeles Police Department was a guaranteed ticket to a weekend in jail.

The first Corvairs (1960 – 1964) were factory equipped with an ignition lock wherein it was possible to start the car and then remove the key. For 24 hours, the Corvair was tested at the Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, California, one car did a roll but the other did the 24 hour drive and only lost a quart (1 L) of oil (Source: Riverside Raceway Palace of Speed by Dick Wallen). The first engines produced as little as 80 hp (60 kW), but later developed as much as 180 hp (134 kW). The entire line (which eventually grew to incorporate sedans, coupes, convertibles, vans, pickups and station wagons) initially shared an aluminum, air-cooled 140 in³ (2.3 L) flat-6 engine.

The "trunk", on the other hand, was in the front of the vehicle, while the spare tire was stored above the flat engine, saving trunk space. It was a rear-engined vehicle in the style of the Volkswagen Beetle and the Porsche 356 Speedster. The Corvair was part of GM's innovative A-body line of cars, but this was by far the most unusual, due to the location and design of its engine. The Corvair — like the Ford Falcon, Studebaker Lark, Rambler, and the Plymouth Valiant — was created in response to the small, sporty and fuel-efficient automobiles being imported from Europe by Volkswagen, Renault and others.

Design began in 1956 under the auspices of Ed Cole, and the first vehicles rolled off the assembly line in late 1959 as part of the 1960 model year (in which it was named Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year). The Corvair remains one of GMs most unusual creations. The Corvair was offered in a wide range of body styles (such as a four-door sedan, coupe, convertible, station wagon, pickup, panel van, a window van called the Greenbrier) and featured an air-cooled engine, which was unusual for American cars at the time. The Chevrolet Corvair was a rear-engined automobile produced by General Motors from 1960 to 1969.

The switch in 1966 to using standard Chevrolet Saginaw gear sets in the manual transmission could handle the torque of a V8. The Corvair engine rotated in the opposite direction from most other engines, so that if a V8 was placed in the rear seat area (the added weight of a V8 in the original location of the Corvair engine would be abominable to drive), and the transaxle was rotated 180 degrees to meet it, the gearing would drive the car in the proper direction, not four speeds in reverse and one forward.

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