Day 8 – Corvairs
Make no doubt about it, Corvairs were one of the best cars ever made. I may be a bit biased having owned two of them, but they had some unprecedented features and rivaled many other sports cars. While it is common belief that Ralph Nader killed the Corvair when he wrote Unsafe at Any Speed, that’s only part of the story. Nader’s claims were later debunked by a 1972 Texas A&M University safety commission report for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They found the 1960–1963 Corvair possessed no greater potential for loss of control in extreme situations than its contemporaries.
We’re going to stumble upon a Corvair goldmine as we drive through Missouri today.
Leaving Springfield, we find some of your usual Route 66 attractions. While I never really get bored of them, when you’re in a rush to get from point A to B, you tend to skip things that are similar to things you’ve already seen.
While there are many retro theaters, not all of them function as a movie house today. This one, the Tower, is now a radio station.
This place was a cross between a service station and motel. In operation, the Modern Cabins has that look that it has seen better days.
Then there are the automobile service businesses. This one, obviously defunct, has a look of semi-abandonment. It had an old covered up sign out front, while the garage doors were in good, nearly new, state. We saw a lot of this along Route 66 too.
A play on “Gay Paris”, this old 1930s service station has a lot of Americana memorabilia. It is one of those stops along Route 66 where you can spend a lot of time walking around, looking at things, and taking pictures.
You can’t really miss this as it is very close to the road, and quite colorful.
We’re leaving Gay Parita and I spot a Corvair on someone’s lawn. I told Paul I wanted to stop and take some pictures. As we pull off Route 66 to find a safe place to park, I see the home has this beautifully restored Monza Station Wagon – – Just like the one I used to own. However, this one was fully restored.
The owner came out as we pulled up. I asked permission to photograph her car, for which she was more than happy to oblige.
The owner then proceeded to show us their fine collection of Corvairs. They had Spiders, Greenbriars, Monzas, and more. Some hadn’t been restored (yet), while others were in mint condition.
This side loader pickup truck would have been the ultimate lawn care vehicle for Orange Oaks (a business a friend and I started back in the 1970s.) Because it had this ramp you could park at the curb, lower the ramp, and roll your lawnmowers out the side. Cool, cool, cool.
Well, if this was all we saw today, I’d be satisfied. I think when it comes to Corvairs, Paul might think I’m a little crazy.