Corvair Staged Restoration Plan
Unlike many antique car owners, my primary goal with this car is to drive it, not tinker. However, with any old car repair and restoration is an ongoing processes. This page outlines a staged plan for getting the car back into the condition I want. The maintenance page details what's been done or is currently in-process.
Get It Back on the Road: Done
The first step was started 2014-12-18 as detailed on the maintenance page. It includes a number of things to take the uncertainty out of jumping in the car and driving 50 miles. When I brought it home, the wheel bearings on all four corners were shot and the shift linkage was so sloppy, it was often difficult to engage reverse (a common problem in aging Corvairs).
- Done: Replace side glass seals ("fuzzies").
- Nope: Purchase waterproof car cover. You know…for when no roof is available. But this car lives in the garage so no worries.
My car came from the factory with manually tensioned lap belts for the front seats and nothing for the back seats. And that's how it sits at the moment. I would like to replace the original belts with 3-point retracting belts in the front and back. The tricky part is going to be where to attach them. I might have that one figured out in Seats below.
The original seats were recovered five years before I bought the car. However, the original foam is disintigrating into orange dust on the carpet and the driver seat is paricularly unsupportive and uncomfortable. I like the period look and the ease of back seat entry the orignal seats afford, but I think I'd really rather have the safety of head and neck support of something newer. If I'm replacing them anyway, I think I'd like to get something as comfortable and supportive as the Evo's Recaros.
I kinda like the Corbeau CR1 in black with gray suede inserts. The seat heaters might be kinda nice in the air-cooled car. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the factory heater yet. Certainly it is necessary for defrosting the windshield.
|CR1 - Black/Grey Suede||$958.00|
|add driver seat heater||$148.00|
|add passenger seat heater||$148.00|
|Chevrolet Corvair 65-68 Seat Brackets pair, double locking sliders||$250.00|
But I think BMW E46 convertible seats are a much better idea. They hold you firmly in corners and are quite comfortable and available used for much less than new Corbeaus. The shoulder belts are built into the seat backs so you can avoid the complication shoulder belts add to rear seat entry and I don't have to create a third anchor point in the roof or side. Given that creates a huge torque on the floor attachment points, those would need to be beefed up with more steel, but we're talking custom fabricated brackets anyway. Probably run less than $500 for welded brackets.
Wheels & Tires
- I'd like a period if not specifically Corvair look:
- 17x8 4.5" backspace F/R or that and 17x9 5" backspace rear? This article indicates it's possible but doesn't specify the backspacing. Another article has more info, but not exactly that for which I seek. Bryan Blackwell has the definitive reference for Corvair tires and wheels.
- 205/50/17 replaces the current 205/60/15 nicely on a 7" wide wheel, but what about 225/40/17 F/R on 8" wide wheels or that and 255/40/17 R on 8"/9" staggered wheels?
- Individual car specs being what they are, I'll probably end up buying something close and work out any rubbing issues.
- Doubtless I'll need to settle the suspension issue first.
- Dump the RWL BFGs in favor of modern tires.
- Rust abatement in at least half a dozen spots.
- Repaint as necessary or whole car.
None of this is critical and this car hardly ever sees rain, so I'm in no hurry.
Floor mats— Done
- Hidden Bluetooth + AM/FM audio system.
- Want to retain period interior.
- Might be able to hide tiny woofers under front seats. Tricky finding places for any other speakers.
- Really don't want to lose parcel tray behind back seat.
Fix glove box latch— Done
I'd really like to get some proper gauges on that "oil-cooled" motor. Specifically oil temperature and pressure. This would be really nice to have before I start experimenting with various motor oils. The warning lights already tell me if the fan belt popped off or the oil pressure has gone critically low. A little more warning on the latter is desired. A monitor on the electrical system might be nice to have too. The clock in the center instrument hole was replaced by the previous owner with an aftermarket Sunpro tachometer — a popular modification — so that part's already taken care of.