LIMA — The Chevrolet Corvair is the car that fell from grace. It was a compact automobile produced by Cheverolet from 1960 to 1969. It was the only American-made passenger car to feature a rear-mounted air-cooled engine. Motor Trend awarded the Corvair its “Car of the Year” award for 1960. Time magazine featured Ed Cole and the 1960 Corvair on its cover for the Corvair introduction in 1959 and said: “its fresh engineering is hailed as the forerunner of a new age of innovation in Detroit.” The Corvair competed with import cars such as the Volkswagen Beetle, the Ford Falcon and the Plymouth Valiant. During the second generation Corvair models were hailed by Car and Driver magazine, “And it is here too, that we have to go on record and say that the Corvair is, in our opinion, the most important new car of the entire crop of ‘65 models, and the most beautiful car to appear in this country since before World War II.” Then came Ralph Nader and his 1965 book “Unsafe At Any Speed.” Nader stated Corvair’s handling was a problem. The 1966 Corvair sales fell to 109,880 in 1966 compared to the 220,000 sales in 1965.
Jim Berney, of Lima, brought his 1963 Chevy Corvair to The Lima News’ Real Wheels Cruise-In. He had owned it for only one year at that time. This car has 55,000 original miles. Berney says his best memory of the car is cruising with the top down.