Video: Introducing the 1962 Corvair Monza Spyder — Turbocharged!


In 1962, Chevrolet introduced its first turbocharged production car, the Corvair Monza Spyder. This action-packed little GM promotional film sings the praises of the sporty turbocharged Corvair. Watch the fun.


When it was first rolled out to the public at the Chicago Auto Show in early 1962, the Corvair Monza Spyder was not a stand-alone model, but rather a $421.95 option package available on the Monza coupe and convertible. Equipment on the mid-year offering included a four-speed transmission, a sporty 3.55 axle ratio, special dash instrumentation, heavy-duty suspension and brakes, badges, and the key item: a turbocharger system that boosted the output of the 145 CID air-cooled flat six from 102 to 150 horsepower—a healthy 47 percent increase.

With its TRW turbo and a Carter YH sidedraft carburetor, the Corvair Spyder setup looks primitive today, but in 1962 it seemed like the end of the world in automotive technology. General Motors was an early and enthusiastic adopter of turbochargers in passenger car applications. That same spring, the automaker also introduced the Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire, which paired a Garrett turbocharger with the 215 CID aluminum V8.

You’ll find some fun stunts and interesting scenery in this old GM promo clip. There’s plenty of capering on twisty country roads, and at one point the speedometer needle can be seen touching the 110 mph mark. And there’s also a demonstration of the Corvair’s superior traction in thick mud, thanks to its rear-biased weight distribution. By the way, the distinctive spiral parking ramp seen toward the end of the video belongs to a familiar Detroit landmark, Cobo Center, which was often used as backdrop in GM advertising materials in those days. And of course, the familiar voice belongs to our favorite Chevrolet announcer, the famed Canadian broadcaster Joel Aldred. Video below.


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