Will the corvair kill you? - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum
Off Topic Anything but SLK talk. Please Note that religious and political discussions are not allowed....

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#1 Old 03-21-2019
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Will the corvair kill you?



This is episode one of Hargety’s Behind the Wheel series, it focusses on one of the great automotive controversies of the 1960s – will the Corvair kill you?

Or more specifically, will the Corvair spin out of control and roll a half dozen times when you steer rapidly at speed. In 1965 an ambitious young lawyer named Ralph Nader published his book “Unsafe at Any Speed”, the book is loved by some and hated by many, but it did lead to significant improvements in both automobile and road safety.

Of the book’s eight chapters just the first one was dedicated to the Chevrolet Corvair: “The Sporty Corvair – The One-Car Accident”. Nader was a Corvair owner himself (it’s his car you’ll be watching in this episode), and his criticisms of the car were largely down to its swing-axle rear suspension which was prone to “tuck under” under certain driving conditions.

Unsafe At Any Speed

Swing-axles had been fitted to cars for years including the Corvair, the Standard Superior, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Volkswagen Type 2 (Van/Kombi), the Mercedes-Benz 130 series, and a number of others.

Nader’s criticisms of the Corvair weren’t entirely without merit, however by the time his book was published in 1965 Chevrolet had already upgraded the Corvair to its second generation featuring new four-link fully independent rear suspension with coil springs on all four corners. Other improvements included larger brakes (taken from the Chevelle), and a slew of chassis refinements.

This short film offers a speed run of sorts through the history of the Corvair and its association with Nader, and it includes plenty of hard turns at speed in a first generation Corvair.

Swing-axles had been fitted to cars for years including the Corvair, the Standard Superior, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Volkswagen Type 2 (Van/Kombi), the Mercedes-Benz 130 series, and a number of others.

Nader’s criticisms of the Corvair weren’t entirely without merit, however by the time his book was published in 1965 Chevrolet had already upgraded the Corvair to its second generation featuring new four-link fully independent rear suspension with coil springs on all four corners. Other improvements included larger brakes (taken from the Chevelle), and a slew of chassis refinements.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=NI9Hq0_Mhy0
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#2 Old 03-22-2019
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Odd that you brought this up. Spotted a Corvair station wagon yesterday. The first one I have ever seen. That baby had been lowered and was green.....an ugly green at that. Would it kill me......not going step in front of it to find out!


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#3 Old 03-23-2019
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Death of the Corvair also killed the Fitch Phoenix which utilised its air cooled engine and running gear after John Fitch produced just one car.
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#4 Old 03-23-2019
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I drove a bunch of Corvairs back in the day. The rear suspension would go to positive camber in a turn and you got terminal oversteer. The "tuck under" thing was a myth. Oversteer is not necessarily bad -- for one thing, untrained people will instinctively countersteer, which is the right thing to do. In my opinion, the bad characteristic was the horribly slow steering , which was like winding a giant alarm clock and made corrections very difficult. It's a pity that Nader had not fixated on the dangerously slow steering ratio, an endemic fault of US cars of the era, rather than the swing axles.
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#5 Old 03-23-2019
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I had a 65 Corvair turbo and while it was a dog, it was a convertible which was almost a sports car. Among a string of sport cars to follow, it was not a favorite. Actually it was an Americanized copy of a very successful design, the Volkswagen.
The only fond memory of that car was the twin girls from Chillicothe...
never mind.


A guy knows he's in love when he loses interest in his car for a couple of days. ― Tim Allen

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