Corvair Monza GT (Concept car)
|Class||Sports car (experimental)|
|Body style(s)||2-door coupe|
The Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT was a mid-engined experimental prototype based on the early model Chevrolet Corvair series. Essentially a concept vehicle, the Monza GT was destined never to enter production.
Design and development
Under direction by Bill Mitchell, the Corvair Monza GT coupe was designed by Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine in 1962, borrowing from the Bertone designed Testudo concept car. Like the earlier design, the GT doors swung upward and were actually a front hinged canopy that extended into the B section; the rear engine cover also hinged at the rear. The engine used was a standard Corvair 145 cu. in. 102 hp (76 kW), flat six with a "two carb-layout." Unlike the production Corvair, the GT engine was mounted ahead of the transaxle, turned around 180 degrees and mounted as a "true" mid-engine layout. The chassis was on a 92" wheelbase, 16 inches (406 mm) shorter than production cars. The overall dimensions were similarly reduced with a length of 165 in (4191 mm), and a height of only 42 inches (1,067 mm), creating a diminutive but beautifully proportioned sportscar.
Besides its streamlined and "swoopy" appearance, the Monza GT was full of other innovative features including magnesium-alloy wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes and fixed seats with adjustable pedals, features that would not find their way into production cars for years.
Introduced to the public in June 1962 at Elkhart Lake at an SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) race for A and B production classes (where incidentally Chevrolet Corvettes won both events), the Corvair Monza GT was an instant hit with enthusiasts. Reporters then (and now) remarked that the car was "gorgeous." 
The Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT coupe toured together with its "sister ship" Monza SS (Spyder) in early 1963, making a further public appearance at the New York Auto Show. Although both cars were based on the Corvair drive train, each represented a futuristic development of the adaptable Corvair design. In the SS convertible, the engine (with a four-carburettor setup) was left in its stock location behind the transaxle, allowing a shorter (88 inch) wheelbase.
Although the SS came very close to series production, both cars ended up as concepts only, tied to the fortunes of the embattled Corvair which was undergoing a beating at the hands of Ralph Nader. The Monza GT ended up at the GM's Heritage Center in Detroit.
One interesting offshoot was that Disneyland featured a World of Tomorrow car ride attraction that used the Corvair Monza GT as the basis for the ride.
Today, the Corvair Monza GT concept car is one of the more than 700 vehicles found in the GM Heritage Collection of historically significant vehicles that date back to the early 1900s.
- 2007 Amelia Island Concours d' Elegance at Motor Trend.com Note: Frank Markus for Motor Trend called the GT "gorgeous" in 2007 when it appeared at the Amelia Island Concurs.
- Ludvigsen, Karl. Corvair by Chevrolet: Experimental & Production Cars 1957-1969 (Ludvigsen Library). Hudson, Wisconsin: Iconografix , 2002. ISBN 978-1583880586.