First Drive: 1966 Corvair Corsa

Don Sherman
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A. J. Mueller

When we drove to the test track, Siano's homebuilt special revealed evil streaks: quick but heavy steering, vague shift linkage, and a throttle pedal that offers yes and no but very little maybe. However, a few miles were enough to establish an amicable working relationship.

Offered the opportunity to redeem itself, the Siano Special settled into stride to post a reasonably impressive performance report: 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, the quarter mile in 13.9 seconds at 104 mph, and a top speed of 130 mph. More amazing, the handling balance is excellent, offering just under 0.90 g at the limit of adhesion and only a touch of easily controlled oversteer when the fourteen-inch BFGoodrich Radial T/As finally let go. The cobbled-together chassis held firm over bumps, and the dampers kept body motions nicely controlled throughout the testing gauntlet.

Back in the Corvair's day, GM fiddled with various mid-engine sports cars, only one of which (the Pontiac Fiero) ever made it to a production line. Leave it to a motivated Corvair enthusiast to demonstrate what can be achieved by adding a couple of cylinders and relocating the engine to a more productive location.

The Specs
Engine: 4.6-liter (283 cu in) OHV V-8, 300 hp (est.)
Weight: 2600 lb
Weight distribution f/r: 44.0/56.0%
Drive: Rear-wheel

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Patrick F
What about the steering & suspension?  Car came from the factory with 4-wheel independent coil spring suspension, and possibly fast-ratio steering...  Did the stock suspension handle it?  If there was an upgrade, was it custom or "off the shelf" parts?
rblackwell
Check out video footage -- and the incredible sound -- of Paul Siano's crazy Corvair at youtube.com/watch?v=0ZDAGGanpVM
btc909
So it's not even an original 1966 Covair anymore, I don't see the point. Siano probably resolved any of the Corvair faults.
mo_pho
I'm not a fan of retro, but this is insanely cool.

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