Win an AMT 1969 Chevrolet Corvair
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Outside of classic car circles, the Corvair is best known for its inclusion in Ralph Nader’s infamous book, Unsafe at Any Speed. Apparently Nader wasn’t too keen on the Corvair’s handling characteristics due to its rear swing axle. As he made no mention of other swing-axled cars then available in the US from respected European manufacturers such as Porsche, Mercedes-benz, and Volkswagen, some have speculated that Nader unfairly singled out the Corvair. More cynical pundits simply commented that most American drivers simply weren’t up to the task of handling a moderately quick, rear-engined, swing-axleequipped car. Either way, Chevrolet continued to develop the Corvair — the name coming via an amalgamation of ‘Corvette’ and ‘Bel Air’ — right until it ditched the model in 1969, that notorious rear swing axle having been dropped in 1965 with the second-generation models. By the time the Monza version appeared in 1967, the Corvair was a competent and quick sports coupé, but alas, with sales dropping quickly due to competition from cars such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet’s own Camaro, plans for a third-generation Corvair were scrapped. The final Corvairs were virtually hand built at a special production facility, the last examples being constructed in May 1969. Once again, we’re trying to keep our readers occupied during the winter months, so we’ve got another kit for you to build. Of course, it’s a Chevrolet Corvair. This 1:25 kit from AMT allows the final model to be built in three
Early Chevrolet Corvairs were fitted with swing-axle independent suspension — a system that was first dreamed up by Edmund Rumpler, and his concept was once popular, being fitted to everything from everyday saloons to early supercars — but can you identify all these swing axle–equipped vehicles?
The factory did it with the MGB V8 — and, later, with the RV8 — so replacing the MGB’S standard fourbanger with a V8 has become a popular swap amongst MG owners with a need for speed, and not too many qualms about maintaining originality. Of course, like the factory, the V8 of choice is the Buick/rover unit — an all-alloy engine that is not only capable of doubling the power of the MGB’S 1.8-litre mill, but one that is also light enough not to affect the car’s overall weight or, indeed, the front-to-rear balance.
Of course, a successful V8 conversion isn’t just a matter of bunging a benteight into the engine bay — there’s also the question of uprating the brakes and suspension to handle all that extra power. Then there are aspects such as exhaust systems, carburettors, inlet manifolds, gearboxes, differentials, and overall gearing to consider — not to mention auxiliary tasks such as rewiring or recalibrating tachometers to match the replacement engine.
In short, a V8 conversion is a major project, and Williams’ comprehensive book has long been regarded as the bible for those planning to bolt one of Rover’s light-alloy V8s into their MGB — the simple fact that this is the fourth edition of the book is ample proof of its continuing popularity.
In addition to providing comprehensive information on the best way to handle a V8 swap, as well as those tasks attendant on such a conversion, Williams writes well and with a sure touch — surprisingly for a technical treatise, this book is extremely readable.
Although written from a American point of view, the details have worldwide applications. Of interest will be the chapter on United Kingdom requirements that includes information on cars built using a new Heritage bodyshell, as well as a look at Uk-sourced parts.