First Corvair’s Last Day…

’64 bathtub convertible. Top was simple enough, not a bad little car, but used oil too much. Revving the engine too high would throw the belt off. 2 speed powerglide transmission, not a powerhouse.

Picture of a '64 Corvair Convertible
Similar car: Attribution Vegavairbob at English Wikipedia

One day coming back from Cincinnati on Columbia Parkway, I topped the hill to Delta and lost all my brakes. Back then single master cylinders were the norm, and the wheel cylinder I was fooling with earlier in the day let go. No brakes. At all. There were people crossing the street dead ahead so I steered over on the bank of the road looking for a way out but all I saw were the 3rd floor windows of houses on the street below. What a drop. Time was running out so I took the Police station on the corner (which is now the Police Precinct Restaurant). Moments later there were police everywhere and I explained what happened. They stomped on the brake pedal to make sure I was telling the truth. (I didn’t really tell them it was my fault!).

With all the hype that the front end would collapse in an accident, there was nothing to worry about on that score. The car stayed intact, and I didn’t get hurt. Modern cars are made to collapse to absorb the energy, but not these cars, and I consider myself pretty lucky. Getting another car was pretty cheap back then and it wasn’t long before I had a replacement.

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