Contrary Compact: The Life and Death of the Chevrolet Corvair > Ate Up With Motor (2023)

There is no American automobile more controversial than this one. It’s the car that launched the career of Ralph Nader and led directly to the passage of the first U.S. federal safety legislation. Automotive historian Michael Lamm called this car a martyr; others said it should never have been built at all. It was flawed, at least in its original iteration, but it was also one of the most daring cars GM has ever built. We’re talking about the Chevrolet Corvair.

Author’s Note: The original version of this article was written in 2007. It has been extensively revised and expanded, adding new information and correcting various factual errors. WARNING: The article contains animated GIF images.

Contrary Compact: The Life and Death of the Chevrolet Corvair > Ate Up With Motor (1)


Once upon a time, Chevrolet, Ford, and Plymouth were known collectively as “The Low-Priced Three.” That did not, however, mean that their cars were particularly small by the standards of the rest of the world. In 1934, for example, a Chevrolet Master Six was 175 inches (4,445 mm) long on a 112-inch (2,845mm) wheelbase; the dimensions of the contemporary Ford and Plymouth were very similar. The Chevrolet weighed perhaps 3,200 lb (1,450 kg) at the curb and was powered by a 207 cu. in. (3,389 cc) six, which would have made it a very expensive proposition in England, France, or Italy, with those countries’ displacement-based taxable horsepower rules. Furthermore, the car and its engine would grow progressively bigger. Thanks to the pressures of the annual model change and the constant one-upmanship of its key rivals, the 1942 Chevrolets — the last available before America entered World War II — were more than a foot and a half (527 mm) longer than their 1934 ancestors. With the greater size came greater weight, more power, and a steady erosion of fuel economy.

Deploring that trend, some Chevrolet engineers had pushed for a smaller compact model as early as the mid-1930s, albeit with very little success. The primary obstacle was profit. Small cars cost almost as much to build as large ones, but larger models could be sold for higher prices. As a result, the division’s management and salesmen had little enthusiasm for compact cars. During the war, however, Chevrolet general manager Marvin E. Coyne became concerned about the prospects of a postwar recession like the one that had followed the Great War. As a potential stopgap, he asked engineer Earle S. MacPherson, then the head of Chevrolet’s Experimental engineering unit, to devise an inexpensive compact car to supplement the division’s full-size models.

In early 1945, MacPherson’s group started work on a compact “Light Car,” subsequently christened “Cadet.” The Cadet was a smallish four-door sedan, riding a 108-inch (2,743mm) wheelbase. Its target weight was about 2,200 lb (1,000 kg) and the intended engine was a 133 cu. in. (2,173 cc) OHV six making about 65 hp (48 kW). The Cadet was modestly sized, frugal, and reasonably nimble, using an early version of what is now known as MacPherson strut suspension both front and rear. Its target price was just under $1,000, or about 10% cheaper than the least-expensive full-size Chevy.

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GM announced its intention to build the Cadet in May 1945, but the car’s internal support was limited. Corporate chairman Alfred P. Sloan opposed it, as did Chevrolet chief engineer James Crawford and much of the Chevrolet sales organization. To make matters worse, the Cadet was running well over its cost targets, frustrating Coyne’s hopes of a sub-$1,000 price tag. When Coyne departed to become vice president of the car and truck group in June 1946, the project began to lose momentum. In September, GM announced that production plans for the Cadet had been suspended. In May 1947, the Light Car was transferred from Chevrolet to the central Engineering staff to continue as a pure research project. MacPherson resigned that September and went to Ford.

Compact projects at Ford and Chrysler met a similar fate for many of the same reasons. Ford’s own Light Car was eventually sold to Ford SAF to become the 1949 French Ford Vedette while Chrysler’s four-cylinder A-106 was simply canceled. Some of MacPherson’s ideas for the Cadet found their way into the English Ford Consul and Zephyr in 1950, but Ford’s first postwar U.S. designs were standard-size cars.

Contrary Compact: The Life and Death of the Chevrolet Corvair > Ate Up With Motor (2)

As the 1950s dawned, only America’s smaller independent automakers still seemed interested in compacts. As we have previously seen, Nash unveiled its compact Rambler in April 1950, followed that fall by Kaiser-Frazer‘s Henry J. Initial sales were promising and the Rambler and Henry J were soon joined by the Aero Willys and the Hudson Jet. Unfortunately, the U.S. market was not yet prepared to absorb more than about 150,000 compacts a year, a volume insufficient to sustain so many competitors. By the 1956 model year, the Rambler and the tiny Nash Metropolitan were the only survivors and even their volume was trivial by Ford or Chevrolet standards.

The swift collapse of the domestic compacts validated the prejudices of Big Three executives, most of whom disdained the very idea of smaller cars. It would take both passion and desperation to convince the big Detroit automakers to enter that market.


Edward Nicholas Cole was born in the tiny Michigan farming village of Marne on September 17, 1909. From an early age, he displayed a fascination with machinery and by the time he was 16, he owned two cars — wrecks that he bought and rebuilt himself with money he earned milking cows and building and selling radio kits. Although he studied pre-law at Grand Rapids Junior College, Cole enrolled in the General Motors Institute (GMI, now Kettering University) in 1930, spending half his time in class, the other half working for Cadillac. He secured a permanent position at Cadillac in 1933.

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Contrary Compact: The Life and Death of the Chevrolet Corvair > Ate Up With Motor (3)

In 1941, Cole adapted Cadillac’s L-head V8 engine for use in the Army’s M-5 Stuart light tank, a project that earned him a promotion to chief industrial design engineer in 1943. He became chief engineer of Cadillac in 1946 and subsequently led the development of Cadillac’s pioneering OHV V8, which along with the contemporary Oldsmobile Rocket V8 set the standard for almost all American engines of the fifties and sixties.

Shortly after the start of the Korean War, Cole was reassigned to run Cadillac’s Cleveland Tank Plant, a demanding and politically sensitive position. In June 1952, Chevrolet general manager Tom Keating brought him back to Detroit to become Chevrolet’s chief engineer, one of GM’s most important engineering jobs. Charged with breathing new life into Chevrolet’s conservative product line, Cole shepherded the development of the first Corvette, the small-block V8, and the much-beloved ’55 Chevy. Cole dramatically increased the size and power of Chevrolet’s engineering staff, expanding it from 851 to almost 2,900 employees. He also brought in several of his old colleagues from Cadillac, including Kai Hansen and Harry Barr, who had managed the development of the Cadillac OHV V8.

Contrary Compact: The Life and Death of the Chevrolet Corvair > Ate Up With Motor (4)

Emboldened by the tremendous success of the 1955 Chevrolet, Cole began pondering the idea of a smaller companion model for Chevrolet along the lines of the old Cadet. The business case for such a car was still not strong, but despite the failure of the Kaiser, Willys, and Hudson compacts, the small car market was showing signs of life. Volkswagen, which had sold fewer than 300 cars in America in 1950, was beginning a period of spectacular growth. Its sales increased by a factor of ten from 1954 to 1955 and expanded almost five-fold for 1956. Moreover, sales of AMC’s Rambler, which now had the domestic compact market almost to itself, were beginning to rebound.

Beyond the marketing considerations, Cole was fascinated with the engineering possibilities of an all-new small car. Even while they were building tanks in Cleveland, Cole, Barr, and Hansen had spent their spare time brainstorming ideas for radical new cars. At the time, such talk had been only an intellectual exercise, but they now had the opportunity to explore those ideas more fully.

Contrary Compact: The Life and Death of the Chevrolet Corvair > Ate Up With Motor (5)

In the mid-fifties, each GM division still handled much of its own research and development work. In 1955, Cole ordered Chevrolet R&D director Maurice Olley to compare the merits of various layouts and powertrain configurations, including front-engine/rear-drive (FR), front-engine/front-wheel-drive (FF), and rear-engine/rear-drive (RR). The FR configuration was abandoned early on, mainly for packaging reasons — a conventional prop shaft and rear axle would have taken up too much space. Front-wheel drive was quickly discarded as well, in part because the very heavy, often balky steering of most contemporary FF cars was deemed unacceptable.

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The rear-engine, rear-drive (RR) layout, then used by Volkswagen, Renault, and Fiat, among others, offered packaging, weight, and traction advantages as well as the prospect of lighter steering. This was in keeping with Cole’s own thoughts on the matter; he had been interested in rear engines since at least 1941 and had even developed an experimental rear-engine Cadillac shortly after the war.

With that decision, other parameters for the new car began to take shape. For example, the rear-engine layout dictated the use of independent rear suspension while weight and space considerations called for monocoque construction, a real departure for Chevrolet. Although GM’s European Vauxhall and Opel subsidiaries had adopted unitary construction in 1937, all of the corporation’s North American cars were body-on-frame. The upshot was that the new car would be truly all new — the closest Chevrolet had come to a clean sheet of paper since the ill-fated Cadet.


In July 1956, Ed Cole took Tom Keating’s place as vice president and general manager of Chevrolet, promoting Harry Barr to chief engineer. Cole could have taken that opportunity to propose the rear-engine compact idea to senior management, but he probably recognized that at that point, the corporation was unlikely to approve any compact car proposal, much less one as radical as Cole had in mind.

To keep senior management from learning of the rear-engine car before he was ready to make a formal presentation, Cole disguised it as a development program for Holden, GM’s Australian subsidiary, even assigning Holden part numbers to the new components and using Holden stationery and purchase order forms. (In the fifties, Chevrolet regularly did R&D work for both Holden and Opel, so this was a reasonably plausible cover story.) Even the styling development was assigned to Ned Nickles’ Experimental group rather than the Chevrolet studio.

Contrary Compact: The Life and Death of the Chevrolet Corvair > Ate Up With Motor (6)

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the new car’s design was the engine. Cole, Olley, and project engineers Al Kolbe and Robert Benzinger decided that water cooling was impractical with the RR layout, so the car would need an all-new air-cooled engine. Kolbe and Benzinger quickly concluded that the engine needed to be a six; a four would have been simpler, cheaper, and more economical, but wouldn’t be smooth enough for American tastes. For packaging reasons, the project engineers also eschewed inline sixes in favor of a horizontally opposed “boxer” engine, which would offer good balance without the need for counterweights.

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This was not Chevrolet’s first venture into air cooling. Back in the early 1920s, research boss Charles Kettering had developed a unique “Copper-Cooled” four, which was launched — despite the objections of Alfred Sloan, then on GM’s advisory committee — in early 1923. The engine was both difficult to assemble and disastrously unreliable, so fewer than 800 cars were built before the plug was pulled. Only about 100 of those cars were actually sold, all of them soon recalled. According to (unlikely) legend, many were dumped into Lake Erie, although a small handful have survived; one is at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan; another is at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada; the engine of a third car is part of GM’s Heritage Collection; and the body of a fourth car is displayed in the Buick Gallery and Research Center at the Sloan Museum in Flint.

Contrary Compact: The Life and Death of the Chevrolet Corvair > Ate Up With Motor (7)

With an air-cooled flat six, however, Chevrolet was in largely uncharted territory. Although Porsche would later build successful air-cooled sixes for more than 30 years, the first six-cylinder 911 was still seven years in the future when the Chevrolet project began. Air-cooled twins and fours were common enough in motorcycles and small European cars and Tatra had a 2,472 cc (151 cu. in.) air-cooled V8, but at that time, air-cooled flat sixes were mostly found in aircraft, tanks, or industrial applications, all of which had manufacturing requirements and operating characteristics too different from those of mass market passenger car engines to offer much in the way of useful precedent.

An additional challenge was weight. To keep weight distribution to manageable proportions, the engine’s target weight was only 288 lb (131 kg). To achieve that, Cole proposed making the engine all-aluminum and casting it in symmetrical top and bottom halves, joined at the horizontal centerline. To obviate the need for separate cylinder liners, he also wanted to use a special high-silicon aluminum alloy (akin to the A390 alloy later used in the engine of the Chevrolet Vega). Both of these ideas proved to be well beyond Chevrolet’s practical manufacturing capabilities, so the final engine design ended up with detachable cast-iron cylinder barrels, a two-piece aluminum crankcase, and detachable aluminum cylinder heads with integral intake manifolds. In final form, the engine weighed 294 lb (133 kg) with automatic transmission flex plate and torque converter housing, 332 lb (151 kg) with clutch and flywheel — light compared to most contemporary inline sixes, but still over its original design target.

Valve actuation was via pushrods and rocker arms (pivoted on rocker studs like those of Chevrolet’s contemporary small block V8) driven by a single gear-driven camshaft, carried in the crankcase below the crank. Unlike most European engines of the time, the engine used hydraulic lifters, which were an engineering headache, but eliminated the need for routine valve adjustments. Valve diameters were small and valve timing was deliberately mild, trading breathing capability and ultimate power for low-end torque. The same was true of the standard carburetion setup, which used one single-venturi Rochester carburetor for each cylinder bank.

Engine cooling was provided by an 11-inch (279mm) 24-blade engine-driven fan. For packaging reasons, the fan was mounted horizontally, driven by a torturous-looking “mule drive” belt that also operated the generator. There was also a thermostatically controlled oil-to-air oil cooler, mounted adjacent to the oil pump.

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Contrary Compact: The Life and Death of the Chevrolet Corvair > Ate Up With Motor (8)

The engine’s position precluded the use of the live axle rear suspension common to all fifties Chevrolets (including the Corvette), so the rear-engine car had swing-arm rear suspension, using the axle halfshafts as control arms. Robert Schilling, who in early 1956 replaced Maurice Olley as director of research, attempted to counteract some of the oversteer inherent to swing-axle designs by supplementing the halfshafts with semi-trailing arms, but as we’ll see, this was not entirely successful.

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What did Ralph Nader say about the Corvair? ›

In his 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed, Nader called the Corvair “the one-car accident.” He wrote that a design flaw in the rear suspension made the car likely to flip over when driven in abrupt maneuvers, like, say, avoiding a ball that suddenly rolled into the street.

What was the biggest problem with the Corvair? ›

The Corvair's alleged problems stemmed from its unusual rear-engined lay-out and the suspension that held it up. That design led to unstable emergency handling, according to Nader. It's hard to say whether the Corvair was much more dangerous than other cars of its time.

What was the Chevy Corvair common problems? ›

The rear engine placement in the Corvair caused a weight imbalance that resulted in poor handling. As a performance vehicle, many people enjoyed driving the Corvair at high speeds. When combined with poor handling, high speeds can lead to an accident when the driver attempts to correct a steering error.

What killed the Corvair? ›

After the body-blow administered by the Ford Falcon, the Chevy II and the engine displacement deficit hit the Corvair like a pair of well-timed left jabs.

Who said the Corvair was Unsafe at Any Speed? ›

But 50 years ago motorists went without such basic safety features. That was before a young lawyer named Ralph Nader came along with a book, “Unsafe at Any Speed,” that would change the auto industry. It accused automakers of failing to make cars as safe as possible.

Why was the Corvair controversial? ›

The Corvair's reputation and legacy, as well as those of General Motors, were tarnished by accusations about its handling ability; the car was scrutinized in Ralph Nader's 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed.

How much horsepower can you get out of a Corvair engine? ›

Chevrolet gave buyers a surprising amount of variation for the rear-engined Corvair, but those in the know seek out two configurations more than any others: The turbocharged engines, making 150 or 180 horsepower; or the naturally aspirated versions, cranking out 140.

Why was the Chevrolet Corvair unsafe? ›

The Corvair relied on an unusually high front to rear pressure differential (15psi front, 26psi rear, when cold; 18 psi and 30psi hot), and if one inflated the tires equally, as was standard practice for all other cars at the time, the result was a dangerous oversteer.

What is the rarest Chevy Corvair? ›

14. One of the rarest Corvairs is the 1962 Loadside pickup. Only 369 were made, with a well in the center of the floor that could not be swept out. 15.

How many miles per gallon did a Corvair get? ›

Gas mileage could be as high at 26 mpg. highway, until the VW-style gasoline-powered heater was fired up at a loss of 6 to 8 mpg. Unibody construction with welded front fenders, a first for GM, meant that Fisher Body employees aligned the whole car.

What is special about the Corvair? ›

Corvair is the 1st and only mass-produced American vehicle offering an air-cooled rear engine design, unibody construction, factory turbo-charging, and 4-wheel independent suspension. The 1962 Corvair Spyder and Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire were America's 1st vehicles offering factory turbo-charging.

Are Corvairs hard to work on? ›

Corvairs are relatively easy to fix, with a reliable parts supply. Survivors are common outside the Rust Belt.

How much is a Chevy Corvair worth? ›

Chevrolet Corvair (1960 to 1969)
FOR SALE $6,900Classic Auto Mall updated Mar 28, 2023
FOR SALE $29,900American Motors Custom & Classics updated Mar 14, 2023
FOR SALE $22,000Gateway Classic Cars updated Mar 7, 2023
FOR SALE $13,650Country Classic Cars updated Feb 22, 2023
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Are Chevy Corvairs good cars? ›

“A lot of people put down the Corvair, but I consider it one of the 10 best General Motors cars of all time because it was just so different from anything else they built. They really handle. They're built nicely. They're a lot of fun.”

What was the top speed of a Corvair engine? ›

0 - 30 mph4.0 s
0 - 70 mph22.0 s
0 - 80 mph35.0 s
1/4 mile20.3 s @ 68.0 mph
Top speed153 kph (95 mph)
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How much horsepower did the Corvair have? ›

An early Corvair engine was installed in a custom chassis with an aluminum superleggera body. The original engine was later replaced by a 1965 140 hp (104.4 kW) model.

Did the Corvair ever have a v8? ›

The first V-8 powered Corvair was most probably the '60 model three speed coupe of Bob Sottas from New Jersey with a 283 Chris Craft small block with reverse rotation in the original Corvair engine location.

What was the top speed of a 1960 Corvair? ›

The "fun and games" Spyder coupe was a whole different matter. Fitted with a four-speed manual transmission, this 150 horsepower turbocharged Corvair would sprint to 60 (96) in 10.8 seconds, and reach a top speed of 105 mph (170 km/h).

What does Corvair mean in 1960s slang? ›

Corvair: meaning a sports car popular in the 1960s, made by Chevrolet. Cuss: or to swear. Dig: or to understand or like something. Fuzz: which refers to the police.

Did Corvairs have air conditioning? ›

Chevrolet took another big gamble when they developed and offered the Air Conditioning system for the Corvair. Unusual design was required by the need for sufficient air movement thru the condenser and the result was a very strange looking installation, to say the least.

Is the Corvair related to the Corvette? ›

The Corvette Corvair was one of the prototypes debuted during the 1954 Motorama. Combining the Corvette's American flair with a healthy dose of European styling, the Corvette Corvair added more than the obvious fastback roof.

How much horsepower did the Corvair Yenko Stinger have? ›

Engine: 195 ci/220 hp.

How many carburetors did a Corvair have? ›

Depending on the model, the engine sported dual or quad carburetors—unusu- al for the time. Or as a Corvair fan site puts it: “The carbs sit right on the engine. The carbs make the engine appear com- plicated, one on each side. Mechanical linkages connect to the other carb on the other side of the engine.

What was the top speed of a 63 Corvair? ›

It had modest gearing and a low red line of about 5800 which limited the top speed to about 120mph, if the fan belt stayed on.

Why did they stop making the Chevy Corvair? ›

In April 1965, General Motors decided to stop development of the Corvair and to do only what was necessary to keep it legal to sell. That decision was made due to the strong sales of the Mustang, and the Corvair was not considered capable of competing with it without a major redesign.

Was the Corvair a muscle car? ›

No, it's not a muscle car… or a sports car. It's not something you want to take to the drag strip or track in stock trim, but it does have style—in spades. The second generation Corvair debuted in 1965, and the design was unlike anything on the road.

Why was the Corvair outlawed? ›

The culprit, in the Corvair's case, was the lack of a standard antiroll bar; a 1965 redesign introduced a more advanced independent rear suspension that solved the camber issue, but the damage to the reputation of the car was done.

How many miles per gallon does a 1963 Corvair get? ›

Based on data from 4 vehicles, 40 fuel-ups and 8,077 miles of driving, the 1963 Chevrolet Corvair gets a combined Avg MPG of 18.75 with a 0.92 MPG margin of error.

Are Corvairs worth money? ›

The most expensive second-generation production Corvair is the 1968–69 Monza two-door convertible, which has a #3 average value of $18,600. The 1966–68 Corvair Yenko Stinger two-door coupe, on the other hand, carries a #3 value of $36,000.

How much did a Corvair cost in 1965? ›

The Corvair Corsa Coupe was priced at $2,465, but the most expensive Corvair model was the Corsa Convertible which ccame in at $2,608.

What was the gas mileage on a 62 Corvair? ›

Based on data from 3 vehicles, 75 fuel-ups and 10,817 miles of driving, the 1962 Chevrolet Corvair gets a combined Avg MPG of 17.10 with a 1.44 MPG margin of error.

What is the most popular Corvair? ›

For most gearheads, this is what a Corvair is, the two door Monza, because it was the top-selling version.

What does Corvair mean? ›

Corvair a Chevrolet automobile model. cur a dog of mixed breed; mongrel.

How fast are Corvairs? ›

The car uses the factory Corvair four-speed transaxle housing, but LeVeque pirated gears from other Saginaw boxes and did some custom machining to get a closer ratio than factory. First gear is good for about 78 mph at 7200 rpm. Shifting to second gear, the Corvair will keep pulling to 103 mph.

Do Corvairs overheat? ›

Amazingly, the Corvair's air-cooled engine seldom overheats or goes above 400ºF. Nevertheless, after a car has been idle for many years, issues commonly develop with the automatic transmission and the engine overheating.

How many miles per gallon does a 1964 Corvair get? ›

Based on data from 4 vehicles, 274 fuel-ups and 46,540 miles of driving, the 1964 Chevrolet Corvair gets a combined Avg MPG of 18.14 with a 0.36 MPG margin of error.

How many gallons is the Corvair gas tank? ›

Chevrolet Corvair Fuel Consumption (Economy), Emissions and Range
Fuel Tank Capacity :11.1 gallons 42.1 L 9.2 UK gallons
Catalytic converter :No
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How much horsepower does a 1960 Chevy Corvair have? ›

When the Corvair was introduced for 1960, the six made 80hp. As it became clear that Americans were not so much interested in an American Volkswagen as they were a poor man's Porsche, Chevrolet's engineers worked to increase the engine's output. In 1961, displacement grew to

What year was the Corvair Turbo? ›

One of the more interesting early Corvairs is the turbocharged 1962–64 Monza Spyder. Its biggest claim to fame? It, along with the Oldsmobile Jetstar, was one of the earliest U.S.-built turbocharged cars. The 1962 year was a big one for the Corvair, with the debut of the long-anticipated Monza convertible.

Why did General Motors harass Nader? ›

2d 560, 1970) was a court case in which author and automobile safety lecturer Ralph Nader claimed that General Motors had "conduct[ed] a campaign of intimidation against him in order to 'suppress plaintiff's criticism of and prevent his disclosure of information' about its products" regarding his book Unsafe at Any ...

Which book was written by Ralph Nader and warned consumers about the safety of their automobiles? ›

Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile is a non-fiction book by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, first published in 1965.

Was Corvair a good car? ›

“A lot of people put down the Corvair, but I consider it one of the 10 best General Motors cars of all time because it was just so different from anything else they built. They really handle. They're built nicely. They're a lot of fun.”

What was General Motors vs Nader? ›

General Motors eventually paid Ralph Nader $425,000 to settle the case out of court and issued a public apology to him. Mr. Nader used the money, after deducting his lawyer's fees and other expenses, to finance projects that included investigating General Motors for safety, pollution, and other consumer concerns.

Who saved General Motors? ›

Through the Troubled Asset Relief Program the US Treasury invested a total $51 billion into the GM bankruptcy. Until December 10, 2013, the U. S. Treasury recovered $39 billion from selling its GM stake.

Was Nader a spoiler? ›

When asked about claims of being a spoiler, Nader typically points to the controversial Supreme Court ruling that halted a Florida recount, Gore's loss in his home state of Tennessee, and the "quarter million Democrats who voted for Bush in Florida."

What was the impact of Nader's efforts to make cars safe? ›

The publicity Nader's book generated for automotive safety prompted legislation to create the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency devoted to saving lives by reducing the number and severity of vehicle-related crashes.

What did Ralph Nader fight for? ›

He became famous in the 1960s and 1970s for his book Unsafe at Any Speed, which criticized the automotive industry for its safety record and helped lead to the passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act in 1966.

What is the book the car about? ›

Terry Anders is a fourteen-year-old boy living in Cleveland, Ohio whose parents didn't pay much attention to him. When both of his parents abandon him after an argument, he assembles his father's old Blakely Bearcat kit car. He decides to go on a cross-country adventure to find an uncle that he vaguely remembers.

What is the most valuable Corvair? ›

The most expensive second-generation production Corvair is the 1968–69 Monza two-door convertible, which has a #3 average value of $18,600. The 1966–68 Corvair Yenko Stinger two-door coupe, on the other hand, carries a #3 value of $36,000.

What is the gas mileage on a 1966 Corvair? ›

Based on data from 5 vehicles, 173 fuel-ups and 28,251 miles of driving, the 1966 Chevrolet Corvair gets a combined Avg MPG of 19.01 with a 0.43 MPG margin of error.


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