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1966 Chevy Corvair - Biggies & Bags

Simplicity In A Sea Of Splendor

Kevin Lee Dec 1, 2002
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It takes a lot for a car to stand out in a crowd of more than 5,000 custom-built machines, some of which are well within the six-digit cost-to-build department. Recently, while attending the Goodguy's Columbus Nationals (where they crown the Street Rod and Street Machine of the Year awards) several of us car guys got together after the first day of the show and were talking about some of the creations we had seen earlier. The typical conversation usually goes something like, "Did you see that blue '57?" and an answer of "I don't think so. Did you see the yellow Camaro?"

It goes on and on...the cars change, but the responses are similar; some cars a few guys remember while others remember different ones. That was until somebody mentioned a little red Corvair that was slammed with big wheels. Everyone remembered this car!

It wasn't the nicest vehicle there; in fact, the paint was showing a little wear but looked really good for a 36-year-old factory job. It was just so different and cool that it made you want to go out and find a Corvair of your own. A closer inspection revealed that most of the classic Chevy was basically stock and for good reason: it only had 7,000 original miles on it when Bart Frye began the project. (It now shows a little more than 11,000 miles.) It still runs the stock six-cylinder and Powerglide trans, which still uses the stock dash-mounted shifter. There's nothing special on the inside, either, just a very nice original bench seat interior.

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But it's in these simple-looking things that we often find some of the stealthiest modifications. After we found Bart and told him that we wanted to photograph his car, we jumped in to ride with him to the photo location. Bart had to air up the bags a little and did so by pushing the end buttons of the stock AM radio. He then showed us that by pressing the second button from each end the bags would deflate-super cool and simple, just like this car.

The stance and wheel/tire package is everything on this car-and it is perfect. Getting the massive 18x10 Budnik wheels in the rear to fit was no small feat, but thanks to Kevin Erisman, the transaxle was narrowed and modified to allow the components to fit within the wheel hoops. Modified control arms, front and rear, and airbags complete the look. We don't care what Ralph Nader says; after seeing this, we want one.

Tech Specs

Owner Bart Frye, Kettering, OH
Vehicle '66 Corvair 500 coupe
Engine 110ci flat-six
Suspension Modified lower control arms front and back with airbags,narrowed transaxle
Wheels Budnik Famosas 18x7s with 4" bs and 18x10s with4 7/8" bs
Tires Toyo Proxes T1-S 225/40s and 285/40s



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