The prototype from the 60s that continues to impress today

There are creations in the history of motorsports that have not gone unnoticed.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
03 March 2024 Sunday 09:41
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The prototype from the 60s that continues to impress today

There are creations in the history of motorsports that have not gone unnoticed. We have been able to enjoy some of them on the road or on the circuits, but others have been relegated to prototypes. This is the case of the Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT from General Motors, an impressive sports car that emerged from the ingenuity of Ed Cole and his creative team in the 1960s, which meant a revolution.

The Corvair Monza GT was born as a whim of GM's vice president of design, Bill Mitchell, to transform the Corvair production model into an out-of-the-box sports car. This is how this incredible prototype was born with a radically new body and a completely modified chassis that looked nothing like the mass-produced model.

Its aesthetics are inspired by other sports concepts of the time created by prestigious coachbuilders such as Pininfarina or Bertone, although GM wanted to go one step further: they magnificently combined curved, fluid shapes and aggressive straight lines to give the vehicle an appearance ahead of the curve. his time, which still continues to surprise today.

The most notable visual features of the Corvair Monza GT are the futuristic hood and hidden electric opening headlights, something truly innovative at that time. The prototype inspired future GM creations, such as the Banshee XP-833, the Mako Shark II, and the production version of the C3 Corvette.

Although its exterior design focuses the main focus of attention, the technical innovations that the Monza GT incorporates were also surprising and innovative for the early 60s. And this is a thoroughbred sports car with a 2.3 Turbo-Air 6 mid-engine. liters with a power of 102 HP.

Built on a modified chassis shortened by 16 inches, the prototype featured a fully adjustable double-wishbone independent suspension system and four-wheel disc brakes. This was in contrast to the original Corvair, which had a less complex (though also fully independent) suspension and standard drum brakes.

The Corvair Monza GT made its debut in the summer of 1962 in Elkhart Lake (in the US state of Wisconsin) where it was enthusiastically received by the press and the public. Several months later, it took the stage at the New York International Auto Show alongside a less futuristic convertible version called the Corvair Monza SS (Super Spyder).

Once again, it turned heads and received much praise, leading Chevrolet to consider developing a production version. Unfortunately, declining interest in the Corvair range led the brand to abandon the idea.

However, it remained a unique, beautiful and intriguing prototype, so it survived to inspire several future projects and production cars. It is currently preserved at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan, where it can be admired, along with more than 700 legendary vehicles.

If you want to see moving images of this spectacular vehicle, don't miss the video that accompanies this article.