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The Sleeper

This Corvair 500 coupe is my daily driver although its main purpose is a testbed for high-performance engines. Since early 1995, the car has had a 3.1 liter engine (190 CID), except for periods when the big engine is out having work done on it.

The photos below show the coupe in its current form:

The car started out life painted Sandalwood Tan with a fawn interior (bench seats!), wore little chrome trim (as did all 500s), and was powered by a 110 HP automatic. These "qualifications", plus the fact that it was a completely rust-free California desert car, made it an ideal choice for a durable street sleeper. (I kept the 110 emblem on the deck lid for grins.)

As of May 2002, the seats are covered using exact reproduction bright blue vinyl with navy blue knitted cloth inserts, wrapped around a pair of '97 Chrysler Sebring convertible buckets seats (with integrated shoulder harnesses) up front, while a stock Corvair seat occupies the rear:

The rear seat belts were reconditioned to match the Chrysler front seat belts. The center console is from a 1962 Chevy Impala SS and was re-keyed to match the glovebox & trunk. It's mounted on a carpeted fake "hump" made from none other than a mailbox! The rear light assembly was missing so we fabricated one out of some aluminum and installed a reproduction lens.

The car has custom springs from Coil Spring Specialties that duplicate the stock Corvair heavy duty specs but are one coil lower. The coupe sports custom 15" wheels from Wheel Vintiques. The tires are Kumho Ecsta 711 205/50-15s on 7" rims in front and 225/50-15s on 8" rims in the rear.

Other noteworthy features of the car include:

I really love driving this car due to the combination of smooth power, great handling, and comfortable/secure seats.


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