Car of the Week: 1965 Corvair Resto-Mod

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By Dave Keillor

I bought a 1965 Corvair Monza for my wife back in early 1967. She was a stay-at-home mom and this was our first “second” car. For her and our two kids, this was a freedom machine. No longer did she need to take me to work when she needed/wanted the car. Both of our kids have fond memories of riding in the car — and my wife loved it.

In late ’68 my youngest brother —­­­ who had just turned 16 — begged her to sell the car to him. She wasn’t too keen on selling it, but I told her I’d order a brand new ’69 Corvair spec’ed any way she wanted it. She agreed and I ordered the ’69. As a replacement for the ’65, the ’69 was a dismal failure and after a few months she vowed never to drive the ’69 again — that’s another story.

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My brother drove the ’65 for a couple of years, then moved up to a Z28. But he stored the ’65 Corvair — first in our parents’ garage, then at his own place. After my wife vowed never to drive the ’69 again, she told my brother that if he ever sold the ‘65, she wanted first chance.

After 36 years, in late 2004, my brother sold his house and was moving to a new one with a lot less storage space. He told my wife she could buy her car back — and a week later we were on our way to his house with a car dolly.

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What followed was an eight-year resto-mod project. Phase 1 of the project is complete (is any such project ever finished?). The car was put on a rotisserie and my wife helped with the work — removing all the old undercoating, and sealing the seams after media blasting and painting.

The car has a little over 6,000 miles since coming down from the jack stands in July of 2012. We’ve done two multi-day road trips — plus several day trips on the winding roads of southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin. The car has met the goals in every respect, and is a fantastic two-lane road-tripper, and draws a lot of attention.

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An interesting side story is that my wife tripped over the handle of my floor jack the night before we were going to leave for the national Corvair convention in Kalamazoo, Mich., and fractured her shoulder. No convention. But she has healed nicely.

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If you’ve got an old car you love, we want to hear about it. Email us at oldcars@krause.com

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