Old Cars Readers Wheels: 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza

Old Cars spotlights a reader’s 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza
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1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza

Dwayne Wolfe understands the human connection with the Classics. Such is the story of his Corvair. He penned a heartwarming story of how this Chevy has become more than just a car to him.

The Corvair with a lot of heart

"Yeah. If I had to title the story, that's about the best one I could come up with. I don't even know where to begin. But by the time I'm done, I'm certain a lot of folks will understand why so many people get a human attachment to their classic cars...

I've always been a fan of Chevrolet history. It's about as American as you can get when you think of American cars and yesteryear. Born in '68, my parents brought me home for the first time in their white 1964 Chevrolet Impala four-door sedan with the 230-cubic-inch six and Powerglide. Just what you would have expected from a typical 1960s family starting out. Then at sixteen, my very first car was a 1971 Chevrolet Nova two-door that I bought from my cousin for a hundred bucks. It circulated its way around family and friends of the family and by 1985 he had redone it. And it was a sporty looking thing!- painted in a dark blue Imron paint complete with raised white letter tires and a 250 6-cylinder with Powerglide. I know I know... but hey, I was 16. Better to look the part a souped-up hot rod then actually BEING a souped-up hot rod. Keeps a 16-year-old alive a little longer you know?

Then the years turned to decades. Life takes a hold of a person and then you have this 'thing' called 'priorities.'.You know bills- rent, mortgage payments, car notes, groceries oh, that kind of thing. And then one day you wake up and realize you're 52 years old. And reality slaps you in the face and you're left thinking 'what the heck happened?!'

Well, over the years I never got over my Chevy fetish. I've always loved the old Chevys and often wanted to have another one that could put me in touch with the simpler times I remember as a small kid or a teenager. It didn't have to be exactly the same kind of car that my parents had, or I had as a youth. I just wanted one and thought after years of working maybe now would be the time. So I started looking.

Before I get to that part, I guess I have to give you a bit of history of where I've been and how I came to this point.

Well it's like this...

I was born in Naples, Florida. But I was raised in Pennsylvania when my parents moved back in '71. Spent my whole life in Pennsylvania and then in 2013, a partner of mine who had three autistic boys that he adopted...You heard me right, three autistic boys that he adopted... Decided that he wanted to buy a mobile home park. I moved to Florida which is exactly what he did and wanted to know if I wanted to go along and help manage the place. Well I did, and we ended up here in Tallahassee. For 2 years we ripped apart dilapidated mobile homes and somehow managed to piece together a life that was able to house families searching for an economical way of living and took a run-down mobile home park of eight tenants and turned it into an 85 tenant successful Park. Quite an accomplishment! And yeah, a lot of hard work.

After the park was successful, I went to work for a local nursery and still maintained a good friendship with John and the boys. I see the boys almost every single day. Autistic folks need to have regularity and their lives and at this point in my life I can't imagine my life without them :-). They're all in their 20's now... Well except Mikey, he's 19.

So finally, about a month ago I had been seriously looking at vehicles. And then I found one in Winter Garden Florida about 250 miles away from Tallahassee. A 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza that was in remarkably good shape. It looked to be well-maintained and at the very least, partially restored. So I inquired about it off of Facebook marketplace. Yeah of all places! And it was a bargain! Long story short, the owner agreed to a price. John and the boys took me down to take a look at it in person.

Now you might be thinking, why Corvair? Well, why not? It's an interesting and quirky piece of a American Chevrolet history. and I guess I'm a pretty unusual and quirky person myself and I don't exactly have a conventional family but it works very well. So I thought the Corvair would fit in very nicely. And hey!, It's a convertible! What better kind of car to have to go Sunday driving to St George island here in the panhandle.

It was perfect! And when we got there to see it... It really was...perfect. I knew the minute that I saw it, I wanted it. And I didn't even hear it run yet! It was beautiful. Bright fire engine red paint with a nice white convertible top complete with a perfect black interior with beige cream trim.

And then of course I drove it. The 164 cubic-inch engine purred like a kitten... more like a bobcat because I had a little bit of a little rumble to it, kind of like a 327 small- block, but shy of almost two hundred inches. You know what I mean? And the two-speed Powerglide shifted concisely and accurately and took me back to the simpler times I remembered as a child riding in my parents car, and when I had my very first car. So it was all of those wonderful things that came together in one different package that I never conceived of ever having.

So after some formalities I bought it! But the story doesn't stop there.There's just one small little tidbit left...

On the way back heading up interstate 75 I had Shawn with me. Now he's the middle autistic son that I'll look after on Sundays. John had the other two fellas with him in the Suburban that we came down in. We all stopped at a rest area just outside Ocala to take a break and grab a snack and have a soda quick. John asked me how the Corvair was running, and I said it couldn't run any better. It's absolutely perfect. He saw that I had a great big gleam on my face. He said, 'well if that's the case, I think you'll be all right but you have your cell phone if you need anything I'm going to go on ahead of you.' I said okay that's fine, but I don't want to chase a 57-year-old car with a 2-speed Powerglide 70 miles an hour on the highway... So I'll just stick to the right lane at about 60 to 65 and call it a day. I'll send Shawn over when I get home. Then he said, 'oh by the way, happy birthday.' I said 'happy birthday? My birthday isn't until June what do you mean?' He said 'The car is yours. You've earned it with all the years that you've helped me and the boys and and in helping get the mobile home park going as well as it is now... Thanks.'

I didn't know what to say. all I remember is getting up and giving him a great big hug and saying thank you so much to him and the boys for giving me such a wonderful gift and having me as a part of their lives.

So you see, all the years I kept thinking of once again being able to have a classic Chevrolet and being able to relive some fond memories came flooding to me in an instant with such a wonderful gift from a few wonderful people. And for me, that's what it's about! Classic cars regardless of what they are are a part of our souls because of the people that are part of our lives at one time or another. It's about memories. It's about making memories. And it's about what each one of us hold to our hearts as what is important... each other.

So yeah, this little 1964 Corvair has a heartbeat... And it lives because of the people who love me."

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