THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1966 Corvair Monza convertible owned by Peter Sutich
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
Political activist Ralph Nader once questioned the safety of early Corvairs, but there’s no shortage of fans for these innovative, rear-engined cars today. TV host Jay Leno owns a ’66 coupe and says the car “still drives a bit like a ‘60s-era Porsche 911.” Sutich finds the criticism an advantage. “I think it was actually a great thing for Corvairs after 1965,” he says of his Monza.
“The suspension and handling components of this model year were over-engineered just to answer the accusations by Nader, so this car handles like a new BMW on the road, especially with some modern tweaks.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
Sutich found the Corvair at a Long Island mechanic’s shop and traded his 1963 Plymouth Valiant for it.
“It was in great shape and it is very easy to find Corvair parts,” Sutich says. “I received a box of spare parts along with the car, so I know there was a good effort to restore it.” The engine and paint were redone in recent years and Sutich has installed an original AM/FM radio, a hidden CD player, an electronic ignition conversion, new brakes and suspension, new exhaust and radial tires.
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“Take advantage of the great Corvair parts stores online,” Sutich advises. “If you don’t have your own talents, find someone who knows how to work on old cars. Also, take advantage of the close-knit Corvair community.”
He estimates the value between $10,000 and $12,000.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“My 13-year- old son is a huge car enthusiast and it is great to bond with him and talk cars,” Sutich says. “We so much enjoy going out to the various weekly cruise nights and the big shows. There is something nice about sitting next to your car on a beautiful day and just talking to people as they walk by and admire. There is something interesting about parking my little Chevy Corvair next to a Duesenberg or 1930s Cadillac and still have people treat them with equal fascination.”