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Cars > CorvairJim’s Garage > Blog > A Water Pump for a Corvair?


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M –55
Norristown, Pennsylvania
United States


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CorvairJim’s Blog Posts 1 – 5 of 34

A Water Pump for a Corvair?

By CorvairJim

In a response to yesterday's blog about car names, vair95 commented something about asking a counterman at a NAPA store what kind of antifreeze would be best for a Corvair. Now, keep in mind that Corvairs are AIR COOLED, so they don't use antifreeze! This brought to mind a great little story from my Corvairing past. Here is the response I sent to him, broght to you through the wonders of "Cut & Paste" (with a little editing to correct a few editorial mistakes... ):

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From the time I bought my first Corvair in the fall of 1980, I made a practice of going to the parts counter of a Chevy agency (or calling them on the phone) on April Fool's Day and asking for a water pump for my Corvair. In all that time, only TWO countermen caught it roght off. ONLY TWO!!!

The best one was in 1984 (I think... ), when I was working as the Get-Ready Manager at the local Chevy-Olds dealer. I went to the Parts Dept. around 10:00 and specifically waited for Ed, the old-timer, to be available. Ed had worked there since 1954, so he was a Chevy parts guy throught the entire life-cycle of the Corvair. Well, he first went to the computer to look it up... and couldn't find anything! (Imagine that!) So then, he grabbed a Parts Manual from under the counter and thumbed through it for several minutes. By this time, the Parts Manager had come up to Ed and asked what he was looking for, so Ed told him "Jim needs a water pump for his Corvair, and I can't seem to find the damn thing"! The Manager told him to keep looking, he was sure he'd come up with it sooner or later. About this time, the parts driver came in, and the Manager took him to the back of the storeroom for a minute. When they came back, very quietly, they both had these big ol' s*** eatin' grins on their faces. Ed then went up to the attic area, where they kept the old, obsolete parts and manuals and rooted around up there for a while. By this time, it had been at least 15 minutes, and the manager had quietly called the service manager and the general manager, both of whom walked by and gave me a quick nudge and a wink when Ed wasn't looking. A couple of minutes later, though, Ed FINALLY looked up at me from the manual he was looking through for at least the third time, very red-faced, and all but roared :"A WATER PUMP FOR A CORVAIR???" He then hurled the manual at me, which I sidestepped quickly! This is when I said, "Happy April Fools Day, Ed"! The Parts Manager got on the P.A. system and announced that "Ed has finally found out that he will never find a water pump for Jim's Corvair". Apparently he had heard that word of the prank had spread throughout the entire dealership...

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I suppose I should saved this for, say, April Fool's Day, but it came to mind on Thanksgiving, so that's when I'm posting it. Now here's the challenge for all of you out there in Motortopia: What stories do you have about HARMLESS pranks or jokes that you have played on others concerning YOUR pride and joy?

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Read comments on this blog post 1 – 9 of 9

1962ChevyGuy’s Profile Photo
Dec 9, 2008 at 2:41 pm
great story
312v8’s Profile Photo
Dec 2, 2008 at 1:26 pm
Great little post there Jim. Loved this story!
dodgegirl00’s Profile Photo
Dec 2, 2008 at 7:26 am
I knew the answer to that, my exbf had one b4 he died.
chevy66babe’s Profile Photo
Nov 30, 2008 at 2:14 pm
Funny story, I'd been fooled, didn't know about air cooled or their being different. Only funny one I know is my first job was at a wholesale clothing company. The guys in the shipping dept always used to tell a newbie to look for the box stretcher. Some caught on right away, but others spent time looking all around and asking where it was. In the meantime, the others would be cracking up.
RRyder95’s Profile Photo
Nov 30, 2008 at 11:20 am
My story is in reverse. My first corvair the over heat light came on. I stopped at a local garage for some help. He asked me if the thermo stats were opening. I laughed and said "yea! Right! ". It took him a little time to convince me they have them. The first of my learning curve.
XA351GT’s Profile Photo
Nov 28, 2008 at 7:24 am
Well this one doesn't concern my car ,but when I was working at the parts counter for Big D Auto Parts in Phoenixville,Pa, We had a girl that worked there who considered herself the guru of all things parts. Reality was she couldn't tell her arse from her elbow and just sold alot of stuff that came back with very upset owners. One day I was stocking the shelves when the phone rang. She raced to the phone to beat me to that sale ( big deal the commission did little for me) But I overheard the conversation as the caller asked for a lower radiator hose for VW Beetle. Well I went back to the shelves to hide the fact I was laughing my arse off. Well she spent 10 minutes going through catalogs and microfilm ( In the meantime I had two sales ) She finally goes up to the office and says to Dan the owner," Hey this guy needs a radiator hose for a VW Beetle ,but I can't find it" To which in a much disgusted tone he says" That's because they don't have radiators they are AIR-COOLED!!!!" Well she raced back to the phone to give the prankster a piece of her mind and to her surprise was greeted with dial tone. I had to step out for some air as to not get fired for laughing at Ms Knowitall. .

I have found over the years that a good counter person is harder and harder to find as is a real parts store. Just a note of advice if you really need parts Don't go to Pep Boys unless you are looking for 16 different styles of valve stem caps for your Honda. We had a Ford box truck at work that had the Alternator crap out so we went to the Boys down the street and the guy goes "sorry I don't show a listing for it" I'm like "your kidding right?, They only sell 2 million trucks a year and you don't even carry a part number. " I also suggested a new slogan for the chain. At the time it was "Anything,but gas" which I said should be " Anything ,but the parts you need" So when you find that elusive store and counterman that really can help you out of a jam ,thank him and support the store as much as you can . They are getting rarer by the day.
jebfastlane’s Profile Photo
Nov 28, 2008 at 7:07 am
heehee! good one.
vair95’s Profile Photo
Nov 27, 2008 at 9:06 pm
We have some fun with our new guys on the flight line from time to time. Im not sure how familiar you all are with Jet Engines, goes...

So I was minding my own business on Mid-shift working the flight line. I had been Active Duty for all of 3 weeks, and our Mid Shift Production Superintendent says to me..."Hey Lt, we have some motor work, I want to show you the carburator!" Unfortunately for him, I do know a thing or two about jet motors, so when we got out to the jet, I played dumb and with the entire mid shift jet shop standing around us, I asked him if the "carburator" (actually a 9th stage bleed air valve) is where I was supposed to attach the fallopian tubes and fill them with the lubricant Kay-NineP...He just looked incredulously at me, and walked away...Later in the week though I did help him get the other Lt to catch an "Air Sample" before an engine run...He was running up and down the ramp with a garbage bag trying to get a good sample...
Redneck_Cowgirl’s Profile Photo
Nov 27, 2008 at 7:50 pm
Years ago I had a car that had a rattle. I took the car to a friend that was a mechanic, he had me get on the hood and ride down a country road to see if I could hear where the noise was coming from. He already knew it was a rock in the hubcap. No I didn't find it, but was too scared to walk when he stopped. This isn't a practical joke or maybe it is in a way. My husband, is a mechanic for a Chevy dealership, he will go into a parts store and they always try to tell him what part he needs when he has asked for part X. He will go back out and put on his jacket from work then come back in. Seems the attitudes change drastically.

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