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Cars > CorvairJim’s Garage > Blog > 1966 Chevrolet Corvair ("Ashley")

 

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CorvairJim

M –51
Norristown, Pennsylvania
United States

 
 

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Went to see "Ashley" again...

By CorvairJim

Filed under: 1966 Chevrolet Corvair ("Ashley")

My wife Rose (MAXXINE to all of her Motortopia friends) and I just got back from a much-deserved week's vacation in the beautiful Pocono mountains for some R&R in the cool (if somewhat rainy) weather, and a time to decompress from the stresses of working for the Poatal Service. At this point, I don't know whether I'll have a job come March, if the Postmaster General has his way and breaks the contract, doing away with the "No Layoff" clause that was written in in exchange for the unions granting the U.S.P.S. a "No Strike" clause. They say they'll do the layoffs from the top down to eliminate the highest-paid employees first so, with nearly 26 years there, my neck is DEFINITELY on the block!

Anyhow, back to happier things, namely our trip. We went to a church on Sunday where a friend is the Pastor, then enjoyed their monthly breakfast afterwards. We met this gentleman through a prayer group in our home church that Rose is active in that goes up to the Poconos once a month to pray for his 22 year old daughter who is severely handicapped due to being struck by lightning about 3 years ago. Please remember Emily in your prayers. Her folks tell us that she was always a bright, cheerful young woman with aspirations of eventually becoming a doctor when the incident occured. Emily is still a beautiful young lady, but she's having a tough time re-learning every aspect of life, from walking to talking, to even feeding herself. But you can still see that spark in her eyes and her beautiful smile that lights up a room. The 'old Emily' is still there, but she just can't express herself or move in any coordinated way. I can't begin to imagine how frustrating that must be for her, but she's a fighter, and always seems so cheerful. This evening, before leaving the Poconos to return home, we returned to the church to help out with their annual Pork & Sauerkraut dinner. It was nice to see them one more time before leaving for home (and dinner was great too!).

Monday saw us heading west to Mountainhome, PA, to visit our friend Harry Callie, the gentleman who bought my '66 Corvair "Ashley" from us a couple of years ago. Last year, I was upset by her condition. He clearly hadn't been driving her, and she was filthy inside and out. He mentioned that she didn't seem to be running right, so I offered to take her for a couple of days to see if I could figure out what, if anything, was wrong with her. I wrote a blog about that last year along with photos in an album from our time with her. Anyhow, imagine my surprise when I found out that Harry had followed through on his promise to me that Ashley would be professionally restored cosmetically (She didn't really need anything mechanical done to her). I went back to the garage and there she was, my old baby, looking brand new! All the minor little parking lot dings were gone along with the rust spots that had started to develop from four winters worth of driving in Pennsylvania road salt. The broken taillight lens had been replaced. All of the dinged-up chrome pieces had been straightened or replaced. The front seats had both been reupholstered, and the carpet re-dyed to get rid of decades worth of sun fading. She still needs some detail work taken care of, but it did my heart a world of good to see the old girl looking new again. Harry told me that he would be more than willing to let us use the car again for a few days, but for the fact that it was currently impossible to get it out of the garage! It seems that last week, a big ol' bear had wanted to get into the garage and had broken the door to the garage bay where the Corvair is parked. The door won't move without the risk of it collapsing on the car. The PA Department of Fish and Wildlife came in and set a humane trap for the bear, caught it, and released it somewhere where it shouldn't be a bother to people. Maybe next year we'll be able to take her for a drive... I hope!

(While we were there, I volunteered to exercize any of his other collector cars for him if he wanted me to. That list includes a 1970 454 Corvette coupe, a 1963 Bel Air wagon with a 409, another Corvair, this one a '65 Monza painted "Evening Orchid", a '59 Edsel Ranger, a '66 Rambler Ambassador convertible, a '62 Studebaker Lark, a '55 Studebaker sedan, a '65 Dodge pickup, and a gorgeous dark blue '47 Cadillac sedan.)

Reminiscing about my Corvairs... ALL of them!

By CorvairJim

Filed under: 1966 Chevrolet Corvair ("Ashley")

The subject came up recently while messaging back and forth with a friend of mine as to how many of our favorite type of car each of us have owned. I told him that I'd had 14 Corvairs and, after some thought, came up with this list (The numbers after the descriptions refer to the drivetrain the car had in "Corvair-speak" - first the engine's factory horsepower rating, then the transmission, either # of gears for a manual box or the notation "PG" for a Powerglide automatic):

1) Dark Green '65 Monza Sport Coupe - 110/4 (daily driver - posted in my garage - "Toni")
2) White '66 Monza Sport Coupe - 110/PG (parts car)
3) Maroon'66 Monza Sport Coupe - 110/PG (became a parts car after driving it for about 6 months; really rough!)
4) Silver Blue '66 500-Series Sport Sedan - 110/4 (daily driver)
5) Royal Plum (!) '67 500-Series Sport Sedan - 96/PG (daily driver)
6) Blue '61 700-Series Lakewood Station Wagon - 102/PG (sold too soon - posted in my garage - "Woodie")
7) Gold '64 Monza Sedan - 110/PG (My 1991 Corvair Society of America Convention car - posted in my garage - "Goldylocks")
8) White/Gold '63 Monza Sedan - 102/PG (became parts)
9) White '61 Greenbrier Deluxe Van - '64 truck 110/4 (semi-daily driver - posted in my garage - "The Kelvinator")
10) Dark Green '65 Corsa Convertible - 140/4 (became parts - WAY over my head in this one!)
11) Beige '65 Monza Sport Sedan - 95/4 - A/C (stolen!)
12) White/Yellow'65 Monza Sport Sedan - 140/PG (occasional driver)
13) White/Turquoise '60 700-Series Sedan - 84/PG (project with my daughter - posted in my garage - "The Smurfmobile")
14) Lemonwood Yellow '66 Monza Sport Coupe - 140/4 (my baby - posted in my garage - "Ashley")

Hey, I remembered them all! How many of your favorite model can YOU remember?

A 6 year old "New" photo album...

By CorvairJim

Filed under: 1966 Chevrolet Corvair ("Ashley")

Our scanner was down for nearly a year, but it started working again today. I don't know what she did, and neither does she, but my wife was just playing around with it, trying to get the copier portion of the all-in-one unit to work and the whole thing decided to get it's act together and work again.

When I had my '66 Corvair Monza, I carried a photo album of pictures we took on the trip home to the Philadelphia area from picking the car up in Denver in the car's glove box. When I cleaned the car out prior to selling it, I brought that album into our home office, where it sat on the book shelf right next to the computer. Well, now that the scanner works, I can finally share that road trip with all my Motortopia friends who might want to share the adventure of an 1,800 mile road trip in an antique car with me. Check it out - Rose and I had a blast on the trip... quite literally at one point, when we had a blowout at about 70 mph on the Interstate in Ohio!

Farewell, good and loyal friend.

By CorvairJim

Filed under: 1966 Chevrolet Corvair ("Ashley")

It's happened to most of us: For one reason or another, we lose a car we are attached to before we're ready to let go. Well, that happened to me today.

Our financial situation has been going steadily downhill over the past year or so due to cutbacks at work. Our household budget was built around the 8-16 hours of overtime that I could depend on coming in every 2-week pay period. We bought my wife a new car in late 2004, and I got my Cobalt SS in September 2005. Everything was going smoothly... until Rose's work hours were cut in half due to on-the-job injury. The company doctor said she can only work 4 hours a day. Worker's Comp doesn't cover the entire difference, but my O/T was still there so we were still staying above water by just trimming some fat from the budget here and there. Then the other shoe dropped and my O/T went away about a year ago. Things started slipping, like maintenance around the house. Then, about a week ago, the water heater blew and we didn't have the money to replace it.

Something had to give, and that turned out to be my Corvair. I had a standing offer on the car from a friend for several years, and last Monday I contacted him and told him that I'd finally take his offer. Today, we took Ashley on her final drive as my car. We took her from our home in suburban Philly up to the Pocono Mountains (a very pleasant drive, by the way - the weather was perfect), and I signed the title over at about one o'clock this afternoon.

We owned her for over 6 years and had a lot of fun with her. We found her on eBay and flew out to Denver to drive her home. We love a good cross-country road trip. Rose learned to drive stick shift on that trip! The car took us safely to two Corvair Club national conventions. One of them included single-day drives of over 750 miles each way without a hiccup. The local 5.0 Mustangs learned to respect her - we had a record of 13-0 against 5.0's at traffic lights. I especially enjoyed dusting a BMW Z-3 on a twisty back road last fall, ironically in the Poconos, within miles of where she now 'lives'.

Her new owner has serious plans for a complete cosmetic restoration. The car is already nearly 100% mechanically, so some minor bodywork, a complete stripping down to the metal and a repaint in the original Lemonwood Yellow, and a new reproduction interior are in her immediate future. Anyone in the area of the Poconos can visit her at "Callie's Candy Kitchen" in Mountainhome, PA. Most nice days, at least until she goes in for her makeover, she should be on display in front of the shop. Her new owner, Harry Callie, is a collector with over a dozen interesting old cars on an informal rotating display schedule at that location, with several Model A's at his other store, "Callie's Pretzel Factory", about 1 1/2 miles south.

I'm going to miss my car. I had a lot of fun with her. She was the best Corvair by far of the 14 I've owned. At least I know where she is and can visit any time I have a day to drive the 100 or so miles. I know she is in good hands and will get the restoration she deserves.

Goodbye, my friend. We had some good times.
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Cars > CorvairJim’s Garage > Blog > 1966 Chevrolet Corvair ("Ashley")

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