Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CPotD #70 (Spied a Spyder)

I found today’s CPotD during my near-daily perusal of the postings over on the CorvairCenter’s forum. I really like the Yenko-like striping on this ’62 Spyder. 1962 was the first year that GM put a turbo-charged engine in a production vehicle and it caused quite a stir. This must have been the first smaller-displacement American engines to have a rated horsepower per cubic inch ratio over one (150 HP from 145 cid).

I thought there’d be a ton of Spyder history links I would have to choose from to put in this post, but I was sorely mistaken. After a little searching, I found an online version of the April 1962 Popular Science review. Click here to be sent to that page.

In my formative years, I made my first contact with a Spyder. When I was in high school I spent a few weeks working at a church in SE Washington state. One of the evenings was spent at the home of a congregant where an abandoned Spyder was parked under a tree. I had never seen one of these interesting little cars before, and was thoroughly intrigued by the chrome shapes under the hood. The air cleaner and heat shield made this engine compartment look significantly different than anything I’d ever worked on. My dad drove a ’68 VW micro-bus, so the engine in the rear wasn’t a shock, but that turbo was something else.

I didn’t think much about Spyders after that, and don’t remember ever noticing one for that matter, until five or six years later. My first post-college employer was located in an old, converted high school, so it sat in the middle of a rather larger residential area of Sunnyvale, CA. Weather-permitting, my daily lunch-hour was spent walking the streets around the neighborhood. As I was passing through the parking lot one day, I spied a Corvair convertible with the oversized spinning arrows emblem on the engine lid. This was in 1985, so the car was a little over twenty years old at the time, and appeared to be someone’s daily driver.

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