The 1962, 1963, 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder was an efficient, high-performance sports car.
Though the Monza Spyder was announced in coupe and convertible form in February 1962, production actually began in April. Despite all that went into it, the Spyder package (RPO 690) cost only $317.45.
Orders soon exceeded capacity -- this was just not a car that could be built quickly. Of some 150,000 1962 Monza coupes, only 6,894 emerged as Spyders, and there were only 2,574 Monza Spyder convertibles out of over 16,000 Corvair ragtops built.
Though there wasn't much about the outside of the Spyder that made it recognizable (script, turbo emblems, a hunky tailpipe were the main points), the engine compartment abounded in chrome-trimmed components.
Inside, there was no mistaking it: in place of Corvair's standard and sparse instrumentation was a round 6,000 rpm tachometer and matching speedometer, with gauges for fuel, boost, and temperature. All were set into a brushed aluminum panel and matched by a similar panel over the glove box on the right. The radio also had a brushed aluminum plate, and a turbo emblem was on the horn button.
In 1963, Spyder production was up by over 100 percent despite a strong decline in total Corvair sales: 19,000 were built, of which about 7,500 were convertibles.
Volume fell in 1964 to 11,000 (4,761 convertibles), but by then Corvair sales in general were well down. However, the technology lived on in the 1965 Corvair Corsa.
The survival rate for Monza Spyders was relatively high because people knew at an early date that these were singular cars, remarkably limited in numbers for a company like Chevrolet.
Though the "standard-size" behemoth was still the quintessential Detroit car in the 1960s, the Spyder proved that one company at least was willing to design an efficient, high-performance sporting machine for the enthusiastic driver. As a contemporary ad read, "the Spyder's thrust is not so much hot air."
For 1962, 1963, 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder specifications, go to the next page.