Monthly Archives: October 2008

Chevy Corvair Monza Boots , Buckets and a Harp

The first low priced “personal ”  car that made  a hit with the public was created almost “by accident” when Chevrolet added bucket seats to its Corvair sports coupe late in the 1960 model year.  Compared to the more cheaply furnished 500 and 700 Corvair versions, the all new Chevy Corvair “Monza” was an eye “popper” and crowd pleaser.   This vehicle model offered a colour-keyed interior, most comfortable vinyl bucket seats – and in 1961 the option of a fast 4 speed manual gearbox.  it was not long before these Corvair models were outselling all other models of the Corvairs combined.  This accidental innovation was more than noticed by marketing , sales and executive staff in the division.  In addition the other domestic car makers – be it Chrysler or Ford were more than taking notice.

It was not too long in duration before Ford , with their Ford Falcon compact cars , and Chrysler with their “Valiant ” models  added similar deluxe interiors – with deluxe model consoles , bucket seats and lastly floor shifts to their product lines.   In the end it could be said that the final result was a newer body and furnishings on the Ford Falcon platform itself – this was the making of the classic Ford Mustang.

Mustang’s sold over a 100,000 sales units in the first 6 months tallying up a million car sales in the  first years of the Ford Mustang’s introduction.

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Ford Had a Great Idea

Until the Ford Mustang car, however , four seat “personal” cars had been mainly upper price luxury models on the American automotive marketplace.  But stylists as well as the auto factory design engineers were thinking something about the lower-price market segments at a time period a good five or six before the Ford Mustang came onto the automotive map of the USA and Canada.  Volume is always king , volume ,volume , volume.  It is said in the American marketplace that volume beats everything , every time.

It has been reported that a senior GM Pontiac division designer had reported “that as early as 1958 that a four passenger, “sporty type” car of the general class and weight of the Ford Mustang had been in design development in an advanced studio of Pontiac

In most cases of automotive product development and evolution of products and species throughout history it is most often the case that these innovations or even biological species development – be it the automotive industry or even agriculture are not developed in one place , by one group over time.  Good ideas seem to develop concurrently at the same time and at different places. Its just the way of the world and history.  Indeed Ford’s slogan and marketing advertising was that “Ford had a bright idea”.



Development of the Chevrolet Camaro

dSome people and car enthusiasts think that it was not for the Ford Mustang auto that the Chevrolet Camaro may never have existed or been invented.  Others point to the seminal event for the Camaro as the Chevrolet Corvette and / or Chevy Corvette Stingray car.

All in all this is a misstep and misinformed at best according to industry watcher W. Simpson.   By the year of 1966 – late 1966 , when the camaro was introduced as a auto product to the American and North American marketplace there was already more than a steady and huge demand for the car.  At that point the demand was greatly growing as well.  It was simply a response by GM executives , designers and the “marketing department” to a market already there and indeed a positive response to a void and a need in the automotive marketplace of the time.  It could be said that it was true that the initial market had been initiated and elaborated by the Ford Mustang product, however the project development at G.M. predated the Ford “Ponycar’s”  market introduction.

It could be both said and elaborated that interest in sporty “close coupled” compacts that could seat two occupants comfortably and four in a pinch most likley goes as far back in the American automotive market to 1956.  1956 was the first year that the Studebaker automotive company fielded its first “Hawks”

1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk Development of the Chevrolet Camaro

1956 Srudebaker "Hawk"

For the year 1958, Ford converted its two seater thunderbird into a four seater configuration

 Development of the Chevrolet Camaro

1957 Ford Thunderbird


The four seater Thunderbird car also introduced what was considered at the time a most radical new body design, that met with great market approval.  This was more than noticed at GM. GM responded promptly with Pontiac Grand Prix in 1962 as well as the classic four place Buick Riviera , the following year.


From the then market leader “General Motors”  similar concepts followed such as the Oldsmobile Toronado of 1966.  The drag race was on !!

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Manitoba Classic and Antique Auto Club

P.O. Bpx 1031

Winnipeg Manitoba Canada

R3C LW2

Contact name:  Bryne McKay

Association email:    enquiry@mcaac.mb.ca

website:  http://www.mcaac.mb.ca/

Association’s Theme:  dedicated to the preservation , restoration and admiration of cars 25 years of age and older.  You do not have to own a vehicle to be a member or to participate.  We tend toward unmodified cars , but have an appreciation for all restored cars.

Meeting information:  Generally 200 p.m.  on the second Sunday of the month, summer 7:00 p.m.

Meeting calendar link:

Club History:

Way back in the halcyon days of 1956, Jack McGuigan found and purchased his 1917 Model T Ford. On his business visits to the CBC, Jack met Denis Cloutier. As usually happens with old car buffs, the talk turned to Jack’s Model T and old cars in general.

As restoration progressed on the T during 1957-58, Denis and his girlfriend Lorna Mailey (now Denis’ wife) were frequent visitors to Jack’s home. In 1958, Jack joined the Horseless Carriage Club and he and Denis often discussed this club, especially when a new issue of the newsletter arrived.

One day in Jack’s garage, the subject of forming a local club came up. After some discussion, both Jack and Denis agreed to talk to various acquaintances to see if others were also interested. Jack, as a salesman for Auto Supply, knew that at least some of his customers had old cars or were somewhat interested.

By word of mouth, Jack and Denis contacted 20 people who were interested. Jack then arranged to use the Winnipeg Free Press boardroom for a meeting where, on February 14, 1960, their efforts culminated in the successful beginning of the MCAAC!

In that first year, there were 33 Charter members. Five of those are still active in the club today. There was a steady growth to over 300 members and the MCAAC has been in the forefront of the antique car hobby in Manitoba ever since. The MCAAC was incorporated on April 27, 1962.

In 1970, as a Manitoba Centennial Project, the club purchased the remains of the original Lockport bus – a 1917 Ford Model T. It was used by George Donald from 1918 to 1931 to carry passengers from the street car line to the Red River Locks in Lockport, where he then rented out little fishing punts. Thus, he was known as “busman and boatman”. His daughter, Mrs. Mabel Davis, became the first licensed bus driver in Canada. Today, this bus is an integral part of our club activities.

When public insurance was introduced to Manitoba in 1971, the MCAAC became involved with MPIC for appraisals of our old cars. This relationship has continued over the years. The MCAAC was also instrumental in the introduction of the “Vintage” license plates in 1971.

Over the years, the MCAAC has sponsored a number of successful car shows, the latest being at the Winnipeg Convention Centre for our 35th anniversary in 1995. We also sponsored the swap meets at Polo Park Shopping Centre for many years. The MCAAC has now joined with the Red River Exhibition Association to provide a bigger and better weekend swap meet

Manitoba Camaro Club

Manitoba Camao Club

Marc Nolin

Contact name :  Mary Blonski

Association’s email :  manitobacamaroclub@mts.net

Association’s theme : Our mission statement is dedicated  to the preservation of the legendary muscle car – all generations  of the Chevrolet Camaro

Meeting information :  club meetings are held every second Tuesday of each month except  (except during December , May , June , July and August)

7:00 pm  Vickar Community Chevrolet 964 Regent Ave West

Winnipeg

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The Chevrolet Camaro – Personality Made Its Legend
By Terry E. Voster

For most car and automotive enthusiasts and collectors, the 1980′s were a “Chevy decade”. Aside from the Chevrolet Corvette, which has long been upheld as a collector’s item, the growing interest in Chevy’s of all kinds was something of a new development at that time. For many years it had seemed, the dominant force in the “Old Car hobby” was the Ford Motor Company – chiefly in the Ford Models, T as well as the Ford Model “A”, the V-8, the Continentals and the Lincoln-Zephyr. Then in a more recent trend the 1965-66 Mustangs gained large followings as well. But considering all the very desirable automotive collector items labeled “Chevrolet: and of course the more diminutive “Chevy” Ford by that time was under fire.

The exact time and year when Chevy become known for something other than just plain reliable transportation is not hard to pinpoint at all. In the year of 1955 “Ed Cole’s” remarkable 2165 V-8 gasoline powered engine arrived on the scene, wrapped in one of the prettiest bodies of then what became to be known as the “post-war era”. That potent engine also found its way, not surprisingly into the Chevrolet Corvette. The Corvette has obviously become renowned as a high performance vehicle ever since then.

For the most part there has not been a single Corvette auto car that has not been considered highly desirable and the 1955-57 standards Chevrolet has remained both a most desirable and red hot ticket item on the vintage automotive collector’s market.

Led by these two benchmark Chevs, enthusiasm for other models blossomed in the 1970′s. Early attention focused on the Corvair – unique at the time, among US automaker for a rear engined car, somewhat patterned on the success of the Volkswagen Beetle. Due to safety concerns, of an older version the Corvair went out of production in 1969. This was in spite of the fact that the Corvair had been updated and upgraded to address these safety concerns and improve handling. The Corvair retains a following to this very day in 2008.

In the late 1970′s , car guys and car enthusiasts began turning to other Chevy products, notably the potent Super Sport Impalas and Malibu’s of the mid 60′s. The ever strong interest in vintage models from as far back as the 1930′s and 1940′s also continued. What did it all was one single word “Camaro”.

It could be said that it was all “marketing”. The Camaro was essentially Chevrolet’s Marketing department’s response to the success of the Ford Mustang.
It is often said that copying is the biggest compliment and as well that a copy can “never be as good as the original.” However in this case Chevy got it more than right.

The Camaro was conventional in the extreme: certainly as compared to the Corvette. The Camaro was certainly nowhere near as glamorous – compared to the Chevy Impala SS 409. Lastly with the exception of the Z-28 it was not exceptionally a fast car.

What then makes the Camaro – such a legend, such a sought after car and motor vehicle. The answer in a single word is “Personality”. Every Camaro has had it: the RS with its sporty tires, the Z-28 with its competitive prowess; the 1970′s second generation’s coupes with their peerless stylings. This went all the way to the early 1980′s models which kept alive the original “Ponycar” spirit of the 1960′s.

Terry E. Voster

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