Good story, David. A friend of mine in the mid-1960s took his 1962 Corvair too fast around a residential corner and rolled it -- without a seatbelt. He ended up right-side up. He took a couple deep breaths and drive if home. The car was a tad scraped up on the sides, but otherwise it was in perfect working order.
In the 80s I had a buddy who was rock and roller who was "into" the 60s. He had just gotten an advance from a record deal and went out and bought himself a nice-looking Corvair convertible. Don't know what size engine it had, but in any case it was fuel injected. He knew next to nothing about cars, just knew that it looked really "cool". (And boy it sure did!)
One day he came to me complaining that there was a strong gas and exhaust smell inside the car while driving. Could I take look at it? I'm not a hard-core mechanic like you guys, but I knew enough... We parked it on the street and opened the hood - I had him start it up and give it a little gas. Immediately there was gas spraying out onto the (soon to be very hot) exhaust manifold from 3 leaking injectors. Yikes!
It was also easy to see that there was a huge crack in the manifold, with exhaust blasting out.
Well, there went the rest of his big advance... :-(
I believe Corvair was only offered with carburation. On the 1965 to 1969 Corvairs, they had a 164 cid horizontally opposed 6 cylinder engine. The 95 and 110 hp models had 2 carburators, the 140 hp models had big valves and 4 carburators, and the 180 hp model had one carburator and a turbocharger.
It sounds like either your buddies car was heavily modified for fuel injection, or more likely they were leaks in the fuel lines to the 4 carburators of the 140 horsepower, 164 cid engine. One other possibility was the aftermarket four barrel carburator in the center with the four legged intake manifold to the 140 hp heads.
Irregardless, he was lucky it didn't catch fire and burn to the ground with all that gas spraying everywhere. I suspect the cracks were in the overheated heads and integral intake manifolds.
I would agree that the late model Corvair convertible was a sharp looking car; although structurally, I liked the two door hardtop better. The convertable had additional bracing in the floor and 60 pound hydraulic dampeners in the four corners. (I guess the dampeners were to reduce unibody oil-canning vibration.) My modified V8 Corvair was a 2 door hardtop with additional "roll-bar appearing" door posts welded in. This triangulation provided a much stronger structure for better suspension tuning, and body stiffness.
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