Though Corvairs have never enjoyed the same prestige (and associated high prices) as other Chevrolet coupes with a sporting flair, original examples with low mileage remain desirable cars. This is particularly true of Corvairs built in 1969, the car’s final year of production, so that makes this 15-mile 1969 Chevrolet Corvair Monza coupe, set to cross the block next week in Nocona, Texas, a particularly interesting specimen.
Built during the first week of May 1969 (before Chevrolet’s May 12 announcement of the Corvair’s demise), VIN 105379W705806 was ordered by Dunlop Chevrolet in Macon, Georgia. Delivered to the dealership on May 20, 1969, the Glacier Blue coupe was ordered in the Monza trim level, complete with optional L62 164-cu.in. six-cylinder engine, rated at 110 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque, and mated to the (also optional) four-speed manual transmission. Other option boxes checked at order time included the 7.00 x 13-inch whitewall tires; the AM pushbutton radio; and the auxiliary lighting group, resulting in a total sticker price (including destination charge) of $2,822.05.
Instead of being offered for sale to the public, this particular Corvair Monza was kept in Dunlop Chevrolet’s private collection, though it isn’t clear if this decision was made before or after the car was ordered from the factory. As one of the last 200 Corvairs built, perhaps the dealership believed in the historical significance of the car. More likely, they believed in its investment potential; as one of the last Corvairs built, its appreciation in value was a fairly safe roll of the dice for the dealership.
Dunlop Chevrolet retained possession of the car until 1980, when it was sold to Dr. James Cottingham of Corpus Christi, Texas. Faced with the difficult choice of enjoying the car as a low-mileage, entirely original survivor or preserving it for future generations, Cottingham chose the latter. After six years of ownership, the doctor donated the car to the Central Texas Museum of Automotive History in Rosanky, Texas. There it remained, with just 14.3 miles on the odometer, until the museum shut its doors for good in 2012.
The survivor Corvair’s first trip across the auction block came shortly after the museum’s closure, when Dan Kruse Classics sold the car at a 2012 sale for a hammer price of $32,000. It’s not clear who purchased the car, but its next (and current) owner continued to keep the car in its undriven state. Then, earlier this month, on April 11, the car once again appeared at auction with 15 miles on the odometer; though bidding at Mecum’s Houston sale reached a high of $29,000, the Corvair failed to meet its reserve price. Now Vicari Auctions will attempt to best this figure and sell the car at this weekend’s sale in Nocona, Texas. Vicari estimated that the car will sell between $30,000 and $40,000.
Vicari’s Nocona, Texas, auction is scheduled to take place on May 1-3.
By: Kurt Ernst