Saturday, August 9, 2014

1963 Chevrolet Corvair Monza SS Concept

The Chevy Monza SS topless two-seat prototype was based on the Corvair rear-engine platform with a shortened 88-inch wheelbase. The name Corvair came about by breeding the Corvette and Bel Air together, two trademark names of Chevrolet. Styling reflected Corvette influence, and predicted rear design of 1965 Corvair. This is the open roadster version of the experimental Monza GT Concept. They both made their public debut at the 1963 New York Auto Show. Created in the GM Design studio by Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine under the direction of GM Design chief Bill Mitchell.

Like the GT, the SS was based on a shortened Corvair platform. But unlike the GT, the engine was left in its stock location, behind the transaxle. The rear mounted engine helped give this short wheelbase roadster a comfortable cockpit, featuring fixed seats with adjustable pedals and the added benefit of a small luggage compartment, which the Monza GT lacked.

Chevrolet's air-cooled, rear-engine Corvair reached production for 1960 as GM's answer to the growing popularity of small, inexpensive imports. With no big lump of an engine or bulky radiator up front, it enabled the designer's dream of very low, sleek, aerodynamic front ends. The red Monza SS roadster's five-inch-high windscreen swept around its cockpit, and its rear targa wing incorporated a built-in roll bar. Developed in 1962, both slippery shapes reflected substantial wind-tunnel testing. Among other innovations, these concepts pioneered the tall, voluptuous fenders that made the 1968 Corvette such a stand-out design. The 1962 version of the SS Concept had concealed headlamps like the ones on the GT Concept, and without the airfoil shaped roll bar. New headlights and the roll bar was added later in 1963. A newer version of the SS was built on a different chassis in 1965. ( &

Below (L) Monza GT Concept                          (R) Monza SS Concept

1962 Monza SS Concept 

With concealed headlamps, without roll bar.


New headlamps were installed later.

1965 Monza SS Concept

Built on a separate chassis.

(Photos from &

2011 Monza SR Prototype

This 2011 prototype by Mel Francis is a design projection of how Chevrolet's original 1963 Monza SS concept might have turned out, had it gone into actual production. It's a tribute to Larry Shinoda, who designed it and some of America's best known automobiles, the C2 Corvettes and later Boss Mustangs. It's also a tribute to Bill Mitchell, who had the design foresight to dream of this being a lower-priced brother to the Corvette. This version is 6% larger than the original, and has more modern lighting, so that it can better blend with today's denser, SUV -laden traffic. 

The model designation Monza SR is used, in deference to the original Monza SS concept and GM's recent decision renew trademark on the SS model name. As 2012 progresses, hopefully this car will be available as a limited-production kit that uses the future owner's existing Corvair powertrain in new  serial-numbered, tube-frame, rolling chassis/ body combination. (

(Photos from

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...