You can read the last instalment of my Corvair odyssey by clicking here. But I can summarise the story so far in one sentence: it’s snowing, I’m in the middle of America and I’ve travelled half way around the world to buy a car I’m no longer sure I want.
The drive gives more time to consider the Corvair, as glimpsed in the rear-view mirror on the U-Haul trailer behind our Ford rental car. I find its coke bottle, pillarless coupe styling massively stylish – GM design was at its zenith in the mid ‘sixties when the Corvair was conceived – and the prospect of that rear-mounted, flat-six engine intrigues me.
During (frequent) fuel stops we get the chance to inspect the Corvair in more detail, and notice that its body bears none of the pin-prick dents and ripples that old cars usually bear, that its wheel-arches are remarkably free of dirt, as is the rest of an underside that’s more easily inspected when strapped to a trailer.
This is evidence to suggest that the Chevy may be low mileage after all, and if not the 18,500-miler tentatively claimed, then certainly not a car that has done 118,500. It sounds like post-purchase rationalisation of course, but we’re beginning to think that this is a better car than we thought on day one.
It’s certainly in better shape than the ’63 Corvair we see outside an antiques shop in Murdo, South Dakota, whose rotting carcass and rodent-ravaged interior are on offer for $950.
It’s easy to resist fingering the wallet for this one, but utterly impossible to resist the car Pioneer Auto Show down the road, despite this museum knocking a massive hole in our schedule. “After you’ve seen the General Lee,” says the man on the entrance, referring to the sole survivor of 17 Dodge Chargers used in the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ TV series, “there are another 31 buildings of cars to look at.”
In them are everything from a Plymouth Road Runner to a Vespa mini car, many cars kept semi-restored in wooden buildings that creak eerily in the wind. If you ever reach exit 192 of Interstate 90 – unlikely, it’s true – allow for at least four hours for car-ogling pleasure.
We do it, reluctantly, in one, before dragging our load towards a place called the Corvair Ranch, where literally hundreds of dead Corvairs bearing spares lie in a Pennsylvanian field.