As much as we love talking about tire-roasting muscle cars and elbow-dragging roadsters, the reality is those cars are a relatively small section of a large automobile market—plenty of folks just need reliable, practical transportation without a lot of fuss.

And unfortunately, time usually isn’t kind to these ordinary daily drivers.

Sure, plenty of awesome Corvettes and ‘Cudas got the care they deserved, but trusty commuter cars often accumulated stratospheric mileage and were then passed down through the family—where they got driven into oblivion by a one-two punch of rust and teenage drivers.

close up of headlight on a 1966 chevy corvair sedan
The Corvair got a handsome redesign in 1965, which many regard as one of the high points in GM’s styling history. (Image/Summit Racing – Patrick Miller)

That’s why we were so pumped to see this tidy 1966 Corvair roll into the Summit Racing parking lot near Akron, Ohio last fall. At 50+ years old, the car is a legit classic, yet doesn’t have the aura of a rare options package, much luxury panache, or a race-bred pedigree.*

Instead, it’s just a cool, vintage car. And that’s why it had to be a Lot Shots feature.

*That didn’t stop Don Yenko from taking Corvairs to the track, though.

rear view of a 1966 chevy corvair sedan
Fun Fact: Corvairs of this vintage are the only examples of pillarless four-door hardtop compact cars in U.S. automotive history. (Image/Summit Racing – Patrick Miller)

While we couldn’t find the owner, it’s clear that this Corvair is well cared for and looks pretty darn original too—which probably took a lot of effort, considering this car (presumably) spent some time on the snow- and salt-covered roads of Ohio.

The chrome is shiny, the body is straight, and the paint is clean. In other words, it checks pretty much every important box down the vintage car wish list.

140 cubic inch engine emblem badge on a 1966 corvair
The 140 here denotes horsepower, stemming from the Corvair’s 164ci flat “boxer” six. The output was a significant upgrade over the 95 and 110 hp tunes available in the 1966 Corvair and behind only the turbocharged 180 hp powerplant offered exclusively in the top tier Corsa. (Image/Summit Racing – Patrick Miller)

Despite close to two million Corvairs being made from 1960 to 1969, they’re somewhat rare at car shows nowadays. And that’s doubly true for the more-door version, which lacks the pizazz of, say, a coupe or convertible.

Though we’re far from Corvair experts around here, we think this is a base 500 model, which put it on the lower end of the value spectrum when compared to the sporty Monza or Corsa trims—which honestly makes this specific car even more special-er in our book.

Yet even as a base 500, it was optioned with the potent 140 hp six, which was second only to the turbocharged engine that you could only get in the top-dog Corsa.

You may enjoy this article too: What Makes a Car Classic?

rear bumper view of a 1966 chevy corvair sedan
The Corvair’s 1965 update included a redesigned coil spring independent rear suspension, partially derived from the transverse leaf spring setup in the C2 Corvette Sting Ray. (Image/Summit Racing – Patrick Miller)

Suffice it to say, we already liked this Corvair as we approached it in the parking lot. Then we liked it a whole lot more when we looked inside…

…and saw the four-speed.

We fully expected to see a Powerglide shifter on the dash—but something about a long shift lever popping out of the floor of a classic car just makes us grin.

And thanks to its independent rear suspension and a healthy 140 hp, we bet it’s an absolute hoot to power this Corvair in and out of turns.

steering wheel and interior shot of a gold 1966 corvair
Obligatory. (Image/Summit Racing – Patrick Miller)

All told, original survivors like this 1966 Corvair serve as a continual reminder that every car deserves its time in the spotlight. And in an ironic twist, it’s sometimes the most unexpected cars that garner the most attention.

If you’re into Corvairs, you’ll probably like this Corvair article too.

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.