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Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: JimBrandberg ()
Date: January 01, 2020 08:24AM

Some New Years Day pondering.

I started Corvair Repair LLC in 2012 when the cedar lumber company I worked at for 28 years went out of business. I had been working on Corvairs part time to help feed my racing habit. I've foolishly kept some other PT CDL driving jobs going "just in case". I say foolishly because I've never been able to catch up on Corvair jobs, there is always a backlog. I also have some additional phases in my Business Plan that I've never found the time to enact. In retrospect I really should have jumped in with both feet.

There's another guy in the Twin Cites area who has been repairing Corvairs since the 70s. We don't talk about it much but he seems to have all the work he wants as well. If he hangs it up I don't think I'll be able to fill the void.

I get calls from people in other states quite a bit. If I didn't do any Wisconsin or Iowa jobs I would still have more than enough to do.
I used to refer people to the Joetown Garage in Iowa. I heard that although they are primarily VW, the father would do some occasional Corvair work. The latest referral came back with news that the father has passed away and the son has more than enough VW work.
I used to refer Southern Wisconsin people to the Vair Shop in Illinois but that's no longer an option. I just don't know what to tell people.

When attending a small business class wisdom said to have mentors who have been in your business for a while. I contacted several people and a special few have been very helpful. None of them are spring chickens and they all seem to have more than enough work as well.

I'm certainly not trying to blow my own horn, I'm a work in progress and learning as I go. I'm just wondering if there's enough people in other areas to work on Corvairs and how things will go in the future.
I suppose the answer is mentorship and a company to hand down, much like the Joetown Garage. None of my kids had the slightest interest. Even if a young person was interested, I'm just a sole proprietorship working in a too small garage at home. I just turned 63 so it's a little late in the game to expand. It's a VERY BIG step to take on an employee. I'm a control freak and would have trouble letting go. I hate when someone is over my shoulder but I'm the worst.

The supply side seems to be good. It sounds like Clarks Corvair Parts has a plan after the Clarks. California Corvairs is strong. John's Corvair Parts and Mike's Corvair Parts are good too. There was certainly a void when Corvair Underground scaled back this year.

So how's it going in other parts of the country? We have plenty of hobbyists but are there enough people working on other people's Corvairs for the future? Corvairs are sort of a unique little niche, in comparison Corvettes and Model As seem mainstream.

Jim Brandberg
Isanti, MN
CorvairRepair.com



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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: Brizo ()
Date: January 01, 2020 11:26AM

I share your concern Jim. I'm almost 72, and semi-retired after 48 years at a Chevy dealer, where I was primarily the Corvette specialist, but I also repaired all the Corvairs that came in. Oddly enough, I've never been "into" Corvettes! I've always done a limited amount of Corvair work at home, and will as long as I'm able. Another Corvair racer and fellow Circle City Corvair club member, Paul Fox, is the only other guy repairing Corvairs in the central Indiana area. My youngest son Matt,is a full time mechanic at the dealer now and a 15 year Corvair owner, but he's not really interested in offering repair service now - but maybe someday. In the future, I think more owners will do their own work to an extent but things will evolve for sure. Talented and skilled people will become interested in Corvairs and get involved. If there's a demand, people will step up to fill the need.

Dan Brizendine, Circle City Corvairs
'64 8door Greenbrier 140 PG. "In beautiful Wanamaker Indiana...with one stop light and 5 pizza shops"

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: toms73novass ()
Date: January 01, 2020 12:42PM

In about 3 more years I might be putting my hat in the ring. At that point I will be 55 so hopefully have many healthy years left. It would allow me to supplement my income but not be tied down to a M-F 8-5 job. Not that I wouldn't put in a full days work, but right now have very rigid hours and have no say when I can and can't take a trip, etc.

I think I have the skill to be successful as long a the clientele is there. I also would not have to exclusively have to work on Corvairs, but it would be my preference. Also, fortunately I have almost every tool on planet earth (still looking for out of this world tools smiling smiley )

We will see.

-Tom


63' Monza Spyder Convertable (in process) MY Build Thread
65' Monza MY Build Thread
73' NovaSS 454 Big block (Sold)
86' BMW 325es
98' VW Jetta TDI, for daughter
01' Audi Allroad Stage 3 twin turbo

NFCC
Grand Island, NY

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: jjohnsonjo ()
Date: January 01, 2020 01:08PM

toms73novass Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
Also, fortunately I have almost every tool on planet earth (still looking for out of this world tools smiling smiley )
>
> We will see.


Tom I would have to agree, or at least I did until racingguy2 jumped in. LOL

J.O.

65 Corsa Turbo Vert
79 Honda XL 500S
69 Honda CL 160 D
2010 BMW F 650 GS
2003 Bounder 36D
2013 KIA Optima SX turbo-AKA ZIPPY (wife,s car)
69 Newport Holiday Sailboat
Baja 150 dune buggy cart
Coleman HS 500 UTV
2016 KIA Sorento SXL Turbo

Bethlehem,Pa


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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: wittsend ()
Date: January 01, 2020 02:05PM

"... and how things will go in the future."

I'm rather new to Corvairs but from what I see in the collector car world in general I feel we are on the crest of interest. As you noted younger people have little interest. Those who do are more akin to "Ricers." Theirs is also a generation indoctrinated to a 'greener earth.'

As our generation fades (I'm early 60's too) I see prices eventually tumbling. As I watch Barrett-Jackson even today it is mostly men our age who have sold their business, cashed in their IRA or received a significant inheritance. They are willing to pay for a second lap through life they did, or did not have from years prior. In some regards I see this having a negative impact on the lower end of the hobby. A 'not too long ago' $500 corvair is now $2000. A $2000 Corvair is now $5000. It potentially closes the door to those who might have otherwise partaken.

In the end it might just be that the availability for service remains similar to the interest and desire. I own a Studebaker Daytona. In general there is a glut of Studebaker parts available. Especially used parts. Hardly a week goes by but some 80 year old guy is announcing a "come and get it - otherwise it's going to China" offering of his decades of acquired parts. I kind of equate this to the businesses that fail at the start of a recession. And as far as the car hobby goes an indicator to the future.

Maybe my vision isn't for 20+ years down the road but eventually dying buyers, lack of interest and electrification of the Automobile will restrict only the primest of examples to museums. The rest of the cars sadly will become like the dilapidated swing set our 40 year old adult children give the briefest of fond memories.

Lastly, to your original question I personally struggle with being a "car guy" and yet not doing my own work. The only time I have not fixed any of our cars is when the wife's car was under warranty. I don't mean to insult those who don't but for myself..., regarding fixing my cars..., well envision me waving my wrenches and shouting "FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS."

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: TerribleTed ()
Date: January 01, 2020 02:06PM

Semi retired here and as a one man 3/4 time Corvair shop I have more people wanting work than I can handle for sure.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Avid Corvair hobbiest since 1984.
I have personally performed ground up restoration on over 20 Corvairs.
I currently work full time at restoring and repairing Corvairs.
Located in the Atlanta Georgia area.
[www.facebook.com]

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: steve c goodman ()
Date: January 01, 2020 02:30PM

In my case after working on VW/Porsche and other foreign cars plus corvair line mechanic at a GM dealer here in Denver in early 60s while stationed at Lowry AFB myself and a mechanic friend who followed about the same path started Rear Engine Specialists on April 1 1967. Actually it was named 'Volks-Vair but VW N.A. sent a cease and desist letter to shops with anything volkswagon etc to remove the name. Some paid no attention and some like myself just changed the name. My shop partner left in 1981 after a car accident/injuries and I have carried on since by myself.

Now that I have bored everyone with that story I will say that I am still doing 10-12hr days and Corvair is a large part of that and I have no plans to stop. I am still healthy and remember the route to the shop every day. April 1,2020 will be 53 years. I consider myself very lucky to have spent all these years doing what I enjoy every day and all of the Corvair people I have met; the greatest people in the world.

Which will come first, shops going away/interest in the Corvair waning or legislation to remove old cars from the road? Who knows. The local club here did the annual drive into the mountains for brunch to start the new year today. Around 35 or more attended, weather wasn't awful but not pleasant and 8 drove Corvairs, interest is pretty good around here.

Many of you here on CCF have helped to keep me busy too, thank you all. HAPPY NEW YEAR

best wishes, Steve
Rear Engine Spec. Inc. Golden, Colo.

1962 spyder 3.0L turbo---1965 Crown V8
1967 monza 110/4---1968 monza 110/4
1971 amante gt 110/4
CORSA/RMC/PPCC/V8 Registry



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2020 02:34PM by steve c goodman.

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: vairmech ()
Date: January 01, 2020 05:11PM

I have a similar story as Steve and Jim with a few differences of course. As a 1 man shop I have way more work than I can handle and also a backlog of work.

I have been looking for someone that has a little automotive knowledge to teach them what I know and also to get into the machining part also. So far I have no takers, it seems no one wants to actually do work anymore in a trade. I go to the shop every day I can, most times 7 days a week! Why 7 days you ask? You have to pay to play sometimes, yes I do race, I ride motorcycle sometimes, and take cruises now and then!

Anyone want to come to MI and learn a trade and get paid at the same time?

Ken Hand
Handy Car Care
248 613 8586

Vairmech@aol.com

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: American Mel ()
Date: January 01, 2020 05:23PM

vairmech Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have a similar story as Steve and Jim with a few differences of course. As a 1 man shop I have way more work than I can handle and also a backlog of work.
>
> I have been looking for someone that has a little automotive knowledge to teach them what I know and also to get into the machining part also. So far I have no takers, it seems no one wants to actually do work anymore in a trade. I go to the shop every day I can, most times 7 days a week! Why 7 days you ask? You have to pay to play sometimes, yes I do race, I ride motorcycle sometimes, and take cruises now and then!
>
> Anyone want to come to MI and learn a trade and get paid at the same time?


Sounds like an excellent opportunity, and very tempting, . . . . . until I think of MI winters ! ! ! eye popping smiley
Not compatible with Reynauds. sad smiley

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
WA. state, 1 mile south of the Canadian border,
I am not at the end of the world, but you can see it from here.
Have; '66 Monza Coupe - 140, 4-spd. Daily driver beater
'67 Monza Vert. - 140, 4-spd. Daily driver beater
'67 A/C Moredoor Monza
Have had; '61 Monza coupe, '62 Monza Wagon, '63 Spyder, '65 Corsa
.
non-vair
'04 Dodge Cummins Quad Dualy, approaching 400K
17'Terry

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: jasvair ()
Date: January 01, 2020 05:34PM

I am now 77 and had to cut back the service I perform. I will build engines and do some service but very limited to past customers. I still am selling parts but only setup at the Homecoming in Michigan.
John Sweet
John's Corvair parts

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: Ratt643 ()
Date: January 01, 2020 05:58PM

I just retired from the Air Force and starting to get caught up on Corvair work.
Im about a year behind and a one man band. Ive worked on everything from aircraft to daily drivers to street rods and hot rods and now Corvairs almost exclusively. Been working on Vairs for about 7 years. I started driving a semi but my body couldnt handle it, so all Im doing is Corvair mechanical work. Never thought I would be retired at 48!

1964 Monza Coupe
1965 Corsa 140
1967 Monza Coupe

Maryville, TN
U.S. 129 The"Tail Of The Dragon"

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: JimBrandberg ()
Date: January 02, 2020 06:50AM

So far it sounds like everyone who works on Corvairs has more work than they can do. It also sounds like a lot of sole proprietorships where one guy can keep busier than he wants to. I would think it would be a solid line of work to get into. The market in general should stay firm through the 2020s and the niche should stay firm after that due to attrition.

The number one comment I get from "normal" people is "are there enough Corvairs around to keep you busy?". My pat answers are "it doesn't take a lot to keep one guy busy" and "there's more around than you might think, they made a few million" and "I've never been able to catch up".

It seems to be the same with cracker jack machine shop guys. The ones good enough or willing enough to take on something different are sole proprietors with gray hair. The guy I used to use tried some youngsters but no one lasted. The guy I use now got tired of the help making more than him. It seems a lot of places can keep busy with SBCs and Harleys so they don't take on the weird and challenging stuff.

More than ever I get jobs where someone has inherited the Corvair and it has been sitting for a while. You have to wonder if their enthusiasm will last, I certainly hope so. I can get it running and back on the road but other issues are sure to arise with any 50 year old car.

It's good to know that there's more folks around working on Corvairs than the back page of the Communique would indicate. Since I'm frugal it's hard for me to write out that $50 check every year, I chalk it up more to posterity and helping the club than return on investment.

I think a Corvair repair guy in Iowa or Wisconsin could find a lot of work easily. Of course I don't know about other regions. There was a guy in Duluth but I don't think any more. A person could have a nice head start by taking over Don Colburn's stuff in Eau Claire. Maybe the Joetown Garage guy would help someone get started in Iowa.

Jim Brandberg
Isanti, MN
CorvairRepair.com



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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: isucorvair ()
Date: January 02, 2020 07:26AM

Jim-

You are probably right, someone in Iowa or Ilinois/Wisconsin would probably do ok, but never fill the void left by lclc (Claypool).

Wally, in Joetown passed away this past year, though he mainly only worked on club members cars anymore- his nephew that has the shop now has his 67 Coupe, but doesn't have time for the Corvair work anymore, from what I have heard. Wally did the older cars anyway.

It won't be me- I don't enjoy working on other people's Cars, plus, I'm blocked full with my own projects smiling smiley

I do get several calls looking for someone to work on a car- I usually refer them up to Isanti...


Eric P
DeWitt, IA

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: dryenko ()
Date: January 02, 2020 08:24AM

I did some mostly part time Corvair work for years in Mass, AZ and now NC.
I now do very little and only for a few select folks who value the work and pay what it is worth.
Who ants to work for $15- 20 / hour when personal projects await ???
Especially if doing so is optional.
That is the biggest issue with Corvair work, most owners have limited resources and to be frank, are trapped in the 1980's price wise.
Except it seems, when are on the selling end.
Like for rare items like Corvair Weber manifolds.
Funny how that works !!
This may change if Corvairs ever get past the reputation as a cheap car when the Auctions Houses finally recognize their inherent value.
Until then ???

Bob C aka Dryenko
Dobson, NC 27017

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: Setterz54 ()
Date: January 02, 2020 09:34AM

I have been reading posts in this thread and wish there were people still doing corvair work. I am 65 just diagnosed with cancer and have corvairs that need at least some TLC. I want to sell some of them prior to our move to Florida probably toward the end of the summer. I have other car intrest now and quite frankly wish I hadnt bought four corvairs. So your problems arent limited to the people who worked on corvairs but also the people in the hobby who did work on corvairs and now have too much too do with too little energy.I wishe everyone a happy new year and have fun with your corvairs, also want to thank the guys still working on them for people like me. Good luck to everyone.

Setterz54
Fulton,MD.

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: Kyle_in_Mich ()
Date: January 02, 2020 09:59AM

wittsend Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As you noted younger people have little interest. Those who do are more akin to "Ricers." Theirs is also a generation indoctrinated to a 'greener earth.'
>

Don't believe everything you read. There are plenty of young folks passionate about full classic cars and regular antique models too. Yes, we are indoctrinated in caring about the earth, but that is mainly because we have an expected lifespan which reaches into the predictions of some rough times on this planet. Lots of folks who have done a lot of contributing to those issues likely won't make it to live through the repercussions. Luckily we can enjoy our cars and still be halfway kind to the earth though. Life is about compromise.

Many of the younger generations were taught by their parents and teachers that manual work was below them, and it was best to chase expensive college educations and middle management jobs. If you told a bunch of young folks today that home ownership is a nightmare and all around terrible, you think they are going to buy houses when they have money? Of course not. The trades are experiencing the same thing and now are forced to put up a real campaign to get folks interested in working these highly rewarding jobs.

CORSA Member
Traverse City,MI
Daily driver- Bicycle
Fun driver/project- 65 Corsa 140/4 speed

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: January 02, 2020 10:03AM

The Corvair "Hobby" (for lack of a better term) is suffering from the same problem that ALL 'trades' or 'industries' are! LACK OF INTEREST AND TRAINING!!!

I am 75 and just elected President of the Circle City Corvair Club! My fellow club members are also a 'little' older, although some younger folks have joined recently.

CCC has a talented group of "older" members who can take 'em apart and put them together blind folded! We are able and willing to teach the younger generation the basics and skills to maintain Corvairs but it seems interest is not there.

My life revolved around electricity and electronics. I was always interested in "how does it work" and would rather see the 'tubes' glow in the back of the TV than watch the programs! My dad was a skilled machinist (37 Years at Allison's) but his best friend ran a TV/Radio Repair shop so we (dad, with me watching) got to install Outside TV Antennas every weekend (TV was NEW back then).

I found that my Grade School had a Shop that all 7th and 8th Grade boys could take. We learned the basics of woodworking, basic metalworking, and basic electricity. I even learned to Typeset and run an Offset Press!

In High School I took Industrial Arts. This meant I had to take 4 semesters of Mechanical Drawing and the 4 "Basic Shops" (Wood, Metal, Machine, Electrical) before we could choose our 'major' for the last 2 years.

When I graduated High School I could drive a nail, run a lathe, Gas Weld, Braze, Solder, Arc Weld and cut and thread pipe! I had learned these skills while getting 5 Straight A's in Electronics!

Visiting my old High School last month made me sad! sad smiley

Industrial Arts no longer exists! hot smiley

When I ask a person "What will you do if your furnace breaks down?" the answer is 'call a technician.'

I want to know what they will do when the phone keeps ringing? At the current rate there will be no "technicians" to fix anything!

This is not a joke! I have friends that DO NOT KNOW WHICH WAY TO TURN A LIGHT BULB to remove it from the socket!!!!!! eye popping smiley

I have been a Broadcast Engineer for the past 50 years and I have hundreds of "skills" for the maintenance and repair of items that no longer exist! I also do pretty good on Corvairs!

I will now get off the 'soap box' but I do wonder where this is going!?

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: The Stig ()
Date: January 02, 2020 10:35AM

Very well said Kyle!!!

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: January 02, 2020 11:31AM

I feel the "Future" will require shops Specializing in a broader range of Old cars..

If I wanted to make some $$$... I'd open a shop in our County / approx. 100k pop. within 50 miles.

"DeckRug's Old car / trailer Electrical" $65 per hour.

"ANY VEHICLE, ANY COLOR, ANY COUNTRY of origin.

$65 per hour.


Electrical... no oils / fluids / or other hazardous waste!! Liability is considerably less!

========================================================

As far as Corvair....will look at recent a local purchase soon.... NEW Owner found me on the CCF! For just an evaluation. He wants to know what "he needs to know".

But only 3-4 Vairs running around, and I own two! Not viable for a Business.

MODERATOR
Sea Mountain, between Charleston Harbor and Coos Bay! SW Oregon Coast
Click HERE for My Website...Click HERE for My TechPages!
..............................110-PG.................................................Webered-Turbo

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: Lane66m ()
Date: January 02, 2020 11:34AM

Lots of these "Old" folks were not responsible for the perceived and real enviromental issues. Companies in the past made the best decisions based on profits not caring for the earth. But sometimes the scientific data was not available to know long term effects.

Lots of us old people were into green actions long before there was a movement. We repurposed everything until it was plainly worn out or destroyed. We didn't have the Styrofoam and plastic that now is everywhere. Those are from the fast delivery and throw away people that came along in the 80s and later. Paper and cardboard containers were used in the 50, 60 & 70s, probably way earlier to. Plastic and Styrofoam was to save the forests. Now look were we are, back to using paper. No problem since paper products are truly recyclable, compared to about 30% of plastic products. Just not good from straws, but what is wrong drinking from a cup lip.

I am doing my part today by continuing to repurpose all I can, including repairing my cars new and old.

Al Lane
Ellabell, GA 31308

1966 Monza Coupe, 110 hp, 4 Spd
1966 Monza More Door 110 hp, PG
1968 Camaro SS Coupe 350 CI 295+ hp PG
1964 Greenbrier Deluxe, 6 dr, 80 hp car engine, PG
1947 Farmall A tractor 15 hp





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2020 11:36AM by Lane66m.

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