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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: 66vairman ()
Date: January 02, 2020 11:46AM

A wise person once said "Everyone likes to change things as long as THEY don't have to change". - LOL. Like it or not things are changing, always have been.

When the automobile first appeared in the late 1800's it was condemned as a nuisance and a danger to the livelihood of all the folks that supported the horse ,carriage, and wagon jobs. That said the automobile provided longer range transport to the masses and let's not forget the horrid horse manure problem in cities. Yes equine folks lost their jobs and had to adapt - no fun. Point is the type of work will always change and it's driven by the consumer - US.

Kyle makes a good point. To be fair his generation hit the job market during some tough times and they are getting a later start.

Like it or not the old car market is changing. When I start my Corvair at a car show to leave I hear the younger folks say "Wow that thing sure smells" and they are correct. New car exhaust is relatively odorless. They like the old cars, but rightly feel they pollute (anybody remember the lousy air in Los Angeles in the 60's?). So you'll see old cars converted to electric power and they'll be enjoyed, but there won't be much demand for engine builders. GM is already sponsoring a SBC shaped electric drivetrain to bolt into older Chevy cars and trucks.

BTW - The old machine shop I've dealt with for decades. The owner just announced he's closing the place - not enough work coming in!!

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: jjohnsonjo ()
Date: January 02, 2020 01:16PM

I get jealous when I hear about you guys with good local machine shops. It is a dead or dying art where I live. There used to be dozen of good ones to pick from, they are gone completely and many that are still alive have gone to CNC custom work and will NOT touch anything automotive.

When I was young I really enjoyed working on cars, still do. I didn't work on others folks dirty old cars, nor did I want to work at the Bethlehem Steel either. I decided to get into electronics which I knew nothing about at the time. I learned and kept learning, and learning it worked out very well for me not only financially, but also enjoying my job. I didn't even want to miss a day of work when I was doing main frames, trouble shooting was like a big game to me. Eventually I got into management, PITA at times, but I was still in the field and always stayed on top of the latest things coming down the road.

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: Setterz54 ()
Date: January 03, 2020 10:33AM

I have had the same problem with machine shops. The one I used that was fairly
close to me closed up a few years ago. Now the ones around are more for racing
type cars.Makes it difficult when you have corvair heads that need attention.

Setterz54
Fulton,MD.

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: playerpage ()
Date: January 03, 2020 12:04PM

Luckily I live in area where I can get parts from California Corvairs and Mike's Corvair Parts rather easily. Mike is even good enough to come up to my house and work in my garage when I have things I need done.

As for other more independent mechanics, I'm not far from Don Brown and his high school specialists. Don runs a auto shop at a Visalia high school, and most of the cars he has the boys work on are Corvairs.

My other specialist is a general-purpose mechanic here in town. He and his brother used to race Corvair dune buggies in the 70s, and now he races classic Camaros in Oildale.

in a way, he is a commentary on how all older cars are becoming specialized items. He can hardly ever work on the car for me because he's always so backed up.

As another plus, we have several good machine shops around here. One of them redid the heads on my Turbo when the valves dropped last November 2018.

____________________________________________

Eric C. Player, Porterville, CA, USA (Seriously! It's the USA out here!)
MEMBER: CORSA National, Central Coast CORSA, South Coast CORSA, Vintage CORSA, Sfba CORSA, and the San Joaquin Valley Corvair Club.
THEN:
1965 Monza 110, Canary Yellow
1965 Corsa 180 Turbo, Red
1966 Monza 110, Purple
1967 Monza 140, Red
1966 500 110, Black; nicknamed "Shadow"
1965 Monza 110, Camaro Yellow; nicknamed "Silver"
NOW:
1966 Corsa 180 Turbo, Blue; nicknamed "Bluvair"

"He cautioned me not to take notes. It would not have helped if I had, as he would start a paragraph with, 'It is therefore obvious. . .'
and go on from there to matters which may have been obvious to him and God but to no one else."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, character of Daniel B. Davis, 'The Door Into Summer.'



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2020 12:09PM by playerpage.

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: racingguy2 ()
Date: January 03, 2020 12:31PM

I ran an automotive machine shop and did repair/modification of hot rods and exotics. The machining side never made a dollar. Probably the area I was in, but the people would ask for crazy things, then complain about what it would cost. We live in a time where everything including engines and even cars are disposable.
I got tired of hearing about how they could just buy a new one from China, so I quit advertising it, and only did race machining.

There was a large engine builders supply house a mile down the road, and they closed years ago. They sold to everybody at the same price. Didn't matter if you were there every day or once. Nicest and most knowledgeable people you could ask for, but there was rarely another customer there when I was. In contrast, go a few miles up the road to Jegs, wait in line for an hour to overpay for something that you had to help find because their inventory system is so bad, from your choice of someone who just got out of jail, or high school. About every other time I would take a nitrous bottle to get filled they would try to tell me they didn't do that.

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: Curtis ()
Date: January 03, 2020 12:53PM

Roger R in Madison, WI is the only remaining Corvair expert left accepting work - and even then only on a limited basis.

I would love to mentor under a Corvair expert, but I doubt it would ever replace my salary. Plus, I am sure I would be fighting repairable rust day in and day out.

Attitudes in our local clubs could use some improvements. Promote tech sessions and driving/show these vehicles.

As for demand for Corvair shops... The influx of new Corvair owners are corporate types that don't wrench on cars. They just want it to work on demand. They have money, and are eager to pay others to work on them. It might work out if a prospective Corvair mechanic teams up with a VW shop as the dedicated Corvair guy. Utilize the customer base and business connections the shop already has.

Curtis

64 Spyder Convertible
Milwaukee, Wi

Former Corvairs
62 Monza 900 Coupe (102/4)
64 Monza 900 Covertible (110/PG)
65 Monza Coupe (110/PG)
66 Monza Coupe (110/PG)
66 Monza Sedan (110/PG)

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: goatsnvairs ()
Date: January 03, 2020 05:49PM

Lane66, I agree 110%



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2020 05:52PM by goatsnvairs.

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: JimBrandberg ()
Date: January 03, 2020 06:04PM

I'm not aware of who Roger R in Madison is. It would be good to know when I get a call from someone down that way, although limited basis probably means that he has more work lined up than he can do as well.

It sounds like things are good for people doing Corvair work in California although general statements are difficult to make in such a big state.

Jim Brandberg
Isanti, MN
CorvairRepair.com



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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: 66vairman ()
Date: January 03, 2020 06:39PM

JimBrandberg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm not aware of who Roger R in Madison is. It would be good to know when I get a call from someone down that way, although limited basis probably means that he has more work lined up than he can do as well.
>
> It sounds like things are good for people doing Corvair work in California although general statements are difficult to make in such a big state.

Fortunately Engine Machine Services in Inglewood, CA specializes in engine work. One guy just does flat head engines, another just works on Euro exotic engines, and Bruce does Corvair, VW, and Porsche, engine work - mostly heads. Bruce has been around for decades and will explain things. All the Corvair shops in the area use him, although only Jeff at Calif. Corvair was willing to give me the information (thank you Jeff). Like some here, I'm lucky enough to do most of my own work.

BTW - NO I don't work on others Corvair, except to occasionally lend a helping hand to a club member.

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: REM654DPG ()
Date: January 03, 2020 07:10PM

My hope is to retire in a few years and then I’ll have much more time to just focus on the fun stuff - Corvair work. Seems to be enough demand for engine and trans/axle work here in Portland and nationwide but for the engine building I have to turn people down just for the sake of not having the extra time to honestly commit to the work.

I’ve been in the automotive machine trade since 1982 and conventional/CNC machining since 1989. They both complement each other quite well yet each side of the house is unique in and of itself. Fortunately, I have been blessed over the years to be surrounded by great mentors and very talented and gifted friends – it’s never a one man show. Over about the last 20 years I’ve accumulated the machinery and tools one needs to do complete engine machining/blue printing at home which has allowed me to dabble in the 4 spider differentials after I purchased Bob Andersons tooling. The main reason it works for me financially is that the equipment is all paid for and the work does not have to support me – just supplement this great hobby and keep the lights on.

Bob C – Dryenko hit the nail on the head. For most of us on the machining end of the trade you cannot be in it solely for the money when it comes to Corvair machine work because to do it meticulously right takes so much more time, special tooling and experience than a conventional water-cooled engine requires. This is why most of the machine shops still in existence don’t want to touch any Corvair stuff and if they do the quality of the work is usually marginal at best. This is my general observation from much of what I have seen and had to re-do over the years and I’m not trying to bash or group all automotive machine shops into this category but generally speaking this is the norm. Engine building has always been my passion and because I love these crazy cars way too much my hope is to help keep this kind of work at least affordable for everyone and still make a little spending money and recoup some of the machinery/tooling cost so I can buy more - but not yet anyway.

Up till now and when I actually retire from my full-time job the engine work I do take on has been and will be very selective – pretty much just close friends and club members – and it’s usually always done in trade for services or more Corvair parts. That’s how I acquired the rust free low mile 65 4 door I have – it was a straight across trade for a stroked big bore FC engine build.

The sad truth as most here have observed is I’ve seen five automotive machine shops in my area close the doors over the years due to the owners deciding to retire or they just end up dying too young. No one ever takes over the business nor is it passed down to the next generation. When these shop owners retire out they just close the doors and their gone. It is sad but I guess one good thing about it is this is how I have acquired most of my equipment over the years – I guess it has to go somewhere just like when I’m gone.

And to add to some others comments on this post, we do have competent and skilled younger generations coming up behind us in the machine trade as I work with them every day. Technology is great but it can be challenging just trying not to get so distracted by it. I do enjoy teaching the young kids that most of what we work with is repairable – and by us. They are so amazed that we don’t just order a new one or call someone to fix it and then I tell them you know we can fix this and it will last a long time. And then I remind them that my daily driver is older than they are because not everything is meant to be disposable. And you know all this cool stuff we machine – you know it’s made from melted down & reycled Corvair parts - LOL

All that said, the trade is still alive and well if you’re a follower of SEMA or the Performance Racing Industry. It’s just changing with the times and it’s not a sport for anyone on a conservative and limited budget anymore. But I believe there is still enough of us Corvair people around for years to come that specialize in so many areas that we’ll be good for as long as they keep letting us burn gas.

Till retirement that’s all the rambling I have for now and thanks for the post Jim

Regan Metcalf
Portland, OR

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: Consa ()
Date: January 04, 2020 12:44AM

33 here, always loved corvairs working on my first, I could have bought 100 different project cars, but the one I got, and kept was my corvair.(it’s been sitting for 9 years!, I’m done with modern cars!). Grandpa showed me the ropes on his model A, dad taught me the ins and outs of Chevy small blocks. And with the help of the internet I have learned the intricacies of modern computer controlled engines. I’m hoping someday to have the chance to learn some manual machining. I grew up in awe watching my dad and his farmer friends engineer replacement parts for a combine with the help of some keystone light, a lathe and some scrap metal. There are people like me, but their passion for tuning lies in the digital realm and bolt on premade parts. I fully plan on caretaking my own personal fleet of corvairs someday until I can pass them on as well.

Bryan
Vancouver wa
66 corsa clone “the consa” equipped with mismatched vin plate and appropriate badging (not my work smiling smiley )

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: Lane66m ()
Date: January 04, 2020 02:10AM

Back in the 60's, my dad taught me how to work on all the 60's era Chevys he had. He never bought new, except for a 65 wagon, 68 Caprice and a 69 K20 truck. He had wagons and buses for his businesses. During my 13 years in the Marine Corps working as an aviation engine mechanic, I worked on my cars as funds were low and I couldn't afford new cars. After that I did 32 years at Gulfstream Aerospace. I kept working on my used cars. Never got a new vehicle until 1999. A Chevrolet Z71. Still did maintenance on it. I still work on my 2018 Z71, 2015 Malibu, 68 Camaro and my 3 Vairs.

I don't have time to go commercial and don't think I would want to nowadays. I will help when I am able, but don't want to responsible for anyone's car. Too much responsibility if it is not perfect for someone who is expecting new car reliability from an old car. If someone wants an old car, they need to read the shop manual first. Then either don't buy the car or learn the shop manual so they can do most tasks.

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


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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: JimBrandberg ()
Date: January 04, 2020 07:29AM

I'm reminded of my buddy who was in the Air Force in the 60s and worked on all the Corvairs around the base in his spare time. Lots of Corvairs running around then. He met his wife Kitty there, a Colonel's daughter with a MG. Pretty sporty.

Jim Brandberg
Isanti, MN
CorvairRepair.com



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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: isucorvair ()
Date: January 04, 2020 08:10AM

JimBrandberg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm not aware of who Roger R in Madison is. It would be good to know when I get a call from someone down that way, although limited basis probably means that he has more work lined up than he can do as well.
>

Jim-

Roger Ringelstetter is in Sun Prarier (Madison) Wosconsin. I'm pretty sure he is part time...


Eric P
DeWitt, IA

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: Brizo ()
Date: January 04, 2020 09:35AM

One reason many old automotive machine shops are closing for lack of work is because companies like GM and Ford have priced complete replacement engines low enough that in many cases, major engine rebuilding isn't cost effective anymore. The busy shops I know of around here are doing mostly just head work. A large hi- performance shop in town said their automated crank grinder had broken down but they had no plans to repair it because aftermarket stroked cranks were priced so low.

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: Bhelton ()
Date: January 04, 2020 10:09AM

How about starting a sticky or a dedicated thread to simply and explicitly list state/city, name/contact information, and specialty of known Corvair shops/ mechanics?


Brace Helton
1962 6-door Greenbrier. 110hp 4 spd
Lancaster, Ca

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: isucorvair ()
Date: January 04, 2020 10:57AM

isucorvair Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> JimBrandberg Wrote:
> -------------------------------------------------------
> > I'm not aware of who Roger R in Madison is. It would be good to know when I get a call from someone down that way, although limited basis probably means that he has more work lined up than he can do as well.
> >
>
> Jim-
>
> Roger Ringelstetter is in Sun Prarier (Madison) Wosconsin. I'm pretty sure he is part time...
>
>
> Eric P
> DeWitt, IA




Wow, I cannot spell today. Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: American Mel ()
Date: January 04, 2020 07:12PM

JimBrandberg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm reminded of my buddy who was in the Air Force in the 60s and worked on all the Corvairs around the base in his spare time. Lots of Corvairs running around then. He met his wife Kitty there, a Colonel's daughter with a MG. Pretty sporty.


Hey Jim,
Just for clarification, you talking about the car . . . . . or the Colonel's daughter ? ? ? grinning 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: Darrin ()
Date: January 07, 2020 11:54AM

One more here on the East Coast. I just retired from my day job and doing Corvair work in Catlett, Virginia. Just south of Manassas, VA.

I will get set up formally this Spring, but just finished replacing a failed cam gear for our club President. Basically a full rebuild.

There does seem to be demand.

I am 54 and grew up with Corvairs in Minnesota I had my first Corvair at age 13 or 14 out of a farmers grove and have fourty years of more or less intense Corvair addiction. I have built/repaired numerous engines, countless carbs, etc. over the years and am having fun so far.

Email is corvaircamp@gmail.com.

I do not miss going to the office or business travel or meetings or performance evaluations. As Matt would note, life is good.

Darrin

Darrin Hartzler
Bethesda, MD/Catlett, VA

Northern Virginia Corvairs & Group Corvair

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Re: Corvair Repair People for the 2020s
Posted by: joelsplace ()
Date: January 07, 2020 02:58PM

I fix Corvairs but I have a really demanding customer that takes all my time and has me backlogged for years. (me)

Joel
Northlake, TX
5 Ultravans, 114 Corvairs and counting...

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