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'66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: RthrDent ()
Date: December 14, 2007 08:33AM

What is this guy talking about? I've never heard of anything concerning 13 "pilot" cars. Anyone know?


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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: GJ1963 ()
Date: December 14, 2007 08:34AM

Bigwave has two - see his sig. But those are 65's.

This one looks like trash.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/14/2007 08:36AM by GJ1963.

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: mayor ()
Date: December 14, 2007 08:52AM

Why would a '66 be a "pilot" car and why such a low serial #?

I also like that he doesn't want people calling him to tell him what it actually is. He either knows that it's not what he says it is OR he doesn't and he's afraid to find out he got taken.

John Dailey
Arkansas Corvair Club

'65 Monza Cpe/110/3spd
Fort Smith, AR

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: RAV_AIR ()
Date: December 14, 2007 09:32AM

That car looks like crap.

Aside from being a low number car, the windshield has already long since started bubbling and rusting, and also, the rear of the front quarters is bubbling and rusty...

The car looks like crap no matter what number it is.

I'd give him 700 tops.

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: Marco_a_p ()
Date: December 14, 2007 10:21AM

1966 Corsa 140 with Am/Fm and Power top...... very interesting....


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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: jerry thomas ()
Date: December 14, 2007 10:31AM

As I understand it "Pilot cars" were the first produced and were used for advertising photos, etc. The aerial on the car looks aftermarket and usually pilot cars did not have some of the exterior items so they looked cleaner or sleeker in the brochure pictures. The car is definitely rough, but given the cost of some trim, etc the parts could be worth the cost of the car. The cove mouldings, wedding band taillight lenses and vent window chrome are almost impossible to find and expensive when you do find it. Would be worth some reasonable amount anyway

Diane & Jerry Thomas
Greenwich, NY (Albany/Saratoga area)
66 Corsa Turbo convert

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: corvairtherapy ()
Date: December 14, 2007 12:31PM

Seems to me if this guy has been restoring cars for over 35 years, he should know Corvairs do NOT have 4 cylinder engines. wonder what else he's wrong about??

Dave.. .

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: LastHamlet ()
Date: December 14, 2007 01:55PM

I saw that first thing this morning, and it tripped me out... A 66 pilot Corsa???
Hummm, I smell a rat.
It is at best a parts car...
The description of it's care is off a bit too.

"Restored, then pulled under a pine tree for 15 years, without a top"

Somebody leave a carp in the oven, cause it is really getting fishy now.
It is possible to have a low number 66, as somebody had to have the first few 66's, but I don't think that alone makes it a pilot car.
It would have to have a trim tag like Bigwave's to be the real McCoy.

I am thinking of sending him an email and see if he will post the trim tag. Of course, it may be completely gone, according to the looks of the rest of the car.

I feel, like somebody already mentioned, he got taken.

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: Mike Stillwell ()
Date: December 14, 2007 06:43PM

Sure looks like a pilot. I think there were more than 13 as Dave has #'s 23 and 29, or something like that. BTW only the '66 year are the known documented Pilots. Pilots were built early to make sure they turned out right. They were completely stock with all trim parts - as they wanted to make sure the crews knew how to build them. They piloted the line so to speak.
Both of Dave Trull's cars are '66 Corsa's with higher VINs than 6. #3 is out there as well. it is a Monza coupe. I owned #44 for a while and noted some other slightly different things about it compared to other cars I've owned. It was not a Pilot, but was surely made that first day of the '66 year. All of the early cars seem to be pretty well optioned. 44 has guards, power top, 'glide, clock, all tint, deluxe belts, wires and few other things. It had/has 44 written in grease pen on many interior and other parts. It was all '66 and later style except for a couple of minor parts. I.E. no heater box in the rear air intake, no seat mount reinforcements in the pan, larger U-Joint bolts, etc...

I wish it were worth more, see the other post, but it won't command much more than a few percentage points for the rarity.


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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: marv ()
Date: December 14, 2007 07:54PM

Wow This Vair is so rare I can't afford it

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: Bigwave ()
Date: December 14, 2007 09:00PM

Well I just saw the ad in ebay. The car is legit. I talk to the guy 5+ years ago about the car and got the same story about being parked under a tree for 10 years etc. Some of the pictures (indoors) are the same ones he sent me 5+ years ago, so they are not recent. The outdoor shots may be more recent. There are 4 known surviving 1966 Corvair pilot cars. These were built during the 1965 production year to introduce the "new" 1966 models, so they are built several months before the regular 1966 model year cars are released. Some are used to test assembly methods and crash testing. Others become showcars to introduce the new models months before they are available for sale. Some items on these cars are 1965 versions, since the 66 parts were not yet available. Pilot cars are usually loaded. My Pilots are identical twins. I suspect that showcar pilots were built in pairs for shows in different locations so they would always appear the same. The earliest Pilot is pilot #3 which is a 1966 Monza Coupe. The pilot for sale on Ebay is Pilot #12 a 1966 140hp Corsa vert. My two pilots are Pilot #23 and #27 and are 180hp Corsa verts. I have searched for years and have found a 1966 Impala pilot as well. It appears that only in 1966 were cars produced that were labeled pilots. A 1965 and 1967 corvair bodytags have surfaced that appear to possibly be pilots, but all that remains are the tags and no supporting paper tags etc. The bodytags do appear to be for pilots since they list RPO codes, but they do not have "pilot stamped on them. They were very low Vin# as well.
I discussed these pilots with a former GM exec who was reponsible for destroying all pilots cars, and he was flabbergasted that these cars existed, since it was GM policy to destroy them. It seemed the since the majority of pilots were built to test assembly procedures and crash testing, all pilots were routinely destroyed including the ones built for shows. Apparently a few survived from this short time period. I have located several very low Vin Corvairs from other models years with no pilots found so it seems these may have been a fluke. No on knows, since records were destroyed. We even located what appears to be the bodytag to a possible 1966 Canadian pilot as well. So it appears that a few pilots made it out of GM for 1966 and possibly for 65 and 67 as well. Unfortunately only bodytags exists for the 65 and 67 cars. The tags for the 65 and 67 cars are not labeled "Pilot" and no other items such as paper pilot tags or build sheet exist to corroborate their "Pilotness". Nevertheless, they are likely pilots due to the RPO codes on the bodytag which are similar to the Codes found on the Confirmed 1966 pilots.

In discussions with the Corvair Historian, it is thought that the 66 cars being labeled as pilots was a one year anomaly. Also these are the only pilots to have ever surfaced among all the Chevy model lines. I contacted the national groups for Nova,Chevelle,Chevy II, Camaro, and Impala. Only one pilot was ever found covering all these groups a loaded 1966 Impala SS convertible. It was labeled Pilot 76. Its Vin was #4. Most Pilots appear to not even having being assigned a Vin. So all in all, a total of Five Pilot cars are known to exist, Four Corvair and One Impala. Is it possible another may turn up? Yes but it is unlikely. Many in the national Chevy Clubs have been involved 40+ years documenting there cars etc without any turning up. Our own Corvair Historian who has been involve with researching Corvairs before there was even a Corsa Club, has not found any others. In all likelyhood the survival of these pilots was a fluke that occurred over this short period of time and not repeated. Be aware that all the documented Corvair Pilots are from the Willow Run plant.

So in summary to some of the questions and comments from earlier post.

There are only Four documented known Corvair pilot cars still in existance.
They should not exist according to GM policy of the time, but they do.
It is unlikely anymore will appear, but who knows, maybe one is squirreled away somewhere. It did appear they may have been made in pairs (as demonstrated by the identical twin Turbo verts with consecutive Vins). So maybe the twin to the Monza Coupe and the 140 Corsa vert may be out there. Frankly I think GM mistakenly let these cars get out.

So whats the Big deal about "Pilot cars". Well I think they are historically significant cars. Not for just Corvairs, but Chevy and GM in general. They represent a very rare example of a "Pre-production car" They also remind me of pattern coins that the mint would strike before finalizing the design of a new coin before releasing to the public. They also remind me of a mint error,like a three legged buffalo nickel. These cars I believe, were never meant to have left GM and end up in public. These car were GM show cars, shown to the public months before the 66 models were released. Usually loaded with options to dazzle when shown.

So they have many things going for them as listed below:

1. They are historically significant.
2. They are among the rarest Chevrolets in existance. (labeled Pilots)
3. They are GM showcars (How often can you find a genuine GM showcar)
4. They are not suppose to exist ( I love the idea that I have a car that was suppose to have been destroyed) ( same applies to 1913 Liberty nickels) Can you tell I collect coins as well??!!
5. There will always be collectors who want something unique and Pilots fit the bill. So you'll probably not be "upside down" moneywise when you restore it.

I just want to point out a few things, should anyone wanting to buy Pilot #12 on ebay to make sure that the owner give you the original parts to the car. I feel the more original the better on a car of historic significance. This is what I know regarding this car from conversations 5 years ago:

This car is currently in poor condition. The current owner does not know any of the history of the car. The car is a 140 Corsa, and it is unknown if this is the original engine since he states it was removed and rebuilt prior to his ownership. Owner claims the car was restored and then parked under a tree with the top down for ten years. It needs a total restoration and has significant rust. Car has been heavily molested. Interior has been changed to white with a very poor attempt to paint the dash and front lower vents white to match the seats. Look at the "RED" steering wheel!! Also notice the replaced remote side mirror with a square non Corvair unit.

I would have the owner send a picture of the bodytag to verify its a "Pilot".
Also I would have the owner send the Engine block numbers to see if this car has the original engine. If the interior has been swapped out, then it is likely that all the paper pilot tags, computer card and pilot build sheet are gone. Hopefully this is not the case. I hope someone in the Corvair community gets this car, as I would love to get more info on it for my Pilot car research. I would be happy to answer any "Pilot car" questions any of you may have.

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: RthrDent ()
Date: December 14, 2007 09:34PM

Wow Dave, great read! I never knew any such thing existed but you can bet I'll checking the VIN's of any '66 I come across now. Being an amateur historian I just love learning stuff like this and your writing is a pleasure to read. Thanks for taking the time to educate us all on the pilots.

Allen and Stacy, Golden Valley,AZ
Facebook: [www.facebook.com]

'61 Lakewood
'65 Corsa turbo convertible (former)
'64 Spyder convertible (former)

"I love the smell of oil smoke in the morning."

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: wcelliot ()
Date: December 17, 2007 07:17PM

$4800 and counting... somebody's reading something... it's already screamed past where a '66 turbo vert in this condition would have been valued...


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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: Darren ()
Date: December 17, 2007 09:49PM

Out of 17 pics of the car, everyone is obscured by shadows or bad lighting.

66 Monza SS Convertible
140HP 4 Speed
Colorado Springs, CO

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: UGLYTRUK ()
Date: December 18, 2007 12:02AM

I saw this '56 Corvette at Lebanon Valley Dragway this past summer... Guy had TONS a back up literature, but I was just a gawker...



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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: UGLYTRUK ()
Date: December 18, 2007 12:06AM

Back in 1981ish I stumbled accross a '62 Rampy near Syracuse NY. VIN 0001 or 2. Pete Koeler has a copy of the VIN pix I took at the time


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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: Max Roeder ()
Date: December 18, 2007 02:09AM

I'm happy (for those bidding) that the future owner's identity is hidden.

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: gmorphan ()
Date: December 18, 2007 04:40AM

Max Roeder Wrote:
> I'm happy (for those bidding) that the future
> owner's identity is hidden.

The partial bidder ID is only during bidding, it won't be hidden after the auction is over.

Thanks for the "Pilot" lesson Dave, I really enjoy this type of info. That's one of the things I really like about the '69 Corvair group. A few of those guys really know their stuff on the history of '69 production and I find that stuff fasinating.

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: UGLYTRUK ()
Date: December 18, 2007 06:26AM

I think it also has AM FM... Quick steering??? Posi???

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Re: '66 convertible "pilot" car??
Posted by: LastHamlet ()
Date: December 18, 2007 10:01AM

Many Thanks Bigwave, that was some informative reading. I would have never believed a "pilot" car would have been made in the second year of the Corsa production, but it goes to show you learn something new every day.
My mistake, apparently the car is legit, and fool said I.

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