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Whoever sent this puppy out with the original rear suspension was a total maroon. I was driving my cousin's earlier Corvair to work, she was shotgun. I cooked into a turn too fast, the rear suspension tucked under, the ass end started to come around. Fortunately a quick jerk of the wheel brought Mr. Corvair back into compliance with living another day. But I wouldn't have one. Insane.

Interesting idea. But deadly in the wrong hands.
Glad you survived your swing axle scare!

Many did not.
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Clarfied as DOMESTIC buyers, or buyers of DOMESTIC cars?
Not hard to understand RE the reality of the USDM at the time (if one looked into it), but: 'domestic car buyers'.

Which part of my “flat engine, air-cooled” stipulation do you not understand?
The part where you think 'air-cooled' was a meaningful component of the Beetle's sales.

Whoever sent this puppy out with the original rear suspension was a total maroon.
'64 & up had much-improved handling / revised rear suspension. A buddy of mine had four '65-66 Corvair coupes that I rode in many times in my youth (when we all drove like lawless animals) - never had an issue. One of his Vairs was a 4-carb Corsa / 4-speed.
 

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Oh, and you forgot the renault caravelle - another rear-engined small car "from the pit" that only lasted 10 years.
The Floride/Caravelle was a "longer, lower, wider" Ghia designed coupe/convertible built on the Dauphine's platform.

This is me and my dad in rear of my uncle's Caravelle in 1960. I remember being impressed with the frunk and the removable hardtop!

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'64 & up had much-improved handling / revised rear suspension. A buddy of mine had four '65-66 Corvair coupes that I rode in many times in my youth (when we all drove like lawless animals) - never had an issue. One of his Vairs was a 4-carb Corsa / 4-speed.
Point being that GM KNEW this puppy was hazmat to the average schlub who's no better prepared for or equipped to deal with sudden onset oversteer--hey!! let's swap ends!--than today's schmoe is for a 3-second 0-60 lektrk KaBam Wagon.

Ralph Nader made his rep on GM's utter folly. These cars are tested and tested before they go into production. GM knew. Amazing.
 
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Average schlub wouldn't do well with Porsche's 58% rear weight bias, swing arm suspension 356 either.
That's why Gawwww-dddd-uhhh made Ford Galaxies and Chevy Impalas and Plymouth Furys.
 

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What in the ham sandwich are these pictures! Is this real?! 😳
Frightening isn’t it?

Real photos scanned from contemporary road tests!

The swing-axle scenario plays like this:

The wheels develop massive camber change under load as those swing-axles ‘tuck under’ which, as you see, dramatically narrows the track causing the rear to ‘climb up’ - like the proverbial stink bug in heat - a potentially deadly ‘worst of the worst’ drama combination!

The next step is either very sudden snap-oversteer, and then in extremis the massive camber change will induce the tyre sidewall to partially collapse, as it now carries all the load - witness the nightmare 3rd photo of that Spitfire Mkll which appears very close..

This leads the outside edge of the wheel rim to literally dig-in to the pavement (or in combination), may also blow out the tyre.

And when that happens, my friend, you are dead-set cactus!

You can clearly imagine what happens next...

Mate I’ve got an old UK magazine somewhere which featured an in-period Family Car Test Comparison of four different vehicle Brands, with each vehicle employing the dreaded swing-axles. There’s a 2-page spread entirely devoted to photos of each vehicle while cornering... as doom fast approaches. It’s a jaw dropper for sure

[edit] iirc: Triumph Herald, VW, Renault Dauphine, Skoda Estelle.

Btw I used to own a 1955 Beetle Standard (the base-model ‘stripper’) which was equipped with this thrilling combination:

Swing axles.
125 mm crossply retreads on 3 1/2” rims.
Cable brakes - that’s right, NO hydraulics - just like a push bike!

Btw VW also thoughtfully positioned the fuse box directly atop the petrol tank..

So basically, in a superbly choreographed coup de gras, if the swing-axles didn’t kill you 💀 the subsequent rollover inversion meant you’d surely burn to death 🔥
 

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The Floride/Caravelle was a "longer, lower, wider" Ghia designed coupe/convertible built on the Dauphine's platform.

This is me and my dad in rear of my uncle's Caravelle in 1960. I remember being impressed with the frunk and the removable hardtop!

View attachment 68678
That’s a cool photo Rocky, thanks for sharing.

Floride was back in the day regarded as a bit of a looker with its neoveau design theme; very clean and minimalist.

Btw whenever I see a Tesla M3 I can’t help associating its front end design to the pretty Floride, along with the widespread disapproval of the grille-less M3

Btw speaking of grilles, or lack of them, you may recall that Renault actually tried to sue BMC due to what the former perceived as a more-than-coincidental design similarity between its Floride front-end to the later MGB.

If you look at the two, the resemblance (sans the chromey MGB grille) is, shall we say, uncanny..
 

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How in any way was the Corvair “truly revolutionary”?

Other than perhaps to within GM itself. Although yes its styling was highly influential and widely copied.

But essentially Corvair is just a recycled pre-war Volkswagen on steroids.

Nor did the Mustang prove to be “very dated”.

Because in fact it became not merely the car of tomorrow, but literally the car of today. Today being 2023, almost 70 years later.

One product proved hugely popular, profitable, permanent.

Whereas Corvair’s rear-engine represents a definitive design dead-end; dated, doomed and dead within a decade.
Dated, doomed and dead end....like a 911? Just sayin......
 

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Whoever sent this puppy out with the original rear suspension was a total maroon. I was driving my cousin's earlier Corvair to work, she was shotgun. I cooked into a turn too fast, the rear suspension tucked under, the ass end started to come around. Fortunately a quick jerk of the wheel brought Mr. Corvair back into compliance with living another day. But I wouldn't have one. Insane.

Interesting idea. But deadly in the wrong hands.
It all came down to tire pressures in the early models, well that and a front roll bar. Proper inflation would prevent that from happening, but most other cars all had the same pressure in all 4 tires shop-jockeys would just inflate the Corvair to all 4 the same pressure, leading to the tail-happiness.
 

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Saw a 1987 Porsche 911 "Widowmaker" Turbo sell on Mecum last week.
I hope the buyer knew what they were getting into.
Maybe it'll just sit safe n sound in a nice big climate-controlled storage building...
 

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Point being that GM KNEW this puppy was hazmat to the average schlub who's no better prepared for or equipped to deal with sudden onset oversteer--hey!! let's swap ends!--than today's schmoe is for a 3-second 0-60 lektrk KaBam Wagon.

Ralph Nader made his rep on GM's utter folly. These cars are tested and tested before they go into production. GM knew. Amazing.
Mmmm, yes and no. Safety regulations like ours were not around back then (seat belts were an option on most cars), so "knowing" it was unsafe is one way to put it. By listing the tire pressures in the owner's manual, GM was absolved from any issues (again, back then it was enough). The tire pressures were set the way they were to increase the stability of the car, putting the onus on the driver to ensure they were set to specs. Gas stations just pumped them all up to the same pressure, which worked with the swing arm rear axles to decrease stability. They were no more dangerous than any other car back then.
 

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Mmmm, yes and no.... The tire pressures were set the way they were to increase the stability of the car, putting the onus on the driver to ensure they were set to specs. Gas stations just pumped them all up to the same pressure, which worked with the swing arm rear axles to decrease stability. They were no more dangerous than any other car back then.
Excuse me but of course they were more dangerous. As you concede in your post (and the tyre pressures confirm), they were fundamentally unbalanced and therefore inherently more dangerous.

Which was then presented and sold to the general public by the world’s biggest corporation as a ‘general good’ family car, often as first-car. In other words, aimed to both the great unwashed and the inexperienced.

To whit: an under-engineered, fundamentally unbalanced, inherently more dangerous, compromised design.

Just one look at those previously posted swing-axle Triumph photos speaks for itself. And if not..
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Saw a 1987 Porsche 911 "Widowmaker" Turbo sell on Mecum last week.
I hope the buyer knew what they were getting into.
Maybe it'll just sit safe n sound in a nice big climate-controlled storage building...
If irrc didn’t those things have a fearsome ‘accident percentage rate’ and often became virtually uninsurable?
 

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Excuse me but of course they were more dangerous. As you concede in your post (and the tyre pressures confirm), they were fundamentally unbalanced and therefore inherently more dangerous.

Which was then presented and sold to the general public by the world’s biggest corporation as a ‘general good’ family car, often as first-car. In other words, aimed to both the great unwashed and the inexperienced.

To whit: an under-engineered, fundamentally unbalanced, inherently more dangerous, compromised design.

Just one look at those previously posted swing-axle Triumph photos speaks for itself. And if not..
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Photos of tires displaying excessive camber don't mean the car was dangerous. The video of that yellow one showed the driver repeatedly trying to make it lose control....and it never did. I am thinking that last photo was doctored by someone, if the left front corner is in full compression, the left rear corner would be compressed as well, but it looks as though it is extended. Not gonna argue with ya, but it really was no more dangerous than its contemporaries. The NHTSA disproved Nader's claims.

Will the Corvair kill you? - Hagerty

Federal study refutes Nader's Corvair charges, July 20, 1972

The problem was the general public didn't adhere to the recommended tire pressures and drivers were not used to the rear weight bias and pendulum effect of the rear engine. Crash statistics from that era reveal that it had a comparable rollover rate as other "compact" cars of the time. No car back then was "safe", at least as we think of it. The lens of history is giving a distorted view of the Corvair's faults, Porsche has no trouble selling a rear engine car these days, and the second generation of Corvair had 90% of the flaws fixed - the handling was definitely fixed considering they raced it successfully.
 

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Interestingly - the car in the foreground was the proposed 'Pontiac Pegasus' variant of the Corvair.
It was going to be called Polaris. The Pegasus was a design concept based off the then new 1970 Firebird.
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