Matt Brizendine

   
                                             1966 Corsa Coupe racing modification
 
Cruising in a ’66 Corvair Corsa
  
By Big Dan Pfeiffer
The Southsider Voice
March 2 , 2011
    
As a freshman at Roncalli High School in the spring of 2001, Matt Brizendine was about to get his learner’s permit and was ready for his first car.
 
He wanted something cool and enjoyable to work on. The plan was to have it fully restored and on the road by the time he got his driver’s license the following year.
 
His father, Dan, had several Corvairs over the years, including a 1964 Corvair Monza Coupe that he had driven for 20 years, also which Matt’s sister and two brothers learned to drive in.
 
Dan also has a 1964 Corvair Greenbrier eight-door van that was often loaded up with the family for trips. Matt also knew that dad had acquired a lot of Corvair parts!
 
Matt decided on this 1966 Corvair Corsa, which had belonged to Bill Oates of Mooresville for about 20 years. Bill is a long-time friend and fellow Circle City Corvair club member of Matt’s dad and was glad to see it go to someone who was going to restore the car and put it back on the road. Matt handed over $1,900 for the then – Aztec Bronze Corvair, which was fairly straight and un-damaged, complete and solid with only minor rust, but in need of a little TLC.
 
Matt removed the original 4-carburetor, 140-horsepower high-performance 4-speed trans-axle and, with help from dad, did a complete rebuild, which included rebuilding each of the four one-barrel carburetors that were original equipment on the car. He built a custom dual exhaust system from scratch to give a good running sound to the engine.
 
With the engine purring smoothly, the father-son team turned their sights to the body, which was in overall good condition.
 
Then with body work complete, it was time to choose a color. Matt’s first choice was a metallic red, but as any car nut knows, red paint can be expensive, and this project was being funded by a teenager with a part-time job! The decision was made to go with a 1999 Lexus green, which is similar to an original GM color in 1966.
 
After seeing them in the ads of Rod & Custom magazine, Astro Supreme chrome wheels were selected to set off the exterior appearance and a nice Pioneer CD player was installed for tunes while cruising.
 
 
The car was ready for the road in the spring of 2002 just in time for his driver’s license.
 
Matt drove the four-speed Corsa year-round through the remainder of high school, and with the weight of the engine in the rear above the drive wheels, Corvairs were excellent in the snow.
 
After graduation from Roncalli, he bought a 1983 Grand Prix for a daily driver from older brother Ryan and retired the Corsa to fair-weather driving only. Since then, Matt has crafted some custom additions to his prized Corvair, being home-made engine air cleaners, a center console with cup-holders, new seat upholstery sets, and a hand-built a custom steering wheel from scrap aluminum, polished then wrapped  in leather!
 
 
He recently drove the Corvair on a 1,000 mile round-trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the Corvair Society of America’s 2010 summer convention last June.
 
40,000 miles have been put on the car since its restoration and 15-year-old nephew Cody Russell, has been promised a chance to drive it when he gets his learner’s permit!
 
Matt has taken Cody and others for many cruises over the last several years. Who knows, maybe Cody will become a Corvair fan and Grandpa Dan will help him build one, too!