Carlton Smith- Indianapolis, IN

1965 Corsa Convertible 180hp Turbo

Many of us are now owners of a Corvair because
we once owned (or always have owned) one or more of these great American cars. I am not different in that aspect as my father was a first generation Corvair owner starting in 1960 with a brand new coupe. I learned to drive in a 1963 coupe and during my junior year of high school (1971) I was given a 1965 Corsa Convertible (140hp). My highschool graduation present from my family was a brand new convertible top from J.C. Whitney which I installed by myself in my grandparents driveway. The fondest memories of my youth were in (and under) that Corsa.

In 2007 at age 53 and having just my lost my last parent, I found that I had a little extra money and wanted something to relive my youth. I had always wanted to own an old car, but had been thinking of a 1920’s or 1930’s vintage. I was talking with a mechanic friend who does a lot of antique auto work and I asked him what make would be a good daily driver in the summertime. He quickly swayed me from the earlier vintage cars and asked me “what did you drive when you were in high school”? Well it had not occurred to me until then, of course! I quickly sought out and joined the local Corvair Club here in Indianapolis. Went looking for a car which I found in August of 2008 and the new adventure began.

Since my teens I have always been interested in vintage popular dance music and mechanical musical devices from the era of the 1920s through the WW2 years. My education steered me to a career as a Industrial arts and fine arts teacher, however, I ended up in the restoration business of Theatre pipe organs, but that is another story to tell. Anyway, my being a history buff it is no surprise that I enjoy research and documentation. The older I get the more I realize the importance for this. So armed with the previous owner’s Kansas title information I went looking to see just where my Corsa had been all of its existence.

I was lucky that the state of Kansas offer’s a vehicle history search service to the public. For ten dollars I was able to obtain photo copies of every title and registration for the car right back to the dealership of origin. I have gone a bit further having this information on the history of the dealership(s) as well as some of the previous owners. I have even found a few photos along the way. In 2009 I tracked down the first owner. He is a veteran who had purchased the car just before he was shipped out to Vietnam. What an interesting fellow and it was really cool talking to him.

Since joining the Circle City Corvair Club in 2008 I have made many new friends that have become a daily part of my life.