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How the Chevy Corvair became the most controversial car in the US

Autocar Logo By Ronan Glon of Autocar | Slide 1 of 22: When it launched the Corvair project, it wanted to create an entry-level model that rolled value, practicality and performance into a package that looked like nothing else on the road. It was Chevrolet’s first rear-engined car, though many believed it wouldn’t be its last, and it received an air-cooled flat-six engine that no other mass-produced American car could brag about. The Corvair bridged the automotive gap between Europe and the United States.Ralph Nader’s 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed torpedoed the Corvair and demonized nearly everyone involved in its development. It irreparably damaged the car’s reputation and sales never recovered. Nonetheless, nearly 1.8 million Corvairs were produced. Was it unsafe or misunderstood? As the Corvair turns 60 years old in 2019, let's take a look at the car and the real story:

Chevrolet didn’t set out to design the most controversial American car ever.

When it launched the Corvair project, it wanted to create an entry-level model that rolled value, practicality and performance into a package that looked like nothing else on the road. It was Chevrolet’s first rear-engined car, though many believed it wouldn’t be its last, and it received an air-cooled flat-six engine that no other mass-produced American car could brag about. The Corvair bridged the automotive gap between Europe and the United States.

Ralph Nader’s 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed torpedoed the Corvair and demonized nearly everyone involved in its development. It irreparably damaged the car’s reputation and sales never recovered. Nonetheless, nearly 1.8 million Corvairs were produced. Was it unsafe or misunderstood? As the Corvair turns 60 years old in 2019, let's take a look at the car and the real story:

© Chevrolet

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