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How to Distinguish a Corvair Corsa From a Corvair Monza

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Perrya knows a fair amount about the Corvair, America's aluminum-engine classic car.

1965 Corvair Monza

1965 Corvair Monza

1966 Corvair Corsa

1966 Corvair Corsa

Don't Fall for the Deception

For many new owners of a recently purchased Corvair (of which there are probably still over 50,000 in operation today), they are angry when they find out, albeit too late, that their $12,000 Corsa is really just a Monza, which sells for $2,000–$4,000 less in the same condition.

Buyers of any Corvair built from 1960–69, should know how to decipher the VIN number, usually found fastened to the body frame near the battery. It provides a wealth of info.

How to Decipher Your Corsa's VIN for Model Years 1960–1964

Digit PositionMeaningTranslation

1

Year

0=1960, 1=1961, 2=1962, 3=1963, 4=1964

2–3

Trim

05=500, 07=700, 09=900, 06=Spyder

4–5

Model

27=Coupe, 35=Station Wagon, 67=Convertible, 69=Sedan

6

Plant

W=Willow Run; K=Kansas City, MO; O=Oakland, CA; L=Los Angeles, CA

7–12

Sequential Production Number

How to Decipher Your Corsa's VIN for Model Years 1965–1969

Digit PositionMeaningTranslation

1

Make

1=Chevrolet

2–3

Trim

01=500, 05=Monza, 07=Corsa

4–5

Model

37=Coupe, 39=Sedan, 67=Convertible

6

Year

5=1965, 6=1966, 7=1967, 8=1968, 9=1969

7

Plant

W=Willow Run; K=Kansas City, MO; O=Oakland, CA; L=Los Angeles, CA

8–13

Sequential Production Number

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Read More from AxleAddict

Many collectors know the value of a Corsa model (made only in 65–66) is usually higher. For instance, in 1966, only 3,200 were made. Monza's were much more popular because they were cheaper by $500–1000. The Monza always had a two-carburetor engine (110 hp), the Corsa, a four (140 hp) or turbo (180 hp).

Some collectors want more value, so many will "convert" a Monza into a Corsa and then sell it as a Corsa! Because the body style is identical in every way but for a few emblems in different locations and the engine, newbies fall to prey to this trick. Savvy Corvair students know that the VIN will tell you the truth.

Any Corsa built in 1966 will have a VIN with an "07" in the 2nd and 3rd digits and a "6" in the 6th digit. The "07" is the code for Corsa. The # in the 6th digit spot is the year, so a 1965 Corsa has a "5", but a 1966 has a "6". If the car was originally a convertible, there will be a "67" in the 4th and 5th digits, if a 2-door coupe, it will be a "37". So, it may look like:

107676L = a 1966 Corsa Convertible built in Los Angeles, CA.

If your Corsa VIN reads, "05" in the 2nd and 3rd digits, it was originally a Monza and someone has "converted" it into a Corsa. How?

It is all cosmetic. Remove and add the appropriate emblems, change the driver's side of the dash, and interior emblems. That is it. The Corsa dash has two large ovals for a Tachometer and Speedometer plus four smaller ovals for Fuel, manifold etc. A Monza dash has only three large ovals, a Speedo, a fuel and a clock (which is usually not present).

To confuse issues, Chevy allowed buyers to have a Monza with a four-carb engine (140 hp) from 1965-69, so simply do not rely on looking at the engine! You must check the VIN!

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