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Drove my 58 year old Corvair Greenbrier from Virginia to Michigan!


63RedBrier
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I have never been to the Detroit Homecoming but always wanted to go. It conflicted with the start of the school year, and since my son is now working (as an apprentice mechanic) and my daughter just began her senior year of high school, it was time! I left Virginia driving north to Frederick MD then west to Hancock, then north again to Breezewood PA, to get on Route 30, the Lincoln Highway. I had just finished reading Tom Cotter's book on traveling across the USA in a modified Model T from Manhattan to San Francisco so I wanted to mirror some of their trip. I passed by the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville PA, but had been before so didn't stop this time. I was on my way to overnight with some Corvair friends (Bill & Audrey) in Aliquippa PA. In Latrobe PA I skirted around Pittsburgh to the north and took the Orange Belt, but mostly the Red Belt. Drove thru rain so hard I'm surprised there is any paint left on the RedBrier! Dinner was take out on my host's front patio. I picked up some Corvair parts from them too! The next day I took I79 north to the PA and OH Turnpikes west. As I was fueling up at a rest area, I noticed a '64 Monza sedan (with factory A/C!) fueling up next to me. The owner, Kyle, had picked the car up in New Jersey not too long ago and was waiting for a few others from his Ohio club to join him. I asked if I could tag along with their group and was welcomed (photo-Rest Stop Corvairs). From here we caravanned to Ann Arbor. For lunch I drove the RedBrier over to the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum which formerly housed the Corvair Museum, now mostly Hudsons. I enjoyed some BBQ for lunch then spent an hour or two looking at the cars and displays. The museum still housed at least a half dozen Corvairs, including the oldest known Corvair, a black sedan with horn slots! The next day a Corvair friend from Durango CO (Tim) drove us and two others from Oregon (Duane & Steve) in his Volvo SUV to the GM Heritage Museum. The EM Super Spyder seemed huge parked next to the LM Monza GT. The cost was $10 but well worth it. The museum is only opened by invitation, so someone must have pulled some strings to get us invited. The next day while chatting with a group of Corvair folks in the parking lot, the rally came up in conversation, who was riding with whom, etc., and while I typically go on the rally, my navigator (Curtis from Silver City NM) couldn't make it at the last minute due to a knee injury. A young woman (Raven) volunteered to be my navigator, so I was in! Raven brought along her friend Skylar (photo-Raven & Skylar). We didn't win, but Raven's husband and Skylar's boyfriend (who followed us most of the way!) did! There were at least 56 Corvairs at the Homecoming last time I counted including NINE Forward Controls/Corvair trucks (photo). There was a People's Choice car show where everyone voted for their top 10 favorite Corvairs. The top 25 will appear in the 2022 Homecoming calendar (you can order one from the Detroit Area Corvair Club to see if I was in the top 25!). I only ate one meal away from the hotel. DACC member Ken is renowned for stocking the hospitality suite with more food than we could all eat! There was also plenty of indoor and outdoor vendors, an auction, and wine tasting (for an extra $10!). I left about 8am Sunday morning and planned to drive all the way home to Virginia. About an hour into my journey another Corvair friend from Cincinnati (Jeff) who was driving his '66 Aztec Bronze Monza coupe, took my photo as I was passing him! I'm guessing I was probably going about 60-65, so the photo came out great considering Jeff was driving/aiming/steadying at almost the same speed. It took almost exactly 12 hours to get home with rest/food/fuel stops. I did have a couple of easily repairable issues during the trip. I arose early Saturday morning while it was still dark, took out the cushions and drawers from the camper kit to dig down to the engine compartment to address an oil leak. First I was shocked to see the nut and lock washer from the alternator was GONE! I found them down in no man's land, reinstalled and slightly tightened the fan belt. Second, I changed the oil and filter right before I left Virginia, but I was hesitant to use the new bolt gasket since the hole in the center was too big, so I reused the old oil filter bolt gasket. My mistake... Overall I used (more likely leaked) one quart of oil in my 1,400 mile journey.  Burned 63 gallons of premium fuel, paying a high of $4.10/gal in Michigan and a low of $3.45/gal closest to home. Finally, as I was crossing into Ohio on my way there, the noisy speedometer cable finally gave up the ghost. I ordered and have a new one ready to install. Moral of the story? Don't be afraid to drive your old car or Corvair(!) on a long trip! I can almost guarantee that any problems which may develop you will be able to address in a few minutes with a few basic hand tools and some spare parts!  Be and drive safe...  Greg

Rest Stop Corvairs.jpg

Raven & Skylar.jpg

9 FC's at Detroit Homecoming.jpg

RedBrier at speed.jpg

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I drove my 62 F85 2,600 miles through ten states in nine days for Hot Rod Power Tour. I don't understand people who are scared to drive their car 25 miles to a car show and back. Of course, the one repair part I did need (u-joints) was the one I didn't have with me and couldn't easily find in Sparta, KY. AutoZone amazingly had two the next morning.

 

 

U joints Sparta KY Wed1.jpg

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