Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pinky- Sue Earl's handmade Corvair Convertible

 A very special car made an appearance on our Facebook Page recently in the form of this very unique Corvair. At first glance it looks like a first generation Monza convertible, except that it's a 1960 and there weren't convertibles then, nor even Monzas until very late in the year.

Secondly, you will notice that it is pale pink, and not any shade but pearlescent pink with matching leather interior and top boot. Because this is no ordinary Corvair indeed.

These are factory photos of the legendary "Pinky", the one off 1960 Corvair convertible done by Blaine Jenkins of Chevrolet Interior Studio for Sue Earl, the wife of none other than GM Styling founder Harley Earl. And when Mrs. Earl wanted a special car, she got it- and in a grand manner. Blaine recalls submitting drawings, paint, and fabric samples for Mrs. Earl's approval.

The handmade top assembly is power with a rain sensor. Pinky is also equipped with power windows, power seats and even air conditioning. A Pink leather interior and pink carpeted trunk complete the look. Pinky was returned to Styling for periodic updates, and got a '62 nose panel and Corvair wire wheels along the way. A three speed Hydramatic experimental transmission and turbocharged engine were also fitted, as the Pinkster was a bit of a lead sled (did I mention that the windshield frame was cast bronze?)

After the Earls were done with the little car, a GM employee managed to buy it for his daughter who drove it through ten years of winters and killed it. Very sad, as Pinky deserved a more special fate. These are the only color pictures I have seen of Pink- if you have any please let me know.

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  1. This car received cosmetic upgrades during the time the Earls owned it. The front nose/cove sheet metal was replaced to make the car resemble current model Corvairs as time passed. By the time the car had changed hands several times, it was ferociously rusted out and the final owner had no clue what it really was, thus its being parted out. The transmission (a one-off Turbo-350 automatic prototype that was being considered for the production Corvairs at the time) supposedly ended up in the public sector and was sold through classified ads in The Communique (national Corvair club newsletter) according to someone who had considered buying it but was too late to nab it before someone else had already scarfed it up. The car should have been saved and restored no matter HOW bad it was. But then at that time, it was regarded by its clueless owner as simply another rusty Corvair that was good for parts.

  2. I read that the last of the 1969 Corvairs were basically handbuilt, in a separate assembly area in the factory.