HASTINGS, NE — It was an economy car, sports car, race car — even a van and a truck. And soon it will be the focus of a new museum in Hastings, NE.
The capital campaign is underway to build the Corvair Museum of America in this town of 25,000, home of the only working Chevrolet Corvair dealership in the country.
“We believe that this car and this moment in history deserve to be celebrated,” board member Teresa Miller said, “and we’re excited to present the Corvair Museum of America!”
A centerpiece will be the Yenko Stinger Experience, a replica of the dealership where Don Yenko created 100 COPO Stingers, Corvairs specially modified for racing. Yenko, a car dealer and racing driver, would later become famous for creating high-performance versions of the Chevy Camaro, Nova and Chevelle.
The museum will include a six-month rotating display of various Yenko cars.
Mostly, it will celebrate a special era in the American automobile industry, 1960-69, marked by one of the most groundbreaking cars ever produced, the Chevrolet Corvair.
Marketed both as an economy car and a sports car, the Corvair’s most unusual attribute was its rear-mounted, air-cooled, six-cylinder boxer engine. The unique design created more cabin space in a compact car with a nearly flat floor and lower roofline. With the introduction of the Spyder option in 1962, Corvair pioneered mass-produced turbocharging as well.
In addition to that lightweight aluminum engine, the Corvair also featured a four-wheel independent suspension and was named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1960. It was produced as a coupe, sedan, convertible and station wagon, as well as being a platform for a truck and van.
The Corvair Museum of America will highlight 11 different types of Corvairs, representing all 10 model years. In addition to the Yenko Stinger Experience, the museum will emphasize history and education with interactive, hands-on exhibits, including a racing simulator. A 200-person event room with catering kitchen, an automotive library and conference room, as well as a CorvAIR BnB and RV hookups, are also planned.
Hastings has been at the crossroads of the Corvair world since Chris and Stephanie Shade started Shade’s Classic Corvairs in 2010. Since then, hundreds of Corvairs have come through Hastings to be restored, repaired or maintained. Corvairs from Hastings have been sold to buyers all over the U.S., Canada, Europe, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand.
“We believe we have a unique vision to create an experience that celebrates the pioneering innovations represented in the Corvair,” President Chris Shade said, “but this can’t happen without your support.”
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Corvair Museum of America is seeking tax-deductible donations to make this tribute to an American original possible. Go to corvairmuseum.org to make donations, watch the video and virtual tour, and purchase merchandise.
For more information, contact Teresa Miller at (515) 520-7209 or by email at [email protected]