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The Y Body platform and the Corvair

Old May 19th, 2019, 11:52 AM
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The Y Body platform and the Corvair

I have read here and elsewhere that the Y Body platform that is the foundation of the '61-'63 F85s, Skylarks and Tempests, is somehow related to the Chevrolet Corvair platform. (Z Body I think?) If so, I can't see how that makes any sense because of the significant differences between the Corvair and the other cars. Primarily engine placement and all the associated equipment for the engine and drivetrain, but also the wheelbase. If there is a connection, what is it and are there any parts that can be used on an F85 for example that is also used on the Corvair?
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Old May 19th, 2019, 04:36 PM
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I seem to recall reading that many years ago; I suspect if true that GM used the then-New-for-them unibody construction of the Corvair as a starting point when designing the BOP compacts, perhaps since they were roughly the same size. Gotta start somewhere even if they quickly diverged for the most obvious reason of the more conventional drivetrain configuration.
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Old May 20th, 2019, 09:14 AM
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The 1960 - 1964 Chevy Corvair , 1961 -1963 Pontiac Tempest , 1961-1963 Olds F-85 & Cutlass , and 1961-1963 Buick Special & Skylark all shared the same basic
GM "Y" body .
The roofs , glass , and "greenhouse trim " was all shared across body type lines . ( 2 door , 4 door , etc . )
Many inner body panels were also shared .
Pull a Corvair up next to an early F-85 and you will see the similarity .
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Old May 20th, 2019, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlie Jones View Post
The 1960 - 1964 Chevy Corvair , 1961 -1963 Pontiac Tempest , 1961-1963 Olds F-85 & Cutlass , and 1961-1963 Buick Special & Skylark all shared the same basic
GM "Y" body .
The roofs , glass , and "greenhouse trim " was all shared across body type lines . ( 2 door , 4 door , etc . )
Many inner body panels were also shared .
Pull a Corvair up next to an early F-85 and you will see the similarity .
I have heard that, but I don't buy it. Here are pictures of only '61 Corvairs and '61 F85s. I did the front and then the backs of the 4 door, the coupe and the wagon. I see similarities, but when you look close, I see no interchangeable glass, or sheetmetal. Both cars are unique to their type. The wagons are really close, but still, there is no parts swapping to be had.




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Old May 21st, 2019, 12:35 AM
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The '66--70 Toronado, '67-70 Eldorado are both "E" bodies. Both FWD via torsion bar, rear suspension via leafs The Caddy has some extra length and a bit more wheelbase.

The '66--70 Buick Riviera is RWD, front and rear coil springs. ALSO an "E" body.

GM can make a lot of changes and still "share" a body shell.
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Old May 21st, 2019, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Schurkey View Post
The '66--70 Toronado, '67-70 Eldorado are both "E" bodies. Both FWD via torsion bar, rear suspension via leafs The Caddy has some extra length and a bit more wheelbase.

The '66--70 Buick Riviera is RWD, front and rear coil springs. ALSO an "E" body.

GM can make a lot of changes and still "share" a body shell.
Interesting. Are there any common parts between the Riviera of the period and the Toronado/El Dorado of the period?
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Old May 21st, 2019, 12:00 PM
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I have done a bunch more research about this relationship between the Y body platform and the Z body platform of the Corvair and have come to the conclusion that there is no commonality, or relationship other than both being GM products of the same era. I think the confusion may stem from a goofy Wikipedia entry on the Y Body-

The rear-engined 1960-69 Chevrolet CorvairZ-body up to 1964 used a variation of the rear swing-axle suspension and a transaxle similar to that found on the 1961-63 Pontiac Tempest. The 1961-62 Corvair station wagons even shared the same roofline as the 1961-63 Y-body wagons.
Yes, the Corvair and the Tempest both had rear transaxles, but that is the end of the similarity. They are not the same and share no common parts other than apparently the wheel bearings. Fitting a Tempest transaxle would be a desirable thing to do as the Pontiac rear end is a lot stronger, but the Tempest transaxle is much bigger and would require major modifications to do so along with custom parts fabrication. The word is, it's near impossible and not worth it.

The the Corvair wagon and the Y Body wagons do share a similar roof line, but that's it as far as I can tell. Most wagons of the era share this roof line, so I'm not sure why this line is even in the Wiki entry. It really seems the Wiki author is really trying to make a connection where there is none.
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Old May 21st, 2019, 05:14 PM
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AteUpWithMotor is a FANTASTIC resource of automotive history. I've spent hours over there looking at histories of brands and models of various cars.

https://ateupwithmotor.com/model-his...s-442-history/
In response to the recession, General Motors decided to invest heavily in compact cars. The first would be the Chevrolet Corvair, followed a year later by a line of “Senior Compacts” from Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick. All would share a new unitized body shell, known internally as the Y-body, and a new 215 cu. in. (3,528 cc) aluminum V8, co-developed by Buick and Oldsmobile.
https://ateupwithmotor.com/model-his...00-v6-history/
In a move reminiscent of Alfred P. Sloan’s ill-fated “companion make” program of the late twenties, GM management decided in 1957 that Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick should each have their own compact sedan. The three cars were jointly developed — still very unusual for GM in that era, when each division generally handled its own engineering and manufacturing — and shared a stretched version of the new unitized Y-body shell used by the Corvair. When the new cars debuted in late 1960 for the 1961 model year, they were swiftly nicknamed “Senior Compacts.”
https://ateupwithmotor.com/model-histories/pontiac-gto/
one of the Knudsen-Estes-DeLorean team’s most interesting technological achievements was the Tempest, Pontiac’s Y-body “senior compact,” introduced along with its Buick Special and Oldsmobile F-85 cousins in 1961.

If the corporation had had its way, the Tempest would have been a re-skinned, re-trimmed version of Chevrolet’s rear-engine Corvair,
There's also a page devoted to the SIGNIFICANT differences between the Corvair and Tempest transaxle power-flow. The short story is that the Corvair transaxle is driven from the rear (rear engine) while the Tempest transaxle is driven from the front (front engine).

https://ateupwithmotor.com/terms-tec...tory-part-2/6/
The so-called “senior compacts” — the Buick Special/Skylark, Oldsmobile F-85/Cutlass, and Pontiac Tempest/Le Mans — did share the same unitized Y-body shell (an enlarged version of the Corvair body) and various minor components, but there were significant differences in their mechanical layouts and powertrains, including three completely different automatic transmissions.
As in the Corvair Powerglide, TempesTorque’s torque converter was at the back of the transaxle. Since the Tempest had a front-mounted engine, TempesTorque used the Corvair transmission’s front oil pump driveshaft as an input shaft, driving the torque converter impeller through the torus cover. That input shaft was also splined to the hub of the direct drive clutch, just like in a conventional RWD Powerglide. In high, input torque was therefore split approximately 45/55 between the front sun gear, which was driven by input shaft through the direct drive clutch, and the rear sun gear, which was driven by the torque converter. As with Hydra-Matic, this “split torque” layout served to reduce slippage at cruising speed in high gear.
A similar website " CurbsideClassics.com " tells a similar tale

http://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbs...led-ambitions/
GM’s 1961 compacts were a fascinating trio: the Pontiac Tempest , the Buick Special and the F-85. They shared their basic Y-Body unibody shell with the Corvair, although it was of course reworked for the conventional front-engine rear-wheel drive configuration, and their wheelbase was extended 4″ (from 108″ to 112″) at the front. But they retained the Corvair’s basic passenger compartment intact: stepping from a Corvair into Cutlass or Tempest brings that fact home. In automotive history, that makes them quite unique indeed: the same basic car built in both rear and front engine variations.
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Old May 21st, 2019, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Daiv8or View Post
Interesting. Are there any common parts between the Riviera of the period and the Toronado/El Dorado of the period?
No body parts or interior pieces that I'm aware of.
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