A Corvair Powered CH750

Corvair flight engines power over 500 experimental aircraft, including Zenith CH750s. Many of those engines were built following the examples of William Wynne. I will be building a 3.0L Corvair motor and putting it in my own CH750.

General Motors built 1,786,243 Corvairs. Their engines were made of aluminum — which was a cutting-edge technology at the time. GM bought high-tech casting machines from West Germany and set them up at an engine foundry at Massena, New York. Each engine required 92 pounds of aluminum. Semi trucks carried burning hot cauldrons of molten aluminum from a nearby Reynolds plant to the foundry where engine cases and head castings were formed. GM shipped those to the Tonawanda plant in Buffalo NY where they built the engines.

Fifty odd years later I found a rusted Corvair hulk at John’s Salvage Yard south of Seguin, Texas. It was scheduled for crushing when I intervened; I had TZero (my engine’s nickname) pulled from the car for $350 bucks.

The plane I’m building, a Zenith CH750, is made almost entirely of aluminum: Sheets, angles, rivets. The parts will be either formed by myself the old-fashioned way or made by Zenith as a component kit.

Whoever drove that Corvair off the lot fifty years ago had no idea their engine would wind up in my shop as a rusted derelict. They were way too busy with their own time under the sun, their own story: Hands on the wheel, hair blowing in the wind — and smiling.  They were definitely smiling. And one day soon I will be looking down on John’s Salvage Yard from the air, wagging my wings, smiling, pulled through the air by the same engine core that pulled the original buyer down the road in their brand new, shiny Corvair.