A VERY SPECIAL CORVAIR ENGINE - From Howard & Emily Seymour

Emily & I took part in the 9th Annual “Happy Days” VCCA tour in May 2017. While there we took in the Pierce Arrow museum. Hidden behind the 1931 Pierce Tow Truck I saw a Corvair engine behind a rope. I asked the tour guide if I could get a closer look to take pictures and he pulled down the rope. First thing I saw was a nice looking 140 Corsa engine on an engine stand, then surprise, a Corvair engine that was used by our military in cold weather areas. Below is the description of the engine.

This very special Corvair engine, as all Corvair engines, was built at the Tonawanda Chevrolet Engine Plant. It included many special features, the most obvious being the Aircraft ignition system and the 24 volt generator. Less obvious is special air shrouding and exhaust manifolds exiting through the air shrouds in the opposite direction of a car or truck Corvair engine.

The vehicle shown in the picture that used this type of Corvair engine was known as a Dynatrack by the U.S. military and as a Canadair by the Canadian military. It was designed especially to operate in the far north on snow for primarily servicing the Radar equipment located in that region as part of the NORAD Early Warning system. The vehicles were also slated for service as troop and supply carriers if the need to defend Alaska or Northern Canada was ever necessary. The Corvair engine was chosen for its light weight and excellent horse power to weight ratio, not to mention its air cooled design removed the worry of freeze ups in the extremely cold climate it was expected to operate in. Early vehicle testing with small aircraft engines showed the Corvair to have a much wider power band (operating RPM range), easier starting and much better low speed reliability while costing far less ! Besides all Corvair engines being produced in the Tonawanda engine plant (near Buffalo) they were also were the sole producer of all the differentials and early manual transmissions.   I tried to get a good picture of the serial number, but only succeeded to get a partial number. If you google the Dynatrack, I only found pictures of a Corvair tank, not the one in this picture.