David Stevens of Cobble Hill, BC (Vancouver Island), recently asked fellow Western Canada CORSA member Kent Sullivan, "Do you have any figures or know who would be the most likely to have info on how to estimate the number of 1962 Spyder convertibles exported to Canada?" Kent immediately thought to ask me since he and I share a passion for Canadian Corvairs. After a few days of pondering my files, I've come up with some conclusions about 1962 and 1963 Spyders built and sold in Canada, and have added the 1964 figures for comparison.
First you have to remember that in both the US and Canada, the Spyder was not a "model" until 1964. In 1962 and 1963, a Monza coupe or convertible became a "Spyder" when the Spyder option was ordered. In the U.S. for 1962, 6,894 Monza coupes and 2,574 Monza convertibles were equipped with RPO (Regular Production Option) 690, the Spyder package. For 1963, Chevy's option numbering system was changed, so that RPO 690 became L87, and was ordered on 11,627 Monza coupes and 7,472 convertibles built in the US.
1962 Model Year
In Canada, neither convertibles nor the Spyder option were built during the 1962 model year. Because of this, Spyder coupes & convertibles and regular Monza convertibles had to be imported from the U.S. A total of 256 Corvairs were imported into Canada in 1962: 35 Monza coupes and 221 Monza convertibles.
Of the 35 coupes, one was imported in November 1961 and 34 were imported beginning in April of 1962. Since U.S. Spyder production began in April, it would be safe to say that most, if not all, of the 34 imported coupes had the Spyder option, because non-Spyder Monza coupes were produced in Canada during the entire model year. Although I know their serial numbers and what color they were inside and out, there's no record of what other options, including the Spyder package, that these cars had. It's possible that a few were imported as Monza coupes with air conditioning, an option that was never produced in Canada. Sometimes A/C was a reason to import a Corvair.
U.S. convertible production also began in April, so the first of the 221 convertibles was imported into Canada on April 24. Again, there's no record of how many of these had the Spyder option. Probably the majority did not. Whether Spyders or Monzas, though, they were all exactly the same cars as those sold in the States.
1963 Model Year
For 1963, GM Canada began producing the Spyder option on a very limited basis, as CSL 26F. CSL stands for Canadian Special Listing: their equivalent of the U.S. COPO (Central Office Production Option).
There were 204 1963 Monza Spyder (CSL 26F) coupes built, included in a total of 2,818 Monza coupes built that year in Canada. No Corvair coupes of any kind were imported from the U.S. by GM Canada in 1963.
A mere 76 1963 Spyder option convertibles were built in Canada, out of a total of 693 Canadian Monza convertibles. However, convertible production didn't start in Canada until December 21, 1962. So, 35 1963 convertibles were imported from the U.S. before that date. There is, again, no record of how many of these were Spyders or regular Monza convertibles. They were the only 1963 Corvair cars imported into Canada, and were of course identical to cars sold in the U.S.
The rare bird (or insect, in this case!) is the 1963 Canadian Spyder convertible. If you have one, it's one of 76 and a prize that should be restored or preserved if at all possible!
1964 Model Year
In 1964, the Spyder became the 600 series with 6,480 coupes (model 627) built in the U.S. along with 4,761 (model 667) convertibles. In Canada, 502 1964 Spyder coupes and 154 convertibles were built. Again, very small numbers, indeed!