Our 25th Anniversary Newsletter, March 1999. 

Updated 181-Jan-2014 ==== Copyright (c) 2014 Corvairs of New Mexico   


The First Twenty-five Years ......... Jim Pittman
Best Way to Make friends .......... Paul Campbell
CNM Highs and Lows .................. Ilva Walker
What CNM Means to Me .............. Ruth Boydston
Still Fulla Gas ...................... Del Patten
My First Corvair .............. Mary Lou Martinek
My Life with CNM ................. Chuck Vertrees
Our First Five CNM Years .... Elizabeth Domzalski
Joining CNM .......................... Del Patten
Tri-State Meets ................... Steve Gongora
My Corvair History ................. Dennis Pleau
CNM Garage Tours ...................... Joel Nash
Twenty-five Years of CNM Laughter ... Jerry Goffe
Three Cheers for CNM ................ Bill Reider
What is CNM? ...................... Heula Pittman


Jim Pittman

It's not just every day that you have an anniversary, so every year in March we
Corvairs of New Mexico folks take note of the passing of time, think about where
we came from and where we are going. It's not just every year that we have a
twenty-fifth anniversary, but we are having one this year, and we are
commemorating it with a birthday party and a special issue of
Enchanted Corvairs Newsletter.

We had a special issue of the Newsletter in March 1989 to celebrate our
fifteenth anniversary. The plan for that issue was to reprint classic articles
from past Newsletters. (If you don't have a copy of the March 1989 special
issue, ask me and I'll run off a copy for you.) This time we are doing something
a little different: we have asked our members to write articles for an expanded
anniversary issue on such topics as, How did CNM get started? and, How did I
find out about CNM? and, How did I get started with Corvairs? and, What does CNM
mean to me? We have some great articles on these pages and I'm sure you will
enjoy them.

For details on how the Club got started, refer to the special March 1989 issue.
For now, I'll just note that the first unofficial gathering of Corvair fans was
at Carl Johnson's house on Griegos NW on Sunday, March 17th, 1974. This is why
we celebrate our anniversaries in March. The actual start of the Club was at
Pete Colburn's parents' house on April 10th, 1974. The people at this meeting
were Francis Boydston, Pete Colburn, Rick Grable, Dale Housley, Carl Johnson,
Mark Morgan, Jim Pittman and Duncan Puett. Mark Morgan became our first
president and in December 1974 he mailed out a "Christmas present" -- the
January 1975 issue of the Corvairs of New Mexico Newsletter.

So here we are, twenty-five years later, with as happy and as healthy a car club
as anyone could want. We have done a lot of great things over the years, and
we'll do more in the future. It is clear that some of us will be enjoying our
Corvairs as real "daily drivers" for several more years, some of us will enjoy
having them to drive to Club events and other special occasions, and some of us
will take 'em apart, lovingly reassemble them, and keep them in the garage as
special collector cars for years to come.

So I'd like to say, thanks to all of the members of Corvairs of New Mexico who
have been like a big, helpful family to me all these years, and an especially
big thanks to those who took the time to write articles for this anniversary
issue. Now, relax and enjoy the articles! -- Jim


Bill Reider

Having been a member of this Club for the past twenty-four-and-a-half years I'd
like to make a few comments about the Club that we all belong to. I don't know
of any other club in New Mexico that works together so well and doesn't have
anyone who tries to take all the credit for anything that we do. It's been a
real pleasure to work on many of the events that we have. People work together
to get the job done, and if things don't happen to work out right, no one starts
blaming one another. I've been in other clubs and organizations where you get a
few people who want to run everything their way and then if things don't go
right they blame everyone but themselves.

We have had a great Club for the past twenty-five years and I hope it keeps
going as well for the next twenty-five. We have a unique automobile that brought
us all together and it seems to have attracted some very interesting and
talented people. I think we can all congratulate ourselves for belonging to such
a great Club.

Three Cheers for CNM. -- Bill


Chuck Vertrees

Back in the late '70s, I bought a Corvair Rampside pickup from Nick and Jackie
Alexandrow. He was in the service and she was a Pharmacist that I worked with.
They were being transferred to Washington and had more cars than they could
move. I think that Nick had been to one or two CNM meetings; at least he knew
about the Club.

A young man who was going to school with my youngest son either was a CNM
member or someone in his family was a member. I don't remember his name and
neither does my son. Anyway, he asked my son Joe if he could borrow the
Rampside to enter in the State Fair Car Show with CNM. I said yes, so he and
Joe polished it all up and took it to the Fair. So, the Rampside won the first
place trophy for Forward Control vehicles. This was in 1978.

I found out about CNM from that. Previously we had owned two Corvairs, a 1962
Greenbrier as a new vehicle and a 1963 Coupe, which we bought used. We enjoyed
the Greenbrier but traded it off on a 1967 10-passenger station wagon with a
big engine so we could tow a trailer. The coupe got totaled when a VW bus ran a
stop light and broadsided my oldest son.

The first meeting I attended was in the basement of the Used Car lot office at
Ed Black's. Sylvan Zuercher immediately approached me about joining and I did.
I remember there was discussion on several coming events that CNM was planning,
and I thought this must be a pretty active outfit.

Since then I have seen nothing that would cause me to change my mind. CNM has
always been involved in doing something for the members to participate in. It
has always seemed that there have been many members involved in planning the
activities, instead of, as in some clubs, depending on a few to carry the club.
This to me has ensured my continued participation in CNM even when I did not
have a running Corvair.

To Julia and me, CNM as been like an extended family: many friends who are
enjoyable to visit with about anything, whether it has to do with cars or not.
CNM plays a large part in our social life, and I hope it will continue to do so
for a long time. -- Chuck


Del Patten

So you thought you were done with me and only had to listen to the ramblings of
our beloved current president, Dennis, now... wrong, moose breath! I'm still
here and sometimes I even wake up long enough to come to meetings, although I
will admit it is tough for us old civil serpents to do that on any regular
basis. But since I was awake anyway, I thought I'd bore you with more tidbits
of mechanical knowledge from the only two-time winner (for the same dumb
mistake!) of the Dummy of the Month Club.

As you may remember (surely some of you remember something; you're not that
old!) back when Bill closed up his shop, I bought the old Greenbrier that sat
up against the fence full of valuable parts. (Bill didn't sell OR give me the
parts... at least not the valuable ones!) Over the years and several moves, I
have been trying to make it road worthy, with varying amounts of success.

Well, with the unflagging support and help of Bill, Dennis and Mark and even
John and Wendy (or is that Windy?) a time or two, the old beast could actually
make a short trip without fear of self-destruction. But there was at least one
interesting lesson to share with you folks. It seems that during Bill's
ownership, the powerglide tranny was switched in favor of a 4 speed tranny.
Well, it wouldn't have been my choice, but Bill's knees are in better shape
than mine are.

Nevertheless, that simple change caused two of my helpers to scratch their
heads when the key appeared to have no effect at all on the starter.

Bill, being the first of the victims, took the expedient solution and jumped it
at the plug in the back and we went on our way. Some time later, Dennis and I
were fixing something and we had the same problem. (It happens that way when
you lose the wire Bill had so cleverly left there for the purpose of future

Anyway, I mentioned a strange electrical plug I had noticed behind the dash
that had no apparent purpose in life. It occurred to us after one (or more)
beers (have you guessed it yet? No, not what kind of beer!), the mystery plug
might just be (last chance!) for the neutral safety switch plug left over from
the powerglide! And sure enough, when we jumped that little plug with, of
course, the proper connections and the right gage wire (well, we did it
eventually, Wendell!), the rebuilt starter that still didn't work (does that
qualify me for a third award, Sylvan?) suddenly cranked the engine right over!

Well, I probably would have rebuilt the starter anyway being a great believer
in preventative maintenance (yeah, right!). But let us all remember that Ed
Cole, in his infinite wisdom, has left us a true marvel of engineering and
sometimes we just need to read the instructions to discover a solution!

One final lesson that came from this experience... ALWAYS check the spot the
missing part goes before you declare the part missing! Mark found my missing
starter right where it was supposed to be... in the starter hole!

Now surely that makes me a three-time winner! When do I pick up my award?!

Harmoniously Yours, -- Del


Del Patten

I can thank several people for causing me to join CNM. I suppose my old boss
might get some credit for taking me down the hall to meet Jack Bryan when I
first got to New Mexico. Jack and his wife, Sharon, are still CNM members and
we last saw them in 1996 when they came to the convention. Jack took me to meet
Bill and Sylvan when they still had the shop on Trumble. I spent a lot of hours
there after work and on Saturdays trying to absorb the Corvair care lessons
they offered up so freely.

I don't remember how I met Francis or Steve or so many of the other old timers
but it is clearly their friendship and support that has kept me in the Club
over the many years I have been a member! I don't know how it is in other clubs
of this type but there has never been any lack of help when I broke something.
Why, just the other day twelve or twenty stalwart helpers showed up at my house
to take the powertrain out of the van! And such help they were too! I will
never figure out how I have done that before all by myself!

And then there's Wendell Walker and Chuck Vertrees... they have had those jobs
as Treasurer and Secretary so long that we would be hard pressed to find enough
thanks for the jobs well done. And of course I owe Wendy tons of thanks for
helping me through the painting process on the coupe! It may be a while before
it gets all back together, but it will!

So thanks to all the CNM members from A to Z for keeping this club thriving and
interesting and of service to everyone from both Kim and me. -- Del


Dennis Pleau

Back in 1969 when I was 15 my father started looking for a car for my brother
(17) and me. He talked to two brothers who lived across the street who were
into sports cars and rallying, Morley, who owned a first year Jaguar XK-E and
his brother Warren, who owned an MG-B. They suggested either a Volvo 144 or a

Shortly thereafter, we located a 1963 Monza sedan with an automatic and
purchased it for $300. Shortly after that I pulled the engine, put in a set of
rings and bearings. I hand-lapped the valves. I put everything back together,
reinstalled it and it ran. I did have the use of a 1960/61 shop manual and just
followed it.

My brother never really liked the car but he had his license and he drove both
of us back and forth to school for a while. On my 16th birthday, I took my
driver's test in the Corvair and passed. The next day I started working in a
service station in Sacramento (15 miles away) and the car basically became
mine. One day some hippies who had hitchhiked from Florida to Sacramento
offered me $750 for the car so they could drive it back and we sold it to them.

We promptly found another 1963 Monza coupe, 102 hp and 4 speed, for $300. This
one had a lot of blow-by, so out came the engine and we did another
ring/bearing/lap-the-valves job. I put a glass pack muffler on it. I remember
this as a great car. I could/would take it anywhere and drove it real hard.

The thing I remember about it the most was the number of fan belts I broke. Not
knowing any better, I was always sure the last belt had come off because it
wasn't tight enough, so I would try to put the next one on tighter and of
course it would just fail that much sooner. I tightened one down so tight that
it broke the generator off its mounts.

In the meantime my brother had gotten married and bought a new 1970 Ford
Maverick. He had joined the Carpenters union as a apprentice and they promptly
went on strike. Since he was new he didn't get any benefits, so I took over
payments and got the Maverick. By this time I was working in the same service
station as a mechanic so I could afford it.

The Corvair became my "fun" car and the Maverick became my "main
transportation" after that. I drove the Maverick during the week and back and
forth to work and the Corvair on dates and on weekends. When I went away to
college, I took the Maverick. One thing I have to note here, I drove the
Maverick until the late 70's and put 205,000 miles on it. I had to replace the
bell housing when a starter drive exploded and the head at about 180,000 miles.
It was a great car, just like my Corvairs.

In 1975, I moved to Montrose, Colorado and took the Maverick. My father
transferred to a job in Sacramento and started driving the Corvair as his
commuter car (remember the Arab oil embargo and gas prices). One day he called
and asked me what I wanted to do with the car. He could sell it or I could find
out how to get it to Colorado. I told him to sell it. I didn't own another
Corvair until about 1985.

I bounced around from working as a mechanic or a landscaper and spent all the
time I could get off from work as a ski bum at Lake Tahoe. In the late 70's I
ruined my back and went back to school, learned electronics and went to work
for Intel in 1983.

I decided I needed a hobby a few years later and bought another '63 Monza 102/4
for about $300. Shortly after I bought this car I learned of Valley CORSA and
national CORSA and joined both. This time I did a complete rebuild. Overbore,
new pistons, reground crank, reground cam, new lifters, three-angle valve job,
etc... I also competently stripped the car down to bare metal and painted it

In the meantime I bought the yellow '65 coupe I drive today. It was an older
restoration but was a very good restoration at that time. If you look closely
you will notice a lot of '66 parts on it. Since I bought it, I have driven it
60,000 miles. After the first 20,000 miles I did a total rebuild of the engine.
For the last few years it has been my only source of transportation. Since I
have owned the car, the transmission was replaced with a used unit from Bill
Reider and Steve Gongora made me an outstanding set of cloth seat covers
roughly based on the '66 seat covers which were on the car when I got it.
While the car will get the clutch replaced, hopefully before you read this,
it has been a very reliable car and other than the clutch needs nothing that
I know of.

In 1990 when Debbie and I decided to get married and I applied and was granted
a transfer to Intel's Rio Rancho Plant, we came out to New Mexico, bought a
house with a 90-day close and went back to California. When we came back to
close on the house at the end of March we now had a house with nothing in it.
We went to Price Club to buy a couple of cheap chairs to sit in before we went
to sleep on the floor of our new house and we parked next to the Blue Crud,
also known as Sylvan's car. We came out of the store at the same time as
Sylvan, met him, and found out about CNM, and the rest is history.

My main Corvair project currently is to complete the '64 Greenbrier. Because
of family and work concerns the going has been real slow, but some day soon it
will be completed.

Keep driving those 'Vairs, -- Dennis


Elizabeth & Mark Domzalski

It's amazing to us that we have lived in New Mexico for over five years now.
The first organization that Mark joined after starting work here was Corvairs
of New Mexico. Little did we know what the people of this organization would
come to mean to us.

Mark joined partially out of necessity because the differential on his
Rampside, his only transportation and commute vehicle, suffered "spider
suicide"... First contact was by telephone to Sylvan Zuercher and Bill Reider
for diagnosis and advice. That led to us visiting Dennis and Debbie Pleau's
Christmas Open House to buy a used differential in a broken case. Elizabeth
didn't get to experience that first taste of CNM hospitality.

Mark started attending Chapter meetings and we started meeting new friends and
seeing new places. We missed our first opportunity to attend a Tri-State, in
Alamosa that year, but have attended ever since. Red River, Montrose, Gunnison
and Lake City, along with a host of local chapter social outings, are places we
had never been, but were able to thoroughly enjoy with our CNM and out-of-state

When CNM was awarded the 1996 CORSA International Convention, Mark started
participating more in chapter planning and activities. Elizabeth joined in the
efforts by supporting Mark and started participating in more chapter social

In 1995, Mark was asked to consider and accepted a nomination to become
President of CNM. What he found was more support from the chapter for his
leadership than he imagined. We, all of CNM were able to execute one of the
most successful CORSA Conventions that had ever been held. And what is more
amazing is that, contrary to the norm throughout CORSA, CNM actually became
a stronger, more organized and tighter organization of workers and friends.

At the same time, just prior to the Convention, Mark asked the CNM Board of
Directors for permission and support to run for the CORSA Board of Directors.
With overwhelming support, Mark went on to be elected to the CORSA Board of

Mark served another year as CNM President and became CORSA Vice President. Now,
in 1999, the twenty-fifth year of CNM, Mark is serving as President of CORSA.
This could never have happened without the great support and friendship of the
members of CNM.

We always look forward to chapter outings and events. The social fabric of CNM
seems to be very unique. We have no factions within our chapter that serve
divisiveness related to early and late models or stock and modernized or
customized 'Vairs. Everyone in this organization seems to have only one agenda:
Fun and family are the priorities with our Chapter. Anything to the contrary
can find another place to be....

Now, we look forward to the future, with the expectation and excitement of
being a part of and sharing time with our many friends in Corvairs of New
Mexico. We thank you for your friendship and support. You have helped us to
enjoy our first five years in New Mexico. We look forward to the fun and
friendship that the future surely holds for all of us as members of Corvairs
of New Mexico.


Heula Pittman

Corvairs of New Mexico is a group of diverse people who use their individual
talents and knowledge about a neat little car from the sixties to help each
other enjoy those cars. And in the process, our different talents, education
and interests make possible what we do for our Club and for each other.

Not all of us are capable of producing an excellent quality newsletter month
after month. We simply don't have what it takes to put together materials from
various sources in a way that is both grammatically correct and pleasing to the
eye. This takes dedication to our Club and a genuine appreciation of all who
contribute. I believe we have both the best newsletter in CORSA and the best
editor one could ever find. (Okay, so I'm a tiny bit prejudiced!)

But editing is only part of the job; month after month Sylvan and Bill and
LeRoy get the Newsletter printed, collated, stapled, stamped and mailed out.
I can tell you what a relief it is to our editor when the Newsletter pages are
safely in Sylvan's hands each month!

Even while traveling around the world and living in different cities around
the country, Mark Morgan continues to mail us his clever Billiken cartoons. I
look forward to them. I have an advantage over you all: I get to read them
before they are published in the newsletter.

Have you ever heard the expression, "If you want anything done, ask a busy
person"? Well, I'll add a bit to that... ask a busy lady, and she'll either do
it herself or see that it gets done! I have heard Club oldtimers say that in
the early days of the Club there were few active ladies. Well, ladies, I
believe that Club hats need to go off to you for a job well done! Just look at
what our Debbie did coordinating the International Convention in 1996! Wow,
what an effort on the Pleau household. Then think back on the last few
Christmas banquets and remember how well orchestrated they were because of
Rita's efforts. Then my mind wanders to Ilva who makes comments such as, "Sure,
I can do that... Yes, Jim, I'll write you an article for the Newsletter... how
long do you want it and how soon?" And in no time, there it is in e-mail! And
remember how gracefully Kay handled all the myriad details of setting up the
Lake City Tri-State!

So what is Corvairs of New Mexico? It's not one thing, it's a combination of
all of us, working together to give ourselves the present of a happy Club.
-- Heula


Ilva Walker

Sometime in 1963 Wendell Raymond Walker brought home - no, not a puppy that
followed him - but a '63 totaled Corvair rollover. The windshield was so badly
damaged he had to drive it home by leaning out the window. Naturally he put it
back together. We had a second car! What that Corvair meant to me was I could
have the '62 Chevy convertible full time even if it was a grade A turkey. It
was better than walking.

A couple of years later Nader did his damage to the car's reputation, but mine
hoooooozbund said there was nothing wrong with the car as long as the tires
were properly inflated. Well, let's have a cheer for engineers!

In '65 W. R. built another 2 car garage. (An aside here: never in the 21 years
we lived at 16 Shady Lane with four garages did my car get housed at night, not
even in the sub zero temperatures. Ah, the sacrifices one makes for one's
mate.) Anyway, sometime around '65 he bought a gold Corvair convertible and a
red Spyder, took parts from both of them to make one Spyder. I think I saw him
occasionally for dinner and perhaps a party or two on weekends. It was rather
like having a few dates a week.

The upside was that I was free to do the things I like to do which bore him out
of his skull.

In '72 he bought a '68 coupe for $25, took out the motor and drivetrain and
cherished them for 12 years until we retired to New Mexico and he had 24 hours
a day for the fun stuff. Almost immediately he bought a white convertible in
Albuquerque, put his beloved motor and drivetrain therein, converted it to a
140 and voila, his itch had been scratched.

He met Francis Boydston sometime later who talked him into joining that great
organization, that bastion of anti-Naderism, CORVAIRS OF NEW MEXICO. For me
that meant one Wednesday night a month to go to some arty movie that would have
put him to sleep in five minutes. Let's have a cheer for car clubs.

In the ensuing ten years, although I have not come to love, adore, cherish,
deify, glorify, idolize or venerate Corvairs, I have come to love, adore etc.
the couples who inhabit this clique of Separatism. I have liked almost all the
Tri-State Meets because the towns were, minus one jarring exception, quaint or
lovely or historical. I love the fall tours that usually end at Embudo Station
in an atmosphere unparalleled anywhere. I loved the Christmas parties and the
trip to the VLA. I really liked the road rally put together by those devious
Pleau minds - the one that the Pittmans and the Walkers were the only ones to
finish (that was because of the superior navigators, right Heula?), and the
photo rally, courtesy of the Vertrees and their devious minds. And the
convention of '96 natch. Those are my highlights from the past ten years of

So, although Corvairs and I will never be a match made in heaven, I like the
idea that those who DO like them are oblivious to and unfazed by those who
scorn the disgraced machine. Let's have a cheer for individualism! For
non-conformity! For those who hear a different drummer. - Ilva


Jerry Goffe

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Complain and they want to know why
you would ever drive a Corvair.

Over the years I've had the pleasure of observing some of the funniest (albeit
perhaps only in retrospect) experiences involving Corvairs and their owners.
Take for instance the episode of having a fellow Corvair enthusiast help
install an electronic ignition into a '66 Monza. All good intentions were there
but somehow the distributor weights got reversed. This resulted in a great
idle, but the car became a dog at any speed above three MPH. As a matter of
fact, the faster we attempted to go, the worse the problem got. When we
arrived, thoroughly upset and disappointed, in Colorado for the Tri-State meet,
a number of helpful Corvair mechanical types discovered that the up-to-now
unnamed person (Wendy Walker) had done me in. We all had a great laugh about
it, and about being referred to as centrifugally retarded!

How about the time we were about to set out to Santa Fe for the July 4th car
show and Rachel followed me into McDonald's drive-through lane. I didn't know
she was behind us until I noticed that the McDonald's help seemed to be
preoccupied with something happening on the other side of the building. Then
Rachel came over to my car and said she "went over one of those concrete things
in the parking lot." After driving around, I found her car, the '66 Monza, on
top of an ISLAND!

All four wheels were off the pavement and the car was suspended and balanced
atop this concrete structure. Our daughter was beside herself with
embarrassment. It took only a few of the strong boys to lift the car off the
island and off we went, none the worse for wear. Yes, Rachel had a red face and
I got a story to tell out of the experience. But the last laugh was really on
me, as the picture I took with a "fool proof" "point and shoot" camera failed
to come out. The spirits must have been looking after Rachel that day. They
would not allow me the privilege of having a photo to show off.

All you have to do is look around you and you too can find things to laugh at.
Remember our annual CORSA International Convention a few years ago? Remember
the brownies that my wife, Syl, had volunteered to make? Remember how she was
about to call the Sheriff's Department when she discovered them missing from
our garage freezer? She honestly thought that someone had broken into our
garage and walked past several hundred dollars worth of tools, past four
Cushman motor scooters, etc., and went directly for the freezer and the
brownies. Did we have a good laugh over that one!

Some people may not be aware of the reason Del Patten went into chronic
depression. How would you feel if your own Dad was a judge at a car show and
you came in LAST? Now we know how Del got the way he is -- and we'd never want
that to change.

Just last year, we witnessed Chuck Vertrees concentrating so hard on reading a
road sign that said "Beware of Falling Rocks" that he didn't see the actual
falling rock, and he ran over one and punctured his car's gas tank. Thank
goodness we travel in convoy! We all stopped and had fun putting in our two
cents worth of advice, and a few such as Mark Domzalski actually got down in
the dirt and did a repair that held. It was funny then, but it would be even
funnier now to see Chuck when he reads this, because he'll protest that it was
not he, but Julia, who hit that rock! Chuck has told us a hundred times that he
had his side of the car stopped, just look at the size-10 indentations in the
passenger-side floorboards!

We've laughed at stories from our members about drilling holes into gas tanks,
having the fan eat a shop towel, installing the top sheet metal and carbs
WITHOUT installing the fan, putting clutch discs in backwards, installing
pistons upside down, dropping engines only to break the fuel pump and flood the
crankcase with gas, pouring in four and a half quarts of Quaker State WITHOUT
installing the drain plug, and driving 2,300 miles before discovering you had a
leaking gas tank. All these are fine stories (and much funnier now than they
were at the time) but I'm going to conclude this ditty by telling how we --
Syl & I -- joined this fine group of car enthusiasts called "Corvairs of New

Driving back from Santa Fe one fine day, along the Turquoise Trail, we decided
to stop at the Bella Vista restaurant for dinner. In the parking lot we
couldn't help but notice a number of Corvairs. We figured that a group exists
and they're having a banquet. Maybe, just maybe, we could crash the party,
enjoy the food and drinks, and not be noticed. Good try, but no cigar! Not only
were we noticed, but they made us pay for our own dinners and join the car
club. That was in 1978 (I think). Well I've kept up my dues and I'm proud to
say we're still members of CNM and CORSA!!!

Happily submitted by -- Jerry Goffe


Joel Nash

T.S. Eliot said that "April is the cruelest month." In New Mexico, February is
the cruelest month, the month that the fruit trees thaw out and bud, and freeze
again after a false alarm of impending spring.

It is the doldrums of the year.

Fortunately for CNM, in the early years of the Club, LeRoy Rogers instituted
the custom of the annual garage tour, an opportunity to get out with friends,
to get back inside out of the cold, and to see other car lovers' dreams,
projects, and results. It lets us all see an eclectic variety of vehicles (and
parts) and gives us a much-needed chance to admire, to dream, and to offer
advice, all without the liability of responsibility for actual work.

Albuquerque and central New Mexico are hotbeds of car lovers and car culture.
We have in the area an amazing diversity of interesting vehicles and owners
who are eager, or at least willing, to show them off. Over the years we have
visited garages from the most humble to the world-class, containing anywhere
from one to literally hundreds of cars. High points have included the Maloof
and Garduno collections, the J&R museum, Rinehart's tool and toy museum, and
many other more realistically-sized garages which are within the grasp of
normal people.

Each year, LeRoy searches out the potential candidates for the honor of the CNM
visit. This requires networking, diplomacy, negotiation, and logistical skills.
For garages associated with actual homes and families, it requires the goodwill
of family members to clean up the garage, hide incriminating materials, prepare
and serve snacks, put up with imaginatively parked cars, and to clean up
afterwards. Appropriate restaurant facilities must be scouted and maps made.

The last-of-the-century 1999 tour began February 6 with lunch at Kokopelli's
cafe and bakery in Cedar Crest, followed by tours of the garages (and homes) of
Del and Kim Patten and of Hurley and Brenda Wilvert. Tools, parts, vehicles,
and facilities were viewed and admired.

Advice was freely given, some of which was possibly helpful. The beautiful
north canyon views and the beautiful sunny afternoon made the day a rewarding

CNM owes our tour director LeRoy Rogers a continuing debt of gratitude and we
thank him for perpetuating this great institution. Speaking personally, the
tour is one of the high points of my year, and I am always inspired that some
people are actually able to put cars in their garages and actually work on
them, both concepts that I have not yet been able to realize. -- Joel Nash


Mary Lou Martinek

Wendell Walker started it all. We had gone to a car show at the Museum in the
spring of 1990 and he had a cute convertible; I believe it was the first
Corvair that I had ever seen. I stated to husband Mark that a Corvair would
sure be a nice little car to tow behind our R.V. ...

One day I had gone over to the southeast section of town off Wyoming, to
purchase a cartridge for my new Epson typewriter/printer, and outside a
warehouse-like building I saw several 'Vairs. So my curiosity got the best of
me. I went over to talk to the guy who was working inside on one of them and it
turned out to be none other than the famous Bill Reider.

Of course I learned a few things about those cute little cars that day and he
even had an automatic to sell me. I took his card and advice about the Club and
went home and talked to Mark about what I had seen. He looked at me like I was
crazy. Of course I found out why a few weeks later -- when I received my
birthday gift: my current '63 Monza Convertible. So about August 1990, I
decided to visit the Club that Bill had talked about, and one night got into my
cute little 'Vair and drove all the way to Ed Black's Chevrolet dealership in
the (foreign to me) part of town around San Mateo and Zuni.

I thought it was neat how everyone checked out everybody else's car outside
before the meeting, but inside I got the distinct impression from several
members that I was invading a man's domain. But that just made me more
determined than ever to continue attending; after all I was the proud owner
of that cute, little car!

Luckily I had some new friends there who patiently answered my many questions.
I sure was glad when the Pleaus moved here from California and joined our Club.
Debbie came to the meetings as often as her job would allow; this was before
her boys entered the picture.

I finally got Mark to tag along to a couple of the meetings, especially after
he went to a couple of the Club outings (even though he is a Ford man) and of
course he even took his Fords to a couple of 'Vair Club outings. We have the
photos to show. Del had to be sure and give him a rough time -- all in fun,
I'm sure.

Mark learned how to care for "my baby" with lots of help and instructions from
Bill and Sylvan, so it stays in great shape and I have a few trophies to prove

When we acquired our second family of three young grandchildren I didn't attend
the meetings but Mark went in my place so we would know what was happening.
Many a time we took all three grandkids to the activities, and we appreciate
the kindness and patience of the members and their spouses.

Mark sold his Ford and became a 'Vair owner also when he purchased a neat '65
Corsa which was a "daily driver," taking the two oldest to school. We enjoy
the camaraderie of others of all ages who have that one common bond; that cute
little car/van/truck etc. It always gets second glances and comments such as,
"I had one in college" or "My brother had one" or similar remarks.

The best memories are those when we went to the Tri-State Meets, and the way we
all worked together so well for the big International Convention that we hosted
in 1996. The talents of the various members and their spouses showed how a
small group of people can put on a very large event. And it went so well
because of advanced planning and help from as many as possible. It was fun for
me to work in the Hospitality Room and actually meet those people that I have
been reading about in the CORSA Communique all these years!

The Tri-State events were always fun although we haven't been able to attend
all of them. We still remember the northern visit in "mosquito land" and the
gorgeous trip and event at Lake City in 1998. And of course there was my
'Vair's "stardom" in the Israeli coffee commercial -- there's another neat
memory. Most of all I thank Jim for his patience and talent in letting us be
authors and write in our Club's wonderful newsletter.

I will be a member for ten years in August of 2000! I hope by then I'll still
be driving that cute little car from long ago and enjoying others in that great
Club - "Corvairs of New Mexico." -- Mary Lou Martinek


Paul Campbell

It was the Chicago Auto Show at the International Amphitheater in 1957. A
strange, warm, excited sensation came over me as Dad took me on a day-long tour
of all the newest cars from Detroit and even a few from Europe. I had never
before seen such glamour; the big cars with their giant fins were shiny under
the floodlights; special cutaways showed the engines all decked in chrome.
Beautiful ladies in low cut dresses extolled the virtues of each car as crowds
of drooling men (was it the cars or the women) surrounded each platform.

The mere fact that Dad and I were taking the hour-long trip from Waukegan to
Chicago without my mother or sisters would almost have been excitement enough.
But, Dad had chosen this rainy Saturday in February to initiate my rite of
passage to manhood by taking me to my first Chicago Auto Show. Just the two of
us ogling the cars (and the women), fantasizing over the Corvettes, the
Thunderbirds and "the cars of the future"; and debating which of the new
"family cars" would make the ideal automobile for a family of six. To this day,
I remember my first "sticker shock": The exorbitant price of $14,000 for a new
Rolls-Royce! I've been hooked on cars ever since I went to that show. In fact,
I think I've owned one car for every year I've been married: 35 years and 35

Ten years later as a young married man, I went to my first "collector car
show"; and I wanted to own a "collector car" ever since. Of course, when you're
23 years old, a "collector car" is anything more than 7 or 8 years old. That
definition has changed for me over the years; now it's more like 25 or more
years old. And, over the years, I found lots of cars I liked, but never had the
money to buy or, if I did have the money, never had the nerve to spend it.

The years went by, the kids grew up and we moved to Albuquerque without them.
Pat saw me sitting on my hands more and more often with nothing to do, not
really happy in my job, and she knew I needed a hobby to get my mind off work.
She told me I needed to get that "collector car" to keep busy or I'd drive us
both nuts. So, as time passed, I started looking in the newspaper classifieds,
going to car shows and trying to get up the nerve to invest in a "collector

Then, the Friday before Labor Day in 1996 it happened! I saw an ad in the
Journal for a 1965 Corvair with 41,000 miles on it for $1,500. Mind you, I had
no particular love for Corvairs, I just wanted an old car. So, on a whim, I
drove out to the west side of town to look at it. It wasn't much. Torn carpet,
hanging headliner, faded paint, no exhaust, bald tires, wouldn't shift. BUT, it
did start and it could be driven (cautiously). And, suddenly, I became
intrigued by the fact that this was not only an old car, it was an old car that
they didn't make any more with an air cooled engine in the rear and automatic
transmission on the dash; interesting and quirky.

So, I offered the guy $1,200 which he happily accepted. As I drove it home, it
suddenly dawned on me: Who's gonna fix it? Where will I get parts? To this
point, I'd never done anything to a car except oil changes and tune-ups.

I came home early that day and put it in the garage. When Pat came home, she
opened the garage door and immediately decided she'd pulled in the wrong
driveway. When she got a closer look, she tried to hide the pained feelings
that came over her. I know she thought, "I told him to get a "collector car",
but he decided to get a wreck instead." She bravely got in the car to take a
ride to my cousin's house. As we drove down the road, the hood latch
spontaneously popped off the front of the car and was thrown what seemed like
30 yards. It took four of us over an hour to find it. Carbon monoxide crept
into the passenger compartment as we roared down the road. A bad omen?

The next morning as I was examining my new "treasure" more closely, I kept
wondering how I'd ever get this car into shape or how I'd even get parts for
it. That's when I opened the trunk and found a Clark's Corvair parts catalog.
I thought to myself, "That might solve one problem." But, then immediately
came the next question: Who can I find that will work on Corvairs? As I
deliberated the answer, an old, yellow booklet fell out of the catalog. It
was a Corvairs of New Mexico membership booklet.

I started thumbing through the book and decided to call a member at random to
see if the club was even still in existence. The random name was Bill Reider.
Bill and I spent some time on the phone and he told me that he'd have the
membership chairman give me a call. It wasn't long after that I heard from
Sylvan Zuercher who invited me to come to the next meeting.

As I got to know Bill and Sylvan better, they made it clear I was the one who
was going to fix up the Corvair. They weren't going to do it for me, but they
told me I could call them almost anytime with questions; and I did. Often. In
six months time, my Corvair got to where it looked pretty good and ran even

Over time, I got to know other members of the club, Mike, Jerry, Wendy, Jim,
Mark, Steve, John, Chuck, LeRoy and many, many others. And you know what I've
learned? I like the club and its members even better than I like Corvairs!
Maybe that's why Wendy is our Club Treasurer even though he doesn't even own a
Corvair. Corvairs of New Mexico members come from every profession and every
age group. Other than their cars, they would seem to have nothing in common.
Yet, I don't think you could find a friendlier group of people anywhere in New
Mexico. Buying that Corvair was one of the best decisions I ever made! -- Paul


Ruth Boydston

CNM means more to me than anyone will ever know. I feel as though you are all
family. I love to hear tales on one or another, especially about your Corvairs,
which Francis and I dearly love.

Where does the time go? Back in 1968 Francis got his first Corvair. Of course
it was a '64 and it was not running so good. He tore it apart. I can't remember
what he did to it, but when he got it back together, it wouldn't run. So he
went back and dropped the motor again. He found he had put the clutch in
backwards! It ran like a top. Needless to say '64 was our favorite Corvair.

Over the years, after owning at least 200 or so, he could tell you what was
wrong with a Corvair. Maybe it was one of you! He would get a call, listen to
what you would say, how the motor was doing or the noise it was making and he
would tell you what was wrong.

Back in 1979, Teena, our oldest daughter, was on her way home from Austin when
her Corvair wouldn't start after she stopped at a gas station. The attendant
started to check some things and she told him to stop. She could tell he knew
nothing about a Corvair. She called her dad. He told her what to do, and it

Over the years, after driving many '64 Corvairs, I got a '67 four door with air
conditioning and automatic. I was so proud of that car. I went to a quilting
class. When I got ready to leave, I couldn't get it started, so I called on my
better half. I bet he laughed all the way to Juan Tabo and Menaul. All he said
when he got there was, "Did you put it in Neutral?"

Sherry, our youngest, was headed back to NMSU. Someone came around a curve and
ran her in the ditch. She rolled all four tires off, but that little Corvair
did fine.

After driving so many Corvairs since 1966, we never had car troubles that
Francis couldn't fix. He was always so good about little tips on how to do
something. He was always giving tech tips about how to make something work
better. If there wasn't a tool, he would make one to do the job. He loved to
talk, especially to make a Corvair run better. Truth was, he loved to talk!
Visiting with his friends was his second hobby.

I guess you think I'm bragging. Well, I guess I am. Now there is no one to fix
my coffee pot, iron, hair dryer or anything else that breaks. I guess it's a
good thing I don't still have a Corvair.

I sure do miss helping Francis with the jack, putting in a motor as he lay
under there connecting the motor to the drive shaft. I dearly miss the Corvair.
But I can still enjoy the group of wonderful people in the Corvair Club. Thank
you for being such nice friends and helping Francis enjoy his hobby. I want to
thank you for the wonderful flag pole. Also for remembering Francis with the
wonderful plaque in his honor.

Love to you all, -- Ruth Boydston


Steve Gongora

It's been so long since the first Tri-State Meet that I forgot who is
responsible for putting the first one together. I'm sure Sylvan Zuercher had a
major part in starting this thing. I remember that our Club wanted to expand
our contact with other Corvair clubs in the area, and with the help of the
CORSA directory we made contacts with people in the neighboring states of Utah
and Colorado. The main contact in Colorado was Leo Ford, a retired FBI agent.
He did much of the organizing in Montrose, Colorado at the first event. He
arranged the dinner and the fun tour around the town of Montrose and south to
Ouray. He drove his orange and black "Nader Hater" Corvair.

Our CNM entourage included myself, Jack Sellers, Andy Ciupryk and Sylvan and
Opal Zuercher. David Langlois, along with his brother and father, trailered a
mid-engine Corvair up to Colorado. This particular mid-engine was put together
at our shop, House of Covers, on Central back in 1975. It was a beautiful piece
of work. Jack and Andy traveled with me in my 1965 Corsa. (This car is still
alive and well and is a daily driver in the capable hands of Bill Reider, who
gave it a unique silver-and-black color scheme.)

This trip was going to be the farthest that I had traveled in my Corvair. Since
I had Jack with me, I wasn't very worried because he was a Corvair mechanic. In
fact, he rented space at our old shop so he could work on cars, including

The meet itself was fantastic because you saw how other clubs conducted their
business, and we could learn from their experiences how to make our own Club
flourish. The event was also a way to buy and trade parts. Andy was able to
purchase a brand new set of Corvair mag wheels out of the box at the first
meet. You've got to remember that this was 1976. New Corvair items were easier
to find back then. You have to look a little harder to find the same treasures

Another aspect of the Tri-State events was an opportunity to see some great
cars. The first meet brought on an inspiration for my car. Bill Woodman came
from Colorado in a late-model Corvair. What Bill had done was install BMW 2002
seats in place of the traditional bucket seats. The look and feel was perfect
for the Corvair. As soon as I got back to Albuquerque, the hunt was on for the
BMW seats. These seats are still in the car that Bill Reider drives today.
Woodman had other nice modifications to his car. He placed the battery in the
trunk, installed mag wheels, and put black trim on the headlight bezels.

The Tri-State took a ten-year hiatus after the first meet for reasons unknown
to me. When the aspect of resurrecting the event came up, I was all for it. The
Tri-State originally included Utah, but in 1986 they did not have a strong
enough response to carry on. Colorado Springs and Denver took the ball and ran
with it. So up until now the "Tri-State" has been made up of CNM, Pikes Peak
Corvair Club, and Rocky Mountain CORSA in Denver. The hosting of the event is
rotated among each of the participating clubs. The meets have been a great way
to experience the scenery of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The
small towns always open their arms to the clubs and everyone has a great time.

Finally, the meet has become something of a rivalry between Steve and Ruth
Goodman and the Gongora family. We are the only members who have attended every
one of the Tri-state meets since the beginning. Now it has become a drive for
me to continue this friendly competition. It is always a highlight of the year
to be able to attend the meets with my family and see the enthusiasm of all
those who come from different states and different Corvair clubs. Everyone
looks forward to seeing you from year to year. It is amazing to me the way the
longest distance traveled to each Tri-State seems to get longer every year.

Keep it up and we hope to see you at the next event in Salida, Colorado.
-- Steve