Home » The Strange Story Of The Lost Cause: Cold Start

The Strange Story Of The Lost Cause: Cold Start

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Maybe in some ways you can think of Lost Cause as a sort of proto- Singer or Icon, in that Lost Cause was a company that “reimagined” – to use the term Singer likes to use so Porsche won’t sue them into the aether – Chevrolet Corvairs into hyper-luxurious mini-limousines. Well, I think I’m being a little generous with the plurals there; as far as anyone knows, Lost Cause only ever made one Lost Cause Corvair, the one you see up top there. I’m fascinated.

Lost Cause only existed for one year, between 1963 and 1964, and was founded by, of all people, the former mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, Charles P. Farmsley. Farmsley worked with a coachbuilding firm, Derham Body Company of Rosemont, Pennsylvania, to craft his creation, which differed from a normal Corvair in many ways, including having a stretched wheelbase, some sort of rear suspension changes (did he get rid of the swing axles?), a leather roof, wooden dash, additional aircraft instruments, dual spare tires (the Corvair could have a spare in either the front trunk or over the engine; I suspect this one had both locations filled?), and contained a picnic set and other rich-person crap.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The Corvair’s air-cooled flat-six was modified to put out 40 more horsepower, for a respectable total of 120 hp, and had other fancy details like nostalgic leather straps holding the front hood closed.

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The car was first shown at the 1963 New York Auto show, resplendent in British Racing Green and bearing a price tag of about $12,000. In modern money, that would come to about $124,000 in today’s money, earning it the title of the “world’s most expensive small car.

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It’s not clear where the name came from, though it proved to be prophetic, as nobody seemed to be interested in the world’s most expensive Corvair. Fools! By St.Jude himself, this thing is cool as hell!

I heard about this car while flipping through a February 1963 issue of Popular Science, where I saw the above clipping and also this ad:

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Holy shit! Accordion prices smashed? Save up to half?! Are you fucking kidding me? These accordion deals seem too good to be true! Forget killing Baby Hitler or watching dinosaurs mate – this is what we should be using a time machine for! Take my ass to 1963, at the Accordion Corporation of America, 2003 West Chicago Ave, Dept. P-23, Chicago 22, Illinois! Stat! Now, now now!

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Mark Kress
Mark Kress
22 days ago

You have no idea how popular the accordion was in that era. Lawrence Welk and Myron Floren were f*****g rock stars!

CSRoad
CSRoad
26 days ago

That Corvair almost looks like it has a 1960 Valiant grafted on the front.
Speaking of accordion music, one has to do a shout out to The Happy Wanderers, who made polka mainstream in Canada.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrnE6kaPeuE

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
27 days ago

Lady of Spain, I adore you. Lost Cause is the perfect name for that car. He called it that because “Hell no, I ain’t forgittin'” is too long.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
27 days ago

Accordion prices SMASHED?!
“Did I do that?” -Steve Urkel
Well, this was a Lost Cause…

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