John Fitch’s second car was called the Fitch-Phoenix. It was based on the Chevrolet Corvair. It had a sensationally beautiful body built in Italy by Intermeccanica. A roll bar was built into the top. The rear window would open and close electrically. The roof panel was removable and stowable in the trunk. With the roof open, the car had a landau look. Bulges in the front fenders hid the two spare tires. (Front and rear tires were different sizes). The rear-mounted Corvair engine was modified to produce more power than normal. A top speed in excess of 130 mph was claimed. Only one prototype was built. When it was learned what government regulations had to be met for safety and emission standards, Fitch, unfortunately, decided against going any further. The prototype was actually the Fitch-Phoenix II. A standard Fitch-Phoenix had been planned, which would have had a stock Corvair motor. It would not have had front disc brakes and a few other features found on the Fitch-Phoenix II.
Based around the Corvair engine (which, with his Sprint conversions, John Fitch was supremely familiar), the rear-engined Phoenix had people giving Fitch real money in 1966 as deposits against delivery. But the planned run of 500 cars never happened. The Traffic Safety Act of 1966 was passed within weeks of the first showing of the Phoenix, and uncertainty about how it would be implemented kept Fitch from moving to production. When it was finally clarified—then still quite benign—it was too late. The Corvair's days were numbered and without its engine the Phoenix was finished.
Two door convertible: Price $8700 Weight 2150
ENGINE: Chevrolet Corvair. Six-cylinder. Horizontally opposed. Air-cooled. Overhead valve. Aluminum block. Displacement: 164 cid. Bore and stroke: 3.44 x 2.94 inches. Compression ratio: 9.25:1. Brake horsepower: 170 at 5200 rpm. Four main bearings. Solid valve lifters. Carburetor: Weber Model 36 DCLD two-barrel.
POWERTRAIN: Four-speed manual transmission.
CHASSIS FEATURES: Wheelbase: 95 inches. Overall length: 174 Inches. Front tread: 55 Inches Rear tread: 57.2 inches. Tire size: 175 x 14 (front), 185 x 14 (rear).
OPTIONS: AM/FM radio ($110). Automatic transmission.
MANUFACTURER: John Fitch & Co.. Falls Village, Ct.