In the pantheon of unloved, some say infamous, cars, the Corvair surely must rank near the top of the list. The Corvair always seemed just a bit too odd-looking for me, but I have something of a late-developing affection for it for a number of reasons: the engineering was innovative in a lot of ways, it was a radical departure for an American manufacturer, and it got what is, in hindsight, an undeserved bad reputation in terms of safety. The Corvair's supposed safety concerns and the resulting bad publicity didn't kill it off, but they certainly didn't help.
Like many, however, my first introduction to the Corvair was via Ralph Nader's book, Unsafe At Any Speed, which is probably the reason most people have heard of it. To get one myth out of the way, that book was not all about the Corvair; the first chapter was about the Corvair, however, and that pretty much sealed its place in history. Most reviewers checked out the first chapter and that was about it. Fairly or not, the Corvair's reputation as an unsafe car stuck, and these days if you mention "Corvair" that's probably what springs to most peoples' minds.
Most observers nowadays will agree that the Corvair was not, in fact, particularly unsafe compared to many other cars of the time. And in fact, the Corvair had a wide variety of body styles--including a pickup!--to go along with the sedans and coupes that most people are aware of. It was a neat car with interesting engineering and deserves much more positive attention than it has received.