With all the insanity going on in the market for Type 2 VW Vans and Porsche 356s, it’s a wonder the alternatives to these hot vehicles aren’t getting more attention. There are some great alternatives with similarities that are no secret, and that offer greater driveability, and their domestic origin means parts availability at least equal to that of the German products. So let’s get started. What would you pay for a 1963 VW Type 2 bus? Over $200,000? Are you insane? If you want to be a true winner, both by the pocketbook and at the races (who says you can’t race a van?), check out this 1963 Chevrolet Greenbrier for sale for a mere $3500 in Los Angeles, CA.
Okay, so it hasn’t got windows in the roof. But with your savings, you could easily pick up a higher-end Porsche 356, or a 911 for that matter. And your van would still have a six. This particular van looks like a nicely preserved original – in fact, in basic white it almost has to have a hand-painted sign on the door for a refrigerator repair service. The interior will likely need attention to the vinyl under the covers, while the engine is said to be running well. Black plates suggest this van should be largely rust-free, although there are some areas where the paint color varies, so check carefully.
But wait, you say, I’m still so sad because the market for Porsche 356s has got away from me… I can’t afford $50K for a rusty project! Well, search no more… rusty project Corvair coupes, with elegant styling that influenced many European cars (see BMW Neue Klasse, NSU 1200, etc.) and a 6-cylinder engine, are available for far less. If you’re dying for an upside down bath tub, you can pick up a Nash or Hudson and still come out ahead. Check out this 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza for sale for $3000 in Los Angeles, CA.
Okay, this one does look a little rougher around the edges. Is that rust at the bottom of some of the panels? That elegant roofline is rival to any 911, and the flexibilty and power of the six should give most any 356 a run for its money. Admittedly, this car was built to a lower budget level than a Porsche, so you may have to adjust your expectations a little, but many of the issues related to lack of development have been resolved by the enthusiastic owner community.
While the engine is not shown running in this picture, it is said to run very well, and the engine compartment looks very clean for a driver. As with the Greenbrier, this car features an automatic, and that’s where you’ll give something up to anything but a 911 Sportomatic. That said, for a certain sector of the population that loves their old cars with a horizontally opposed engine, but can’t use their left leg or right arm, this is a great option.
The interior is said to have new carpet. It’s not clear if this is a homebrew installation or something stitched to fit around the contours of the floor, and the color is not that great – it seems it should be black in a car with black vinyl seating. That said, the rest appears to be in good shape. Would you consider these Corvairs a valid alternative to their German equivalents?