Reflecting on the extreme popularity of VW Type 2 products, it’s curious the competing Corvair vans never received the same recognition. Sure, they were successful enough in sales, but they never achieved the same level of cultural cachet the VWs had. Part of this is no doubt due to the mainstream Chevrolet badge, but everything else about the vehicles was decidedly counter-culture. In fact, it was so counter-cultural that it was not terribly profitable for GM, but the flat 6, which led to its recognition in-period as a poor man’s Porsche, meant you can be spared the wrath of modern-day semi-truck drivers, and the styling has some quintessentially 1960s GM design cues. So sure, you can compensate for your other shortcomings by driving a vehicle with too many windows, or you can do the same in a more effective way – with horsepower! Check out this 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier for sale for $4500 in Springfield, OR.
Finished in what looks to be Seamist Jade on Tuxedo White, everything looks very solid, and while the paint is faded, it looks right for the vehicle’s age. It’s said to run well, and for more of that Porsche van feeling, this one was delivered with a four-speed manual transmission. It’s curious that people spend good money and time putting flat sixes from Subaru or Porsche in their VW vans, when you can get this from the factory. Oddly, a quick search turns up no Corvair utility vehicles with a turbo stolen from an unsuspecting coupe or convertible, so perhaps there’s not sufficient clearance under the engine cover.
The interior shows the optional third bench, with the front bench covered in a Navajo blanket and the rearmost bench in a Mexican blanket, while the center is uncovered. Hopefully the condition of the center bench is representative of the others’, but overall things look pretty clean inside. In spite of the good cosmetic condition, the van is said to have been sitting for a while, so the seller says brake work will be needed, and leaves room for other things like the fuel system. If you need more utility, or you want to go cheaper, check out this 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside for sale for $3800 in Pasadena, CA.
You know, looking at these prices, perhaps the Corvairs at the lower end of the market are priced comparably to a later Type 2 VW. This one looks nice, straight, and complete (hubcaps and mirrors are in the cab), but is showing some rust around the bottom of the body, as well as some fading. Of course, this did serve as a utility vehicle, and just think of all the agony you’ll save being able to simply roll heavy things like engines up the ramp and into the bed. If you’re truly lazy, you could install an electric winch on the driver’s side to pull stuff in.
The interior is complete down to the rubber floor mats, but shows the wear you’d expect of a 53-year-old vehicle on commercial plates. The bench is covered by a Mexican blanket, and probably cracked/torn underneath, while the steering wheel is missing its center cap. The interior is truly stark, with metal door panels and not even a passenger side visor. It’s nice to see this one also has a 4-speed manual.
Here’s the engine, with two interesting things to note – dual carbs on a base spec van are cool, even if it’s by necessity, and does that heater box really occupy nearly the same width as the engine? Overall, this would probably be a great foundation for a running renovation, or perhaps you can find one of the period camper shells – the side ramp was replaced by a full-height opening door. What upgrades from the 10-year palette of Corvair options could be used to make this comparable to one of those pricey VWs?