Your present car probably still carries a spare tire, one of the last vestiges of parts redundancy maintained in case of in-service failure, although even that is fading from common usage. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe '61 Rampside takes redundancy one step further having a second engine powering the truck. Will you find calling it Nice Price is equally redundant?
Chevrolet introduced the Corvair in October of 1959 as broadside against what was seen as a burgeoning market for small efficient import cars, driven by a lingering post-war economic downturn. The Corvair was by far the most radical vehicle introduced by an American auto maker that year, or for many hence, so much so that the company offered a faux grille for the front to quell buyers' unease with its flouting of convention.
While the initial four door and coupe didn't set the sales charts ablze, the Corvair garnered praise from the buff books, and in fact took home Motor Trend's COTY award for 1960. To their credit, Chevy stuck it out with their radical small car, even adding a slew of models to the family in 1961, including a spaciaous cab-over van and related loadside and rampside pick up trucks.
This first model year Corvair 95 is the Rampside, which takes its name from the clever curb-side drop-down gate allowing roll-in access to the deep dish bed. That drawbridge like gate on this one happens to be partially blocked by a diamond plate work box, an odd placement for such an accouterment you might think, until you discover that it actually is hiding a second 2-carb aluminum pancake, which appears to power the front wheels.
This is where you make like Bevis and Butthead and go Whoa. . .
Twin-engine vehicles are nothing new, there having been Twini-Minis, dual A-series sporting Mini Mokes, a series of 2CVs intended for the French military that featured another air cooled twin in the back. The thing of it is, getting two engines to play nice together is a herculean task akin to trying to take down a grizzly via paper cuts.
This one is claimed to have been born out of the attempt to create a dragster back in the seventies. It sports a dusty coat of primer grey over what looks to have originally been baby blue. Both the front and rear wheels are appreciably fat, the rears being so much more so that they warrant step-side like fender flares to contain their meaty goodness.
Up in the cab over the fronts there are a pair of bucket seats and a center console. I can't quite put my finger on the source of those seats, but am leaning toward Z-car. Sprouting from the bare metal floor between the seats is a sinuous shift lever which is connected to. . . What, two gearboxes? Who knows, the seller, despite his excitement evident in the use of all-caps in the ad doesn't go into detail as to how exactly this coupled Corvair actually works. I for one am intrigued to find out.
The ad does say that the truck has some service rust, by which I think he means surface. Either that or it's oxidization that's seen a tour of duty. That's not nearly as worrying as the surgery that the truck has undergone to have a second major organ installed like a character out of a cheesy ‘70s horror flick.
If you're anything like me then questions about how it works or the quality of its construction do little to quell your desire have this amazing beast adorning your front yard, but they do call into question the cost of doing so. The seller is asking $4,000 for the honor to call this crazy contraption your own, and now we have to see if you agree with his valuation skills. What do you think, is this Corvair's two grand per engine price a deal? Or, is that too much to take two?
H/T to Rollo Grande for the hookup!
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