Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Corvair hides a nice little surprise in its bed. Let’s see if its price hides any unpleasant surprises in addition.
Henrik Fisker is still in the automotive news these days, having lent his name to the recently debuted Fisker Ocean electric. That car may be nothing more than vaporware, but if it does turn into an actual production vehicle and there isn’t a “Frank Ocean Edition” offered? Well… I don’t want to live in that world.
The 2012 Fisker Karma EcoChic we looked at on Friday represented Henrik’s last go-around giving his name and styling skills to a car line, and it showed the strengths and weaknesses of a limited-production, boutique-build product. Not only is the Karma claustrophobic inside, but the model also suffers from investment issues in its engineering. Additional challenges are represented by questionable parts availability and a dearth of mechanics versed in how to fix them.
Despite all that, fully 65 percent of you honored the Karma’s $29,500 price tag with a Nice Price win. I think that was one of those situations where many voted good for thee, but not for me.
Speaking of me… which we all should do on a regular basis—I do have an ego to stoke, after all. Anyway, did you know that my first ever car was a Chevy Corvair? No? Of course, you didn’t.
At age 14 I managed to scrape together enough of my allowance and lawn-mowing money to buy a clapped-out 1961 Corvair 700 Turtletop in Romany Maroon over a metric shit-ton of cheesy vinyl upholstery. It also featured a two-carb engine and a three-speed manual gearbox. The gear ratios in that transmission were best described as “what’s your hurry,” “don’t rush me,” and “you didn’t really want to go up that hill after all.”
My brother had to drive it home for me as I was too young to possess even a learner’s permit, and it failed to even make the three or so mile trip without conking out a couple of times.
Man, I loved that car. I also learned how to wrench on it, thanks to the kindness of a Corvair mechanic who took me under his wing and taught me how to do things like fix a broken valve spring with the head still on the engine. It having been my first car, I kind of wish I had kept it.
Of course, there are still quite a few Corvairs out there for sale. The model has, over the years, gone from vilified to venerated. And, while at one time you literally couldn’t give them away, nowadays, they are considered classics, and many of the rarer models can bring modest bank even when in not so nice shape.
This 1962 Chevy Corvair Rampside is one of the line’s most interesting models. A cab-over pickup, the truck featured an intrusive platform in back to accommodate the flat-six underneath. To make up for the motor bump, Chevy engineered a clever curb-side door that can be dropped down as a ramp—hence the name—and provide a drawbridge-like entrance to the lower mid-floor area. It was quite brilliant, however, the truck versions of the Corvair platform only lasted for one generation, and died when the line was restyled for 1965.
This one has the ramp-side gate, but you may notice that it also has what appears to be a fiberglass cover over the load area to which that provides access. That cover hides what’s obviously this Corvair’s most surprising feature, which is a 350 CID SBC sitting amidships and powering the rear wheels through a Turbo350 automatic. Yes, this is a mid-engine pickup truck. Yah-freaking-hooo!
The rear suspension is an independent setup pulled from a Jag XJ12 and features that model’s fancy inboard disc brakes. The front drum brakes have also been given the heave-ho, replaced with disc clampers off of a Chevelle.
The engine looks to be complete and features an Edelbrock intake and 4BBL. It’s claimed to be a ’76 mill and has been rebuilt and balanced before filling the hole in the heart of this Corvair. The radiator sits in a space where originally the spare tire bumped out in the metal at the back of the cab.
The seller says that a little work is needed to make the truck drivable on the daily. There’s some exhaust routing to be addressed, and obviously you’d want to check all of the fluids and consumables to make sure you wouldn’t die on the first exciting outing.
The interior is totally old school but looks perfectly serviceable. The wide bench has been reupholstered in vinyl and velour and has had seatbelts added. Also non-original is the panel mid-dash which houses some extra gauges for the engine. A space heater takes up room on the floor.
The exterior appears rust-free and in reasonable shape. No, you won’t win any awards at a Concours event in this, but it has a nice patina nonetheless. Period correct alloys fill the arches.
The seller says the truck was a recent acquisition, and that the history and mileage are both a bit murky. The conversion was completed about 10 years ago, and the previous owner let the truck go owing to age—the owner’s not the truck’s.
The title is claimed clear and due to the truck’s age, you can get away with pretty much anything anywhere as it’s not going to require smog certification. It may need to pass a safety inspection where you live, but there doesn’t look to be any major issues there.
The asking price is $8,000, which, if you’re familiar with the Corvair market at present, is a bit on the low end for a Rampside in decent condition. This one is in decent condition, but it has an attribute that could either imbue it with extra value, or damn it to also-ran status for its weirdness.
What’s your take, could this odd mid-engine Corvair be worth that $8,000 asking? Or, does that price make this a Rampside you would let slide?
H/T To Fauxshizzle for the hookup!
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