Air-Cooled Station Wagon: 1962 Chevrolet Corvair

In the late 1950s, most U.S. automobile companies were preparing to field a compact car, a market segment largely created by a growing interest in imports. Chevrolet’s entry was different from the other domestics with its rear-mounted, air-cooled engine (just as VW had done with the Beetle). Over 10 years, they would sell more than 1.8 million Corvairs (despite Ralph Nader). This 1962 Monza 900 station wagon was acquired out of an estate and needs restoring, but the seller has realized that’s not going to happen on his watch. Located in Athol, Massachusetts, this little transport is available here on eBay for $5,995 OBO.

Ed Cole was Chevy’s General Manager in the 1950s and was behind the development of the Corvette. He was an out-of-the-box thinker, so when it came to designing an entrant in the compact car space, he wanted something different. And the Corvair would be different, not only because of its drivetrain configuration but also with its independent suspension. The name Corvair originated by merging the Corvette and Bel Air names. The boldness of the new car’s design got Ed and the Corvair on the cover of Time Magazine and Motor Trend named the automobile as their 1960 “Car of the Year”.

The Corvair was available in a variety of body styles, including a station wagon. The Monza 900 was at the top of the Corvair pecking order, yet its 4-door wagon saw relatively few produced in 1962. Out of 328,500 Corvairs built that year (it’s second-best in terms of sales), just 2,362 were the Monza 900 wagon. The seller got this one out of an estate sale and life has gotten in the way of restoring it, so he’s leaving it up to the next Corvair enthusiast.

As the story goes, the seller had his eye on this station wagon for several years and its then-owner wouldn’t sell. But that owner passed away and the car went up for auction because his family wasn’t interested in keeping it. So, the seller finally got possession of the vehicle. It doesn’t run and he doesn’t indicate what may be needed to breathe life back into the flat-six that’s under the cargo compartment floor. The wagon does have the Corvair version of the 2-speed automatic transmission.

The paint and interior look better than you might expect for a car that has sat dormant for years. But its hibernation was likely indoors so sheet metal rust may not be a problem, although the photos provided depict a crusty-looking chassis. If you can get it running without too much trouble, slap some new tires on it and drive it around for a while before taking the project to the next level. The seller didn’t get the car retitled in his name but will include the auction papers and a bill of sale that he says in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be enough to get it retitled.

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Comments

  1. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Long been on my bucket list, these Monza wagons. It would already have been purchased and brought home to my shop if 1) it could turn over and yard drive, 2) it had a manual 3 or 3spd gearbox, and 3) it wasn’t located on the left coast in Massachusetts! Looks like it may have entered a few car shows back in the 80s– it has the dash plaques to prove it. Fawn interior is an added bonus. I came close to recreating this car in the 1990s using a 61 Lakewood body, adding a Fawn interior and other bits from a 62 Monza sedan languishing in my back yard. This one looks like it has a few bits from other years added…not a dealbreaker…window cranks, amber parking lights, dog dish hubcaps.

    Like 2
  2. alphasud Member

    I mechanically restored one for a club member last year. His was a bench seat powerglide with cloth seating. Also a rare option. Turned it into a bucket seat 4-speed with a warmed over 110 engine. Ran about as strong as my 65 Corsa. His is in primer but he still gets stopped every time he drives it. I would love to have a wagon someday.

    Like 3
  3. James Martin

    Another let me sell my paper weight for high dollar. When did a project corvair demand almost 8000dollars? Dreamer nothing but a dreamer.

    Like 2
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      Where are you seeing $8k? The eBay listing shows a Buy It Now of $5595 or best offer.

      Like 1
  4. Richard Kirschenbaum

    Agree with Little Cars wholeheartedly on wanting one with a manual transmission. Automatics are like condoms. You miss the whole experience. I believe that the legendary comic genius Ernie Kovacs died in Corvair Wagon crash.

    Like 3
  5. Steve Clinton

    “The name Corvair originated by merging the Corvette and Bel Air names.”
    Russ, I always was under the impression that the name was a combination of ‘Corvette’ and ‘air cooled’. Live and learn.

    Like 3
  6. its1969ok

    It would really be fun with a C8 Corvette drive train and running gear.

  7. ADM

    Ernie Kovacs didn’t get too far, after a party, in his ’62 wagon.

  8. chrlsful

    car is here cuz Clark’s is
    8^ 0
    Time for a drive (I’m 1/2 way between them both).
    Nota chebby guy but would look into the 200-R4 swap-in,
    more research on SCCA style mods. Likea sm wagon (if
    not too small) & hada 500 series (base). Inherited frm
    mom’s mom w/oil leak onto heater, brain cell killer in the cabin.
    Stretch the 2.7 upto 3L & 6 Keihins (less than 4 rochesters)?

  9. Howard A Member

    Oil drain pan not included. I remember these, the wagon would create a draft and the entire back would be covered in oil. Great find, with modern gaskets and sealants, they can be made leak proof, and Corvairs were great cars. A wagon, more so. I think the wagons( and vans) ran hot because the motor is hidden. They don’t make good stop and go cars but try and find another.

  10. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Someone told me they pulled one out of a junkyard in my backyard in the past few months! Blew my mind. I’d thought the days of stumbling on a Lakewood or Monza wagon were over! I was lucky enough to find two parts wagons while building my “clone” Monza in 1994 and considered myself lucky. My father and I knew where all the wagons were, while I was growing up in the northern Virginia area in the late 60s through the 1970s.

  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Price has been reduced to $4,995.

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      Over 90 watchers and nobody’s going to take the plunge for $4995? Guess those patched floors and potentially botched bodywork not to mention its geographic location is keeping people from making an offer. I hope this one ends up in the right hands.

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