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Backyard Barris: Corvair Claymobile

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Do you fancy yourself the next George Barris? Do you have access to a sawzall, torch and copious amounts of bondo? Then you might be ready to begin selling your creations for massive profit, just like this custom Chevy Corvair rat rod here on eBay. Frankly, aside from the engine being the rear, I don’t see much left in this carved-up carcass that used to be a Corvair. 

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So, the seller seems a bit loose in his approach to listing the car, going so far as to say only a crazy person would buy it. He also says to research the Claymobile, which I did – and it leads to a website for, amazingly, another converted Corvair that appears to have been stolen several years ago. But they look like different cars, which begs the question as to whether this was some sort of kit that caught fire in the 70s.

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And what better era to bear this creation than one known for its liberal use of mind-altering substances? Bonus points to whoever can name which car those tail lights came off of. Don’t get excited about an engine, because it’s not included. But I will give the seller points for his suggestion that a Cadillac Northstar V8 would make for a compelling modern powerplant.

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There’s rust in the floors and a whole lot of unfinished bodywork. The seller describes its mobility as “it kinda rolls”, so bring a backup plan if you decide to trailer this one home. There’s a $2,200 Buy-It-Now listed with the option to submit a best offer, but I have no clue how you would price something like this. Have any of you heard of the Claymobile or know anything about its history? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Avatar photo Van

    You’ll have the only one at caffeine and octane
    Best looking corvair ever

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  2. Avatar photo Charles


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  3. Avatar photo flmikey

    ..Thunderbird tail lights….

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  4. Avatar photo grenade

    That’s a ton of work, to even make it run & drive, never mind making it shiny- But it’s cool looking. Too much work for not enough payout. And that’s why it’s not finished.

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  5. Avatar photo William H

    This is one of those “If I won the lotto” cars. Someone’s put an enormous amount of work into this one and it’s going to take at least double that, if not more, to finish it out. I, for one, would be curious to know what it would like finished out. It has an interesting look and something about the way front end looks is quite attractive. But, as I mentioned, it’s going to take a lotto’s worth of money to figure out what it’s final look would be. It would be interesting to know if the builder had any renderings of the project.

    I do see some similarities in the Claymobile but not much.

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  6. Avatar photo CattooButt Member

    The profile shot makes it look like an El Torino Baja rally racer.

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  7. Avatar photo Fred

    Unfortunately, there’s more than one out there…

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  8. Avatar photo RON

    a lot of work bt I will give the guy an A for creative leisure. my guess in the tail lights is dodge charger from the 60’s or possibly early 70’s maverick or 70 torino

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  9. Avatar photo Dave Member

    Dang. I am a big fan of the second gen corvairs, but not this one.

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  10. Avatar photo grant

    I personally love the shape. Dead sexy but probably not financially feasible to finish. Those are early Maverick taillights.

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  11. Avatar photo James

    I think the work on the front end is very well done and has a vintage Maserati loo to it. Hope it survives to ride again, :)

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  12. Avatar photo Michael

    They look like 67 Camaro taillights to me. Love your site!

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  13. Avatar photo Ed P

    The 2nd Gen Corvairs were good looking cars. Why would anyone do this to one?

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  14. Avatar photo OldCarGuy

    OMG! That’s my old Corvair! I wondered what ever happened to it. The body work was done in the early 70’s by the owner of Park Automotive in Berea, OH, the shop where I worked during high school. The hood was extended with sheet metal and the lower front pan was hand fabricated. Obviously, the top was severely chopped. The windshield is lexan.

    I drove that car for a summer in grey primer with the original engine in it. Over the winter, I opened the back and fabricated a subframe to install a ’66 Toronado engine and transmission. My father was a machinist and fabricated the adapters to connect the transmission to the rear hubs.

    At that point, I ran out of money and started college so the car was sold locally. I never saw it again until now. Believe me, that car was SOLID when I sold it. Poor baby must have spent a long time sitting outside for the floor to get that rusty. What’s it worth? Who knows? That Oldsmobile tri-power that I put on it is probably worth what the $2,200 he’s asking. This will be interesting to follow.

    Oh, and the taillights are ’66 Thunderbird.

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    • Avatar photo Van

      Excellent OldCarGuy, thanks for filling us in. Sounds like you got an excellent car guy education.
      Anything as interesting since then?

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    • Avatar photo Charles

      Great history!

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  15. Avatar photo Alexander Member

    Finally a car with provenance going all the way back to its creation. Thanks OldCarGuy! Now, Fred, where was the photo taken of the cool, fully realized version? And when?

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  16. Avatar photo RNR

    C’mon, OldCarGuy, you know you want it back! Buy it and return it to its running and driving days! It was meant to be!

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  17. Avatar photo OldCarGuy

    No, RNR, that’s like re-marrying an ex wife. I had my fun with her. Now it’s someone else’s turn. I did manage to find some pics that say March ’75 on the back. If you look closely, you can see my mom’s lavender Gremlin parked in the driveway as well.

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    • Avatar photo Jeff Staff

      Wow – this is phenomenal – thank you for weighing in! The vintage photos are great, and I hope you didn’t take any offense to my tongue-in-cheek description. I love one-offs like this but it makes it even better to know the history. Did you have a final vision in mind when you built it?

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      • Avatar photo OldCarGuy

        Hi Jeff, No offense taken. I actually appreciate the George Barris reference. My mind’s eye had that car lower to help the proportions, wide tires, and fender flares. You know, the 70’s Mako Shark look. Dreams are tough though with an 18-year-old’s budget and that’s why it was sold.

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  18. Avatar photo RNR

    Yeah, and it’s pretty low… the roof line would catch me in the ear every time I’d try to get in it now – not a problem I would have had in ’75!

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  19. Avatar photo Alexander Member

    Finally a car with authentic provenance from its creation. Thanks OldCarGuy! And whoever suggested maverick taillights needs to remember they were the same for early Pintos and look nothing like that! So what’s the history of this car in the photo? Where was it photographed?

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    • Avatar photo OldCarGuy

      Scroll up to read the history of the car. These old pics were taken in my parent’s driveway in North Olmsted, OH.

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  20. Avatar photo Matt Nall

    Not “The CLAYMOBILE” FYI!! Checkout the writing on the tires!

    You cannot help but love these old customs..

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  21. Avatar photo Matt Nall

    Here’s one we watched dying over the years….. wonder if it ever got rescued?

    I bought on ebay….close to driving…..had been operable…. Work Move caused the sale..went thru several owners after that and downhill each time.. Bad JUJU car?
    as Photoshopped

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    • Avatar photo Zachary

      Nice photoshop, I like the one where you filled in the roof and changed the exhaust.

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  22. Avatar photo Matt Nall
    • Avatar photo Bryan Campbell

      This is back on Facebook marketplace in Mesa for $3000

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  23. Avatar photo Alexander Member

    Matt. Where did you leave that early Corvair custom? I like some of the changes. The windshield cowl work looks odd though. I hope the pretty young lady in cowboy boots didn’t go to pasture with the car! 😏

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  24. Avatar photo Makovette66

    Love the look myself.The origanists need to get over themselves

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  25. Avatar photo Larry

    OldCarGuy, Love your 39 Coupe with the 40 Deluxe front sheet metal and grill. Here’s a pic. of my 40 truck.

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