Box 6 Camper: 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Motorhome

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

Are you a die-hard classic camper fan that thinks the Volkswagen camper hung the moon? Do you crave a little more power, but aren’t ready to give up the rear engine air cooled configuration just yet? Well perhaps this unique Corvair ramp-side pickup motor home is just what you are looking for. Thought to be one of 14 built, this unusual motor home will make the campers at the camp grounds that much more envious. This barn found motor home is currently offered for $4,000. Check it out here on craigslist out of Piggott, Arkansas.

Quite dirty and dingy, it would seem that this flat 6 hasn’t been awakened in many years. I dare say that a power washer would be a good start for the engine compartment. There are no details on the condition of the drive-train, or how long this camper has been in storage.

I wish that there were better photos of this interior, especially of the camper section. Although from what can be seen of the cab, the interior looks to be in fair condition, needing a solid cleaning, and some upholstery work on the bench. There does appear to be an 8 track player installed, so you can certainly enjoy some of your favorite tunes on your explorations.

Featuring double doors on the side and rear, I would imagine you can get some good ventilation going in this camper. Speaking of ventilation, there would also appear to be an air conditioning unit mounted to the roof, sweetening the deal on this classic camper.  From what can be seen the truck body looks to be in fair condition with no obvious signs of rot, although there is some surface rust on the passenger side door. The camper shell appears damage free, although the camper body seam on the passenger side rear corner needs some work as it seems to need some resealing. With some cleaning and fresh fluids, hopefully this cool Corvair camper could be revived without too much trouble. Worst case scenario, the interior is rough, and could be rebuilt with a modern twist further improving this camper. Would you take this Corvair camper over a Volkswagen camper?

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Comments

  1. John Norris

    What’s great about this vehicle is you’ve got a place to stay when it throws the fan belt off! Unless it severs the fuel line and becomes camper flambe! Actually a pretty cool camper with the rear engine and the low floor.

    9+
    • hank

      Your Reply shows you don’t know anything about a Corvair I have owned and driven them for 30 years. Haven’t had a fan belt thown off yet! How many yaars have YOU been driving Corvairs? I thought so.

      7+
      • Jim

        Hank –

        I had the crankshaft break on my wife’s 63 Corvair while driving from SF Bay Area to Redding, CA. My father-in-law is a Corvair genius, and told me that I could actually drive it below 35 miles per hour, and the belt would stay on. Above 35, it would probably wobble too much and the belt would come off. It took forever to get to Redding at 35 mph, as I had the belt come off twice when I did near 40 mph, and then had to put it back on. I did make it there eventually.

        3+
      • Lee Smith

        I drove Corvairs for a number of
        years. I carried a special wrench for reinstalling the fan belt. However, it was usually when l was being macho and trying to beat a chik driving a “New Beetle” & l would invariably jam it back into 1st gear from full rev 2nd, & THAT will remove the fan belt every time.
        The “special wrench” is a 9/16″ open end with a swivel socket at the other end. It was that socket that did the trick.
        Loved my Covairs.

        0
      • Bill T

        Had over 130 in my life (since 1974) still drive my first car from HS as the beach boys would say “All Summer Long”. I was just saying the other day when it breaks I can fix it… and as far as the fan belt, keep the revs under 4K, make sure it’s installed right the first time, changed as needed… set it and forget it.

        2+
    • dr fine

      I drove a vair from 68 to 90, and a vair powered VW bus from 80 to 2000. I finally found out why belts jumped and never lost another. If you install them just snug enough, they’ll be fine. If you stretch them as tight as you can, you will break the internal cords and it’s no longer a belt, it’s a rubber band. It will stretch and wobble off the pulley.

      2+
    • Matthew

      If you put a top coge dayco fan belt on the engine it will Saturday on. Allso spray some syilicon spray on the belt. Make sure the pulleys arnt rusty that will eat the belt up fast.
      Pull the 145 cbinch engine out get a 110 hp 164 cbinch 65-69 engine. Make the engine a 3.0 litter by haveing the Vw jugs installed. It will really pull after that’s done.

      0
  2. Kevin W

    In a word. “Turd”. And easy on the turns Clyde. Lol.

    2+
    • hank

      Your Reply also shows no knowledge of Corvairs. If you had any you would know the Rampside camper wasn’t just a favorite of farmers but also of the Government and the Telephone Company—-you can roll a 8 foot spool of wire right into one by yourself. Very few made, even fewer left.

      2+
      • Kevin W

        I know enough about corvairs to know they were junk. And in all my 60 years, I don’t recall ever seeing one on a farm. They wouldn’t survive for a week on a farm.

        1+
      • Jeff

        Hank take a pill, I have 2 at this time and they both like to toss off their belts from time to time. If you Google it you can see others have also.

        2+
  3. Wayne Moyer

    So you could have an Ultravan or you could have this if you absolutley had to have a Corvair RV. Now I really am a fan of the Ultravan to be honest. I will own one at some point. This just worries me on so many levels. The hidden rust for one. The fact that I can trace several generations of mice and their evolution is another and write a book about it. Likely paying for the RV and it’s restoration.
    Still those doors working with the ramp are really kind of retro cool. Now that I’m an owner of a real RV (34′ V10 gas not diesel sadly) these things interest me. Just not this one because reasons.

    3+
  4. Miguel

    I love the Impala SS hubcaps.

    It makes this van.

    2+
    • Ron Bunting

      it makes it what? faster? I think they make it cooler…

      0
  5. JW

    Cool but too much work to be useable. I’m now at the age that I want to buy it and drive it not work on it.

    6+
  6. Mark S

    Still make more sense to have a truck with an eight foot box and an eight or ten foot camper JMHO.

    1+
  7. Chebby

    This thing’s been for sale for a long time….I think they were asking almost 10 grand. There were a few more words and pictures, but not very good ones, the camper is gutted and the ceiling looks trashed from water leaking around that goofy A/C unit. It’s worth saving for it’s uniqueness, but lots of work to do here.

    3+
    • Chebby

      I’m actually surprised the seller hasn’t picked off the Impala SS hubcaps, the only really valuable thing on the rig.

      1+
  8. Gunner

    C’mon Chebby……what about the 8-Track? Pop in some Jim Stafford and Wildwood Weed, and you could take a trip and never leave the camper!

    9+
  9. Ron Bunting

    Just the thing to stand out in the wally World car parks of America.

    3+
  10. Dave

    Double doors? Just right to take the “little woman” camping…

    5+
  11. rustylink

    I like it – however lack of interior pictures (other the bench seat?!) likely means that the living area is a nightmare and requires a ton of work.

    0
  12. whippeteer

    1963 Chevrolet Corvair corvair-chevrolet truck-project-camper
    63 Chevrolet corvair ramp-side pickup motor home conversion by Wiley,s Body Shop Port Orchard Wash.—– am told it ran until it lost ground—nothing electrical works—has ground at cable—-not much rust—-camper metal is in good shape—some of the aluminum around doors & windows is loose, a few pieces have damage—–it has leaked badly around the much later roof air—–cabinets are more or less gone—bed frame is good—table is not bad—floor is good—–roof is solid and not sagged—good glass—-4 speed—good title——for info. CALL 870-324-4124——-$500 down in 48 hours—–pay in full in 7 days—-SEE OTHER ITEMS FOR SALE

    http://topclassiccarsforsale.com/chevrolet/339705-1963-corvair-camper-conversion-motorhome-project-rat-rod.html

    0
    • Dan

      Thanks for posting this. What a mess!

      0
  13. Jay E.

    With double doors everywhere, where do you suppose the bed was?

    1+
  14. Harvey Peever

    This was an excellent concept. I am surprised it didn’t take off. Maybe the time wasn’t right.

    0
  15. Jim

    I had a 1961 Corvair Greenbrier 95 window van. Made it into a sleep camper, but it looked just like a normal van from the outside. Took it everywhere in High School and College, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Crater Lake. Wish I had one again. Easiest car I ever worked on.

    2+
  16. newfieldscarnut

    Lose the camper and make it back into a pickup . The basic Corvair structure looks very solid for it’s age .

    1+
  17. Mike S.

    When will sellers realize it is to their benefit to take more than a few photos of their vehicle?

    1+
  18. charlie

    My mother had a ’60 Corvair, maintained by a Chevy dealer who liked them, I drove it a lot until the tin worm got it in 1970, or so. It never threw a belt. The worst thing that happened was that the gas heater under the front hood put fumes into the passenger compartment, and the fuel filter at the gas tank clogged up leaving me stranded three times on long hills until someone figured it out. We kept the tire pressure, like 15 lbs in the front and 32 in the rear, and it never even tried to flip around. It was a great car, drove like a Kaman Gia with guts. OR a contemporary Porsche 356, but not squirrely like the Porsche.

    0
  19. DrinkinGasoline

    Poor thing….looks like it was beaten with an ugly stick and the wounds never healed.

    0
  20. Garrett

    I drove a ‘67 Monza 110 hp 4-speed everyday for 4 years in college. It threw the belt once. I put it back on and – in 5 minutes – was driving like always. I did keep a well-supplied toolbox in the trunk up front.

    That is one of the few cars I miss. I just bought a 1960 2-door 500 coupe with a 3-speed manual. The engine was rebuilt by a previous owner. It has no oil leaks and runs strong. My neighbors have commented on how good the engine sounds.

    Corvair: The greatest car GM ever made – in my opinion.

    1+

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