Cool Shop Truck: 1962 Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside

I’ve always liked it when manufacturers produce daring vehicles, and the 1962 Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside is one of those vehicles. While it was similar to the Volkswagen Transporter Pickup concept, the Rampside was a more modern design. That it floundered in the sales race and was withdrawn from sale after four years in the market was a shame, but thanks to this fact, they were built in low numbers. That makes them a quirky classic that has developed a strong following in the market. The owner of this Rampside has recently revived it after 15-years and has decided that it needs to go to a new home. Located in Hutchinson, Kansas, you will find the Chevy listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $4,578 off the back of some spirited action. This is a No Reserve auction, but the seller indicates a BIN option of $10,500 for anyone who wants to bypass the auction process.

The owner of the Ermine White Rampside is pretty brutal in his description of the vehicle. He refers to it as having a ton of rust, and there is a limited amount visible in various exterior locations. My concern revolves around how extensive the rust is. The lack of significant visible rust is a worry when combined with the owner’s assessment. That makes me wonder whether there are problems with the Rampside’s underside and if its structural integrity has been compromised. He also notes that the aged appearance that it has with the signwriting and stripe is not genuine, but a look that he created himself. All of the signage is hand-painted, and the owner has applied a coat of matte clear across the whole truck. He also added the period-correct wheels and tires to provide the perfect finishing touch. This is one of those vehicles that leaves me torn. Usually, I’m not too fond of the concept of faux patina, but the owner of the Rampside has done such an excellent job that it would almost be a shame to perform any significant restoration work on the truck. If the rust can be addressed while retaining the appearance, I think that the buyer could be onto a winner. The external chrome is respectable for a survivor-grade vehicle, and there are no problems with the glass. When you look at the Rampside’s overall appearance, there’s no doubt that it would make a cool and eye-catching shop truck for the right business.

When Chevrolet developed the Corvair concept, it was bold and daring in a market that favored flashy presentation and acres of chrome. The entire range had an almost austere appearance, but it was also groundbreaking. Chevrolet drew a lot of its inspiration for the Corvair range from Volkswagen and nowhere is this better demonstrated than when you compare the Rampside with the VW Transporter Pickup. Both are forward-control vehicles, and both feature air-cooled engines hanging out the back. Even the interiors are comparable, as they were designed to be comfortable and hard-wearing, but with few luxury touches. This truck features an AM radio as its sole nod to luxury, but the interior does continue the theme that the owner developed with the exterior signage and stripes. If the buyer intends to retain this appearance, the interior will need nothing. The upholstery is free from rips and tears, while the rubber mat is in excellent condition. The painted surfaces and the wheel show their share of wear, and both would require attention if the buyer wants to return the Rampside to as-new condition. However, nothing demands immediate attention, and the vehicle could be driven and enjoyed immediately.

The owner provides no engine photos, but the rear-engined Rampside should be powered by a 145ci air-cooled falt-six engine that would have been producing 80hp. These ponies find their way to the rear wheels via a 3-speed manual transaxle, while neither the steering nor brakes feature power assistance. When the owner purchased the Rampside, it had been sitting in storage for 15-years. He flushed the fuel system and coaxed it back to life. After performing any required maintenance work and fitting the new wheels and tires, he has deemed the vehicle roadworthy. He says that it runs and drives well, cruising happily on the open road between 50 and 60mph. The only fault that he identities is the clutch, which doesn’t engage smoothly. He says that it works okay once you get the hang of it, but it sounds like it might be due for replacement soon.

There was no single reason why the Corvair 95 Rampside failed to fire in the market, but it did fail. Some blame intense competition from Ford and Volkswagen, while others blame the loss of cargo space due to the rear-engine design. Chevrolet also undermined its own product with the C-10, and there is no doubt that this more conventional pickup poached sales away from the Rampside. Chevrolet only managed to sell 4,102 examples of the Rampside during the 1962 model year. This represented a sales plunge of more than 60% over the previous twelve months, and it sealed the fate of the Rampside. It isn’t clear how many 1962 Rampsides remain on our roads today, but I have seen various sources that quote numbers in the three-figure territory. The owner of this one states that buyers will struggle to find a roadworthy example for his BIN price, and this is no idle claim. Figures of $15,000 are common, while pristine examples can command prices of twice that number. If you bought this Rampside, would you retore it, or would you retain the look that the owner has created with this great classic?

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Comments

  1. misterlou Member

    I’m so completely over the bogus patina and distressed signage.

    Appears that there’s not a lot left of the lower door sills. Van/Truck motors should have the angled oil filler that pokes out the back hatch. This one does have the windshield washer option which was kinda rare. 4 speed on this is quite the pot-stirring experience.

    Clark’s in MA has everything you need.

    Like 15
  2. Steve Clinton

    Faux signage? Why?

    Like 4
    • Derek

      Because hipsters.

      Like 5
  3. Ralph

    Drove one of these around L.A. the summer of 1975 for my job. Talk about a scary death trap. Thankful when the motor finally blew up, and boss bought me an old Econoline to risk death in as a replacement.
    We bid tree-fiddy.
    Fake patina sucks, so does rust.

    Like 10
  4. greg

    fake patina? no way
    if you want octane put avgas 115/145 octane
    if rust is what you can see then worth restoring,
    remember shop class in high school corvair engine is what i got to rebuild

    Like 1
  5. Hank Kaczmarek

    I have a 62 Rampside in my Garage currently under restoration.
    The “Angle” Oil filter was NOT a FC required part. It was for A/C cars.
    I looked for over 20 years before I found one in restorable condition, i.e.—VERY LITTLE RUST. But I’ve still done a bunch of beatin’, bangin’, measuring, and welding in new metal just in the area where the Gas Tank and Front Crossmember are. It’s not going to be a 104K show truck like the one that went on Mecum earlier this year, but it will tote my firewood and garbage cans in fine style. One of my 4 Corvairs.

    Like 17
    • Ralph

      What is it like to drive one of these on the freeway? If memory serves right it seemed the front end was very light at 55-65 mph on the 405 back then (1975). Scared the snot out of me, especially passing big trucks.
      Wish you luck on all your project work.

      • Hank M Kaczmarek

        A front air dam makes a bunch of difference. The Ford Aerostar fits well. Aftermarket swaybars help too.
        As for speed, they weren’t made to go today’s 70MPH hwy speeds, not even empty.
        Stock 80 HP, and rear ends geared to handle a max of about 60 mph.

        Like 2
      • xrotaryguy

        I’ve driven both the van and the truck over 80 mph. The van we was pulling a trailer. Both were very unsafe at that speed.

        The 140 and turbo engines provide adequate power for higher speeds and available gear ratios and taller wheels and tires do the rest. But the chassis gets a little squirrelly approaching 70.

        Like 1
  6. Greg

    I drive a 64 rag top and would be more than embarrassed to have a half sanded out paint job called faux ‘petina’ around me. Rust holes and sanded paint just does not say class. Just saying for me.

    Like 6
  7. Phlathead Phil

    By today’s standards this is a landscapers dream come true. Just think what the Corvair engine would have been had Chevy made it water cooled. I’ve had this running battle with engineers my whole life. Getting some of them to think outside of the box is an impossibility. A distinct few are true geniuses.

    Like 2
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      You don’t think the GM engineers were “thinking outside the box” when the Corvair (Holden II) was being developed? Water cooled – pffffttt. What’s the fun in that? Comments about the designers and engineers at the Big Three from the postwar era through maybe 1972 shouldn’t be called into question. It’s what came after — fuel crises, Federal safety regs, the public’s lust for front wheel drive and room for a soccer team — that brought the industry to its knees and produced the watered down crossover vehicles we have today.

      Like 2
  8. james j talis jr

    Relax everyone, Faux patina will die off just as slammed and contorted mile-high suspensions. He is expressing his artistic desires. I can see the rampside for what it is, a piece of classic GM metal The new owner will determine the path for his new vehicle.

    There is a body artist here in my hometown that produces some of the best Faux Patina I have ever seen. To each his own, Pease.

    Like 2
  9. Vince H

    Loadside is rarer bit not as useful.

  10. xrotaryguy

    My 61 Rampside is hands-down the absolute most practical truck I’ve ever owned. It’s amazing nobody has copied the ramp concept. There are so many fwd vans these days (with a low floor), it’s certainly doable.

    Now if only my old Rampside would stay running haha!

    Like 2
  11. chrlsful@aol.com

    ramp sides R nice, 1st X I could C the pad it rests on (cuz white paint?) cept 4 the huge lump in the cargo bay. Better traction, no 160# weight init like the “E”.
    Ck em all out on vintage vans, great site…
    I like the 1st gen (’64/6) cheb, 1st yr made simultaneously w/this’un.

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