Custom Corvair: 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Van

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

Here’s your standard, everyday, run-of-the-mill, factory-made van. Or, somewhere underneath that hand-formed metal work is a standard van. This 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Van is listed on the Copart website and it will go up for auction on January 5th. Thanks to Nicholas T for sending in this submission!

Wait, is that rust already and we just got started?! Yes, my friends, it is. But, no worries, your local Maaco could patch that corrosion and repaint that door to closely, but not exactly, match the adjacent door and you’ll be on to the next project on your to-do list. One step at a time, and don’t forget to always pay in cash so your spouse doesn’t find out that you even have this thing tucked away in a 10×20 storage unit.

I assumed that this was all custom fiberglass, but supposedly it’s all metal. That’s even more amazing craftsmanship if it’s metal. This van apparently has been on the show circuit for about 20 years but it looks like it’s fallen into a bit of disrepair. One thing they don’t show, for some odd reason, is the custom side gull-wing door! I ran across a photo of it while researching this one.

A manual transmission is nice to see in there, but no word on if it’s a 3 or a 4-speed. And actually, considering this is such an old conversion, it looks pretty tight inside this velvet, quilted-vinyl, and shag-carpet-lined love machine. Well, some parts, like the rear compartment, aren’t quite as nice as others are. This whole van looks like it hasn’t been maintained in quite a few years. Here’s an interior photo that I found in researching this van.

As is usually the case with Copart auctions, there’s pretty much 0.04% worth of useful information given about the vehicles being auctioned. The engine looks pretty nice, but I found a photo of this van from a few years ago and this is what the engine looked like. It’s amazing what a lack of maintenance and upkeep will do to a person, and to a vehicle. This should be a Corvair boxer-six with about 80 hp, but I have no idea what it has, or had, before ending up in the state that it’s in now. Hopefully this van can be saved! Are you a custom van fan?

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  1. mark

    Looks like a cross between Scooby Doo and The Jetsons.

  2. Jim Mc

    This is more Shaggy than Scooby Doo.

    You’re on a roll today, Scotty! Keep’em comin’!

  3. Bingo

    Copart auctions have never really sat well with me. They remove a percentage of your bid from your bank account at the time you place your bid… very odd to me. Sometimes reserves are not disclosed. Sometimes the vehicles are privately owned and on consignment. The amount of information given is terrible at best. I think copart could do a better job.

    Enough about that rant. The van looks sweet. I’d love to own this thing, fix it up and research it’s past to see where it’s been…

    I was a kid in the mid seventies when vans were “all the rage” and I loved them but my father, on the other hand didn’t. He called them “hippie hot rods”.

    Sorry dad, I dig it man!

  4. DAN

    AIR CLEANERS !!!!!!

    they are not just for looks people,lol

    so many adds, no air filter, no thx.

    • the one

      usually air cleaners are removed to get a better view of the engine

  5. AMcD28

    This is something else! The design of it reminds me of the 1980’s European Ford Transit. Anyone see that too?

  6. JW

    Looks like something Mike Meyers would be driving while shagging, just not me.

  7. jaygryph

    This has a 140 hp engine. They have four carburetors. Two primary, and two secondary ones that are only open when you mash it. One of the carbs seems to be missing, which says something is wrong with the engine. You can easily run it with just the two primaries and then it will function as a 2barrel engine like most of them that came out of the factory, but you have to blank off where the secondary carbs went, and remove both since there is no intake crossover between left and right. Right carbs only feed right side, left only feeds left side.

    I think this thing is awful, but I love it for that reason. It’s just so weird. Looks like it was pretty well made back in the day, tho not sure what day that might have been. Seems very 70s or early 80s.

    I’d rock it. Hopefully someone picks it up and gets it back on the road.

    • Walter Joy

      Looks like the 4th one is up against the front of the engine bat, next to what looks like a fuel filter. Obviously not connected

    • ACZ

      Notice that the carbs are mounted 90 degrees off. Fuel line fittings pointing the wrong direction. Also mickey mouse carb linkage – non OEM. Looks like it has a 140 head on one side and a 95 or 110 head on the other side. Interesting way of doing things.

  8. Vince Habel

    Probably a 95 HP engine.

  9. Leaf36


  10. Wm Lawrence

    Pop quiz:

    Two carbs = 110 HP. Four carbs =140 HP.

    Three carbs = ?

    Please show your work….

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Staff

      Thanks for the carbs / horsepower info, folks!


      110 horsepower divided by 2 carbs = 55 horsepower per carb… 140 horsepower divided by 4 carbs = 35 horsepower per carb.. some 2 carb engines had 80 horsepower that is 40 horsepower per carb. turbos had 150 and 180 horsepower per 1 carb, and some 2 carb engines had 84 horsepower and some 2 carb engines had 95 horsepower I believe add all horsepowers 110+140+80+84+95=509 total horsepower….add # of total carbs of same engines=12 carbs 509 horsepower divided 12 carbs=42.416 horsepower per carb, so a 3 carb engine would have 127.25 horsepower. don’t count turbos since they are one carb and force-fed engines my vair has a 66 toronado engine and one 4 barrel so its 385 horsepower per carb,, beat that

  11. Bob S

    Just take a chance. You can always get a Corvair running. Mine has basically sat since the Mid 80’s and with a carb rebuild runs like it did in 1974.

  12. Cubs win

    Groovy man

  13. mark

    The lost concept vehicle for the Pontiac Aztec has been found!


    in 63 there was only the 2carb 102 horse engine and the 150 horse turbo, so this is probably a 140 horse engine so 3 carbs times 35 horse per carb equals 105 mr eds

  15. misterlou

    What’s disturbing, well one the things, is that the head on the right has the correct positioning of the carbs on a 140 engine. The head on the left has the correct positioning for the single carb 110 engine. Maybe what we’re seeing is a motor with different heads?

  16. Rustytech

    I have no need for a van, but I like this one. If that is truly all metal fabrication, hats off to the guy that did it. This definitely deserves to be preserved.

  17. ROTAG999

    Danger Danger Will Robinson…..kinda kool lost in the 60’s or space…..

  18. S Ryan

    Looks like 3rd carb is just for looks? Open fuel line on it and clean.
    Very cool old Van. Wish I had room just to see how they made everything work.

  19. Douglas Timothy Jones

    Looks like fun when you get it right, but a headache to figureout what and how everything is connected and configured..all north American parts not hard..Burnout007 .

  20. Car Nut Seattle

    Sweet looking Corvair custom van. It’s a shame that this version never made it into production. I can see this being the 2nd generation Corvair Van.

  21. ClassicCarFan

    OK, I’ve been trying to be positive with any comment I post on this site…but I feel like I’ve stumbled into a re-make of ” the Emperor’s Clothes” here….

    The front end of this van is hideous. 2 carb, 4 carb… doesn’t make a lot of difference, that snout is awful. It makes the GM “dustbuster” minivans look handsome.

  22. American_badaz

    Wrong coast for me. I am waiting for the 70’s van craze to come back around. It’s only a matter of time!

  23. Car Nut Seattle

    I’ve seen Corvair vans before, but never this.

  24. Busyditch

    I wouldn’t trust Copart for a minute. They rented space from my company in NJ after hurricane Sandy to salvage the cars ravaged by flooding. They move all of the cars with fork lifts and treat them like scrap. I saw so many classics get tossed around like toys. Many were loaded into containers to ship to China for scrap. I registered with them to bid on some cars and bikes that I was able to inspect but did not like their shady methods of taking money up front so I backed out

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Stories similar to yours about the treatment was what scared me away from them too. Lots of people bidding / buying and then going to pickup the car only to find that it had been manhandled by a forklift and/or lots of bits and pieces missing.

      So, you have to be present every step of the way. Bid / Win / Tow.

  25. Ck

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a custom corvair van before.I like it ,I woulden’t want it ,but I like it.

  26. Mitch

    I am in the auto transport business and 70% of my business is picking up cars bought by my customers in Copart. One of my customers also lets me buy under his account so I can buy without any up front money. I buy lightly damaged Victory motorcycles to fix, ride and sell to buy more. The reason Copart sells a lot of classic cars is that international buyers can buy, pay for and arrange transport to a port without getting up from their chair. I worked for Copart during Sandy and there were lots of classics and exotics that were manhandled, but to be fair, there were a lot of cars and they were all total losses. Consignment cars are not treated that way. If you accept Copart for what it is and how it works, you can find worthwhile stuff, though I must say I’ve only broken even with my bikes, the only profit being the fun of fixing and riding them.

  27. Steven Tamer

    Its a Salvage auction,everything gets trashed or has the chance of being hammered in the yard and if your not willing to deal with that,best to stay away. I’ve seen the shady side with these guys in previous years..Anyway I’m glad it got posted and I bought it yesterday 3100..The first salvage vehicle I have bought without actually looking at first..I am expecting it to be non running and needing drive train work to say the least


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