Lakewood Wagon: 1961 Chevrolet Corvair

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

Chevrolet introduced the Corvair in 1960, its first foray into the compact car market. But it was different from the competition, with its air-cooled, rear-mounted engine. A variety of body styles were offered, including station wagons, which only in 1961 would go by the name Lakewood. This example looks original and well-worn, though we’re told it runs after some recent work. From Denver, Colorado, this old workhorse is available here on craigslist for $5,000 OBO. Another vintage tip brought to us by Gunter Kramer!

The Lakewood only came in one configuration, a wagon with four doors. From a visual and technical viewpoint, Lakewood was a lot like Volkswagen’s Type 3 “Squareback”. It used the same unibody platform as the rest of Corvair production along with the car’s Turb-Air six-cylinder engine that displaced 146 cubic inches with 80 hp. A 3-speed manually shifted transaxle was standard but a 4-speed was also available and we’re told that resides in this edition.

Chevy would sell more Corvair wagons in 1961 compared to 1962 with the former working out to about 20,500 units. The seller’s wagon may be original down to the body, paint, exterior, and drivetrain. It could have been idle for a while as we’re told of some repairs that have been done, which include the brakes. But it will need a battery and a new windshield, as we assume the latter is cracked or damaged. And the wagon smokes under acceleration. New tires are said to be at each corner plus an entire extra set is said to be coming along for the ride.

The exterior wears its fair share of patina and the other rust mentioned resides in the driver’s side floorboard. Two interesting options are mentioned, a clock and a tissue dispenser (fancy!). The interior will need an extreme makeover and we assume the front seat covers are not pretty since a sheet sits over them. Instead of cash, the seller may be interested in a trade and identifies a 1971-72 Chevy K20 pickup or K5 Blazer or 1987-91 K5 Blazer being at the top of the shopping list.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. alphasudMember

    Good find! Looks to be a nice project for someone. I like the delux interior. It will be a challenge to find a windshield though. That’s unique to the wagon as is all the glass due to the raised roofline. The engine case code if it’s still the original engine will tell you if it’s the 80hp or the 98-102 engine. Either way smoke on acceleration sounds like worn rings. The last engine I rebuilt on a Corvair had 3/16” ring gaps. She was a little tired.

    Like 9
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars

      The engine does at least to be original to either a Lakewood or Corvair truck, as it has the oil filler in the proper rear position and the tube between the air cleaners is the type used on wagons. I wonder if the extra bumper in the back seat is the “unique to wagon” rear bumper with a dip in the center for the area below the license tag (??)

      Like 2

    Auto City Classics INC, Windshield $389. don’t know if they have one but it is listed. I have seen a 95 point (my estimate) restored Corvair wagon near me and I just love it.

    Like 8
  3. Maggy

    Be cool to go to a food store and pop the hood while young folks watch you throw the groceries in .

    Like 13
    • James

      I do that with my Corvair and both the trunks on my 914

      Like 0
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars

      That’s how they were shown on the showroom brochures and postcards. Mother loading groceries in the front while the kids play in the back seat and around the gas filler…..

      Like 1
  4. Ken

    Is that a Riviera across the street?

    Like 6
  5. Vair Nut

    That looks like a great candidate for full restoration. As mentioned Clarks Corvair does have the windshield in stock, I just spoke with them. They also have door cards etc.

    Like 6
  6. Troy

    Check out Matt’s off road recovery on YouTube and see what he did with one of these, almost makes me want to buy it and ship it to him to see if he can do the same for me

    Like 8
  7. Barry Ervin

    I had a 61 Corvair (Monza 2-door) back in the late 60s. It was slow but it cost me $300 took me from Pensacola to Philly in 20 hours stopping only for gas, and then from Norfolk to Philly and back almost every weekend for 2 years. Never a problem except for a broken window regulator and one u-joint. A co-worker bought a really nice fully restored Corvair wagon about 5 years ago and drove it home for less than the asking price of this one, though.

    Like 2
    • maggy

      This ain’t 5 years ago. Collector cars have skyrocketed the last 2 years or so and are just starting to cool off a little recently I believe due to inflation and high interest rates.

      Like 6
      • Barry Ervin

        This isn’t a nice restored good driving Corvair wagon either. It’s a pile of rusty parts. The car I’m talking about was beautiful, looked and ran almost like new and I remember him paying around $3500-3800 for it.

        Like 1
  8. Kim in Lanark

    They were only offered a couple years. The rear engine platform is really not suitable for wagons. It looks like it has the higher hp engine in it. Two things to watch out for are rotted floorboards and who knows what is under the sheet. You can always get it re upholstered, though. The ‘vairs were always notorious oil leakers-I owned three, my father four. Doing a ring job and while you’re at it replacing the gaskets will go a long way to help.

    Like 1
    • Rick

      The pushrod tube seals usually leaked oil, and that’s what led to all the oil coated exhaust grilles on these cars.

      Like 0
  9. Daniel McBride

    The 1961 Corvairs, including the Lakewood wagon, were also available with a 2 speed Powerglide automatic.

    Like 0
  10. Bob

    Semi-familiar with Corvairs due to my Father being a Chevy trained Corvair tech.back in the day. But I have a question. What is the box under the lighter with an on/off slider switch ?

    Like 0
  11. Bob

    Can anyone tell me what the box under the lighter is? The box has a slide switch with on and off positions

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars

      Heater/fan switch on early cars. Cable-operated. Sliders controlled what/where you wanted heat to go. Switch operated the fan. Fan had multiple speeds from slow to slower!! :) :)

      Like 1
  12. chrlsful

    our problem w/corsair or may B monza spyder was the oil went onto the heater blastin the cahin in brain killin CO. Not the only 1 w/this problem. Damn grandmaw… just maintain yer car pre-gift & I;d have an IQ of 50 steada 20…

    Like 1
  13. Greg GustafsonMember

    Must love oil leaks.

    Like 0
  14. Old Man

    The dreaded “Patina Monster” strikes.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds