Minty Estate Body: 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood

When it comes to wagon variants, the Chevy Corvair Lakewood was one of the prettier domestic models conceived. Rarely seen today, this example is said to need restoring but not be at basketcase levels of need. It has been parked for the last 20 years, but its North Carolina location seems to have kept rust to a minimum and wherever it was stored kept the paint in decent shape. Find it here on craigslist for $8,500 in Charlotte. 

Like all Corvairs, the flat-six cylinder air-cooled engine is in the back of the car, making an unusual long-roof even more unconventional compared to its peers of the era. The Lakewood offered an impressive amount of storage space inside, and despite its convenient packaging, was only produced for two years with a tick over 32,000 examples built.

The seller says the Lakewood did last run about four years ago, which offers some hope that getting it to fire once again won’t take months of work. The interior is in fair condition – not perfect, but a cabin you can live with while the mechanical bits are sorted. The paint doesn’t strike me as original, but it’s hard to determine whether the door jambs sport matching paint or not.

This Lakewood is equipped with a two-speed Powerglide transmission, so acceleration will be leisurely. While a Corvair of any configuration is more desirable with a turbocharged mill and manual transmission, the rarity of the Lakewood makes this example an appealing project despite the slushbox. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Ikey H. for the find.

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Comments

  1. Dullard

    It’s a 61 not a 62.

  2. 71FXSuperGlide

    “acceleration will be leisurely” LOL

    I wonder how many of these 32,000 or so which were built are left? Can’t be many.

    Like 2
  3. Wayne

    I have always liked these. But now they look disportionately long. I think it would be good looking as a 2 seat wagon. (remove about 75% of the rear doors lengthwise and have a 1 piece rear/side glass.)
    Ok, I will go back in my cage again.

    Like 1
  4. David Rhoces

    ‘ pretty ‘ …it ain’t

    Like 2
  5. Kenneth Carney

    Looks like the same model Ernie Kovacs
    was killed in back about 60 or 61. Maybe
    that’s why Chevy quit making them. Oh
    sure, I know it’s not the car’s fault, but
    every time I see one I think of Mr. Kovacs
    and how many others had to be cut out
    of these things when they were involved
    in major traffic accidents. Nice little car
    but not my cup of tea.

    Like 1
    • Roy L Fuchs

      Thanks for the mention about Ernie Kovacs. I had forgotten how great a comedian he was. As a side note, speed and wet pavement and not the car is what killed him.

  6. Beatnik Bedouin

    Yes, Kenneth, Earnie Kovacs died when his Corvair wagon hit a telephone pole.

    The biggest issue with Corvairs was the need for differential tire pressures front/rear, and most people didn’t check their ‘Vairs tires, and if I hazard a guess, few grease monkeys knew what the correct settings where when asked to check – these were the days when service stations actually gave service, i.e. checking oil and water, tire pressures, cleaned windows and even pumped gas for customers.

    I’ve always liked the Corvair wagons, and to answer Kenneth’s philosophical question, Chevy pretty much replaced the model with the Chevy II longroof.

    Nice to see that one’s still around.

    Like 6
  7. Dave

    As featured in the movie “Minions” .

    Like 2
  8. scottymac

    The Craigslist has the year correct as a 1961 model. In 1962, the wagon was available as a 700 or part of the Monza lineup.

    Like 1
  9. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Of course the car is a repaint, and by a budget-style color company. The inside of the trunk lid is probably the original color. There are issues I see easily, which may be expensive and time-consuming to correct here. My experience tells me that if someone says a car has been sitting without being run for 4 years, you double the time to be close to reality. Check the date on the inspection sticker, it is “8 99”.

    Note the channels surrounding the trunk, and the back corners of the lid itself, if you want a clue regarding what the shell looked like before paint. This appears to be a quick powerwash and vacuum job, with no attempt to make the car runnable. Observe the edges of the back hatch lid; all that accumulated muck wasn’t even wiped off? The engine compartment shows a lot of evidence of rodent nesting. Allow me to remind BarnFinders that this is motor is air-cooled. Crud deposited on top of cooling fins, whether cylinders or heads, means blockage of flow, which leads to hot spots and expensive failures. Being aluminum heads, if moisture was trapped in a cylinder, the combustion chamber may well be severely corroded. Likely that this engine will need a total rebuild. The transmission also. No underside shots, and the car has been sitting on a dirt floor. Could need floor boards, or unibody structure work!

    I know that there have been many comments in this forum regarding cleaning up a car before offering for sale, but in this instance, the seller did not do himself any favor by posting the “as found” photo. That picture shows how the car should be valued, IMO. Washing a car does not increase its worth by thousands of dollars. Nothing has been done to merit the profit being asked. This car is no closer to being driveable than it was when sitting under the shed roof, it just looks cleaner.

    I know that it will rankle some, but I am going to use a term here:

    Flipper. Note that I don’t have any issue with someone making a profit by finding/fixing/selling anything. I did that for many years with Rolex watches. But this CL poster appears to be the kind of guy I’d stay well far away from. That type finds and obtains something for a price close to the material it is parked on (“dirt cheap”) and throws it out at 10X the money after a superficial exterior scrub. No effort, maximum profit. I’ll guess that the car was bought for less than $1000. Give the finder a big fee, and double his money. $2K, that’s it, unless and until he spends the time and effort to make the car reliably runnable. That’s the only way he’d be earning anywhere near what he asks.

    So what will this car need to be driven? (Note that the $20K figure in the advertisement would be for something near a show quality car, which is SO FAR removed from this condition!)

    Rebuilds of engine, transmission, brakes and fuel systems, including lines.

    And you’ll still have a car with Earl Scheib paint, mediocre seat covers, and the potential to have many other problems related to the body, interior, and electrical components. Is this a Bondo bucket? Maybe. There appears to be bubbling at the lower rear corner of both passenger side doors. Is the underside terminally rusty? Maybe. Has the interior been exposed to moisture? Maybe. Look at the inside of the driver’s door, and observe the top of the panel and the rusty metal above it. Speaks volumes.

    I am a fan of Corvairs. Learned to drive in one in the 60’s, still own it. Have owned others, driven and seen many, helped friends with theirs.

    At $8500, a buyer should be able to fly in and drive this car home, several states away from Atlanta.

    Like 11
  10. Maestro1

    DayDreamBeliever has said it all. Sitting on the trailer without a thorough inspection makes it about an $800 piece. Every escalation after that needs hard proof.

  11. giade Flightning

    ’71 FX’s ” acceleration will be Leisurely” is GRRREAT!

    Like 2

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