Porch Find Update: 1961 Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood Wagon

Back on May 5th, 2020, we featured this 1961 Corvair Lakewood Wagon that had been stashed under a porch. Fast forward to this past weekend and reader Kyle S emailed us to see if we would like to receive an update on the car. It turns out that after seeing our article on it, he just had to have it! He’s since sent us a bit about the experience of buying it and current photos. I’ll let Kyle tell you about it in his own words below.

FROM Kyle – So we drove from Ohio to Minnesota, about 13-14  hours (we left at 9 pm Sunday and arrived at the seller’s home at 1 pm Monday) depending on gas stops. We managed to avoid all the protests in the major cities, (Fort Worth, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis) and got to his place to see the Corvair under that porch/barn. We rolled it out for me to inspect, it had lots of patina, holes in the front floors and rear, plus some holes in the rockers. The suspension mounts just had surface rust and no major issues. So we pushed it up onto my trailer and paid the man.

We stopped a few places in Minneapolis and I snapped a picture of it on the trailer. Headed back to Ohio, it took another 14 hours and got it home. 

Once home I took a few pictures. Then I started the task of using SOS pads to get rid of the surface rust, as I will be keeping the patina look on this wagon. That took a few days, but I finished that up today. I also pulled the back seat out and the heater boxes to get rid of the tons of mouse crap.

It might have taken a few days to keep the patina and get the shine, but it was well worth the effort. Up next is the engine. Once my parts from Clark’s arrive I will get started on getting it running. It does turn over, just doesn’t fire. 

It sounds like this was quite the journey, but it looks like it was well worth the drive! I for one can’t wait to see how this one turns out. The floors are going to be a lot of work to fix, but it sounds like Kyle is the right person for the job! He’s gotten right to work on it and the hard work is already paying off. Our thanks to him for sharing his story with us. Be sure to check out all of Kyle’s photos below and wish him luck!

Have you purchased a classic car that’s you’ve seen here on Barn Finds? If so, we would love to see it! Email us at mail@barnfinds.com with photos and the story of buying it.

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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Wait….you drove from Ohio to Minnesota via Ft. Worth? That’s the long way I think.

    Like 9
    • flmikey

      He may have meant Ft. Wayne…beautiful job on the clean up so far, Kyle!

      Like 7
      • Rex Kahrs Member

        Of course he meant Ft. Wayne, up Rt. 30. There’s no joke in that!

        Like 2
    • Storm

      Whoops yes Ft. Wayne

  2. Tempo Matador Ray

    Hey Kyle,
    Nice to hear that you still have the spirit-of-adventure. Taking a road trip to pick up your treasure is part of the excitement. Those Corvair station wagons are unique and will make a cool cruiser. I like the preservation approach you have taken. One thing that I would suggest to follow up on is the rubber seal on the inside engine deck lid. Replace this as necessary or you’ll find yourself being asphyxiated by all of the engine related fumes. Continue to innovate not duplicate 👍

    Like 6
  3. Pat L Member

    Congratulations Kyle, I am always happy to see a fellow BarnFinds reader following up on one of my tips.

    Like 7
    • Tony Primo

      Keep them coming Pat!!!

      Like 3
  4. On and On On and On Member

    Congratulations Kyle. Well done. Did you figure out if the transmission was 3 or 4speed? When I spoke to the owner he was unsure. if you send me a picture of the data tag I’ll translate it for you. That will give you all the original specs………including the trans and any optional original equipment. Text it to me if you wish at 847-682-9133………

    Like 8
  5. Little_Cars

    “Optional original equipment” is a bit of a misnomer on a 61 Corvair 500 wagon! Maybe full wheelcovers, heater and horn ring were options? Love the story, I’ve lived through many Corvair extraction stories since the mid-1960s. Be prepared to seal the windshield or renew weatherstripping here or you will have the water leaks that make these wagons rust out so bad on the front floorboard.

    Like 3
    • On and On On and On Member

      Sorry, I mean’t original equipment that was an option, not aftermarket. It would be listed on that tag……..

      Like 4
  6. John H

    Way to go, Kyle! I’ve had a number of Corvairs but never managed to snag a wagon. Looks like a good candidate for a refresh and then you’re ready to cruise.

    Like 4
    • Little_Cars

      @John H, where are you geographically? There is one on the Facebook Marketplace right now if you live within a few hours of Tennessee/KY/Alabama. I know of a rough Lakewood in a field in Murfreesboro Tennessee and have the owners name.

      • John H

        Thanks for the tip, but I’m close to Harrisburg, PA. Plus, we’re in the middle of getting my father-in-law’s house ready to put on the market. It really didn’t have anything done to it in the last 40+ years and has tons of needs just to make it show better and hopefully sell quickly at a decent price. With that project there’s no way I’m gonna convince my dear wife to let me go on a 3-4 day road trip.

        Like 2
  7. Gary JORDAHL

    Nice find Kyle. Where in Ohio, im here too, may drive the turbo car over and see!

    Like 1
  8. chrlsful

    I hope he ‘clears’ the patina in the floor boards, bends up the rear bumper like the frnt, etc. Then he’ll know how I feel abt it on the roof, etc. I’m all ways amazed about ‘fashion’ choices (cars, hair cuts, home furnishing, clothing, etc)…

  9. Kenn

    A serious question: How do you shine patina? I can see in one of the photos (hood) that it was done.

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      Don’t laugh, but on one of our two Lakewoods owned when they were only a few years old, my dad used linseed oil to bring out the shine on a faded pale blue 61 like the subject vehicle. It would bring a shine to the car, along with bugs and tree sap making reapplication a necessity!

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I’ve seen examples of patina (worn out paint) being clear coated to make it shine. Looks fake as hell.

      Like 2
      • Little_Cars

        Tom Cotter’s 62 Ford Country Sedan (longroof) had it’s roof painted in a fake rust patina using cornstarch or some sort of powder added to the paint, then finished with a clearcoat.

  10. Storm

    Hello all! I just noticed this article! I have been busy with work & then the work on restoring this Lakewood!
    Starting from the upper comments
    Yes I meant Fort Wayne. Whoops
    As for the Engine cover gasket, I will do so before driving!
    It is a 3 speed but it had a original quick shift attached. I since traded a friend for a nice original 3 speed without the quick shift. Plus the shift rod had been moved & welded. I have decoded the tag but I will include it at the bottom! Plus texting too.
    I live in Warren Ohio
    I followed Vice Grip Garages advice of using SOS pads to scrub away the “rust” sections to bring back the paint. As for the patina areas, I used SOS then linseed oil to prevent it from going any further.

    Anyway I will try to update as I keep chugging along with this restoration!

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