Rough but Rare: 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Wagon

Here’s a good one for those of you with experience doing bodywork! This ’62 Corvair Monza wagon is running and complete, but needs rust treatment on the roof and fenders. The work would be worth it, though—this is one of just 2,362 Monza wagons ever made, and it comes with some desirable features. Located in Buellton, California (town slogan: Come for the pea soup, stay for the getting back on the highway!) with a reasonable asking price of $2,750, find this rare little wagon here on craigslist. Our kind thanks to Rocco B. for the tip (archived ad here).

This is a running, driving car, so it’s yet another occasion to ask in frustration why the seller didn’t pull it out of the garage for better pictures. We’ll make do with what we’ve got, though, which do clearly show a car in need of some TLC. The floors, a common Corvair weak spot, are said to be “solid,” though another known trouble area, the A-pillar, is decidedly not.

The interior is a hodgepodge of different colors—best guess, based on the kick panels ahead of the door, is that it was originally blue—and 1964 seat covers, but it does show that this wagon sports a four-speed and bucket seats. These add to the Euro-style sporting nature of the Corvair, making it something like a VW Squareback, with a shallow cargo area in back and a locking trunk in front, plus the added convenience of four side doors—and a fair bit more power. New carpet and headliner kits come with the car, but I’d say there’s a fair bit more to do in here than just those.

Power for this wagon comes from a ’65 Corvair engine, with an early-style air cleaner setup. The dual carbs are new (as are the clutch and brakes), and indicate output of either 95 or 110 horsepower. The original engine comes with the car, too, and is said to have been running when it was removed—but that was 25 years ago, and it was removed for a rebuild, so I wouldn’t plan on just dropping it back in.

This neat little car is being sold by someone who is resigned to the fact that they won’t be able to do the bodywork that they had planned. If that’s not an obstacle for you, this is worth snapping up. If you get really specific about combinations of year, engine, trim level, and so forth, you can certainly find rarer Corvairs than a Monza wagon, but not many, and it has the benefit of a unique, two-year-only bodystyle with both practical appeal and style. The seller is motivated—I hope there’s a buyer out there who is, too!

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Comments

  1. Dirk

    For some reason, I could never much get into Corvairs. Nuthin’ wrong with them I guess, they just don’t appeal to me.

    Here in Albuquerque, we have slogan too but it’s got nuthin’ to do with pea soup. it’s….. Come for vacation, stay for probation.

  2. SAM61

    I like Corvairs in general. I always wonder what a gen 2 wagon with a vista cruiser roof would look like?

    Some Northern California town should take the slogan…”come for the pot-stay for the munchies”.

    • angliagt angliagt Member

      That would be Weed,CA.

  3. Joe Howell

    I like both Corvairs and wagons. Like a lot of things in life, liking and wanting to have one are two different things. I had a Turbo Spyder way back when but don’t want one now but like looking at them. Never thought of the VW Squareback comparison but the extra engine displacement would have been welcome when the family and luggage piled in. Hopefully some Corvair guy will make it the new love of his life.

  4. Beatnik Bedouin

    I like ‘Vairs, generally, but this one looks like it’s probably got more rust than the few images indicate.

    Stopping for Anderson’s Split Pea Soup is a great childhood memory…

  5. Dave Mc

    Close to the coast which possibly means that salt spray cancer got to it. Looks that way to me.

  6. Rube Goldberg Member

    I remember years ago, seeing these wagons with whole back soaked black with oil. Those older highway pictures with the oil strip in the middle, mostly came from these cars. Kidding, but they did leak a lot of oil. I had a friend with a Corvair, he’d buy re-refined oil, 5 quarts for a buck. I think with modern gaskets and sealants, they can be made leak-proof. Cool find.

    • JunkFixer

      Yup, a friend in high school had a ’61 wagon. It had the stand-alone 5 gallon lubrication system pictured below. With the aid of an assistant, the system even worked on the fly:

  7. Chasgould

    Aside from the name, does anyone know what is the difference between a 1961 Lakewood wagon and the 1962 Monza wagon?

    • Nathan Avots-Smith Member

      Excellent question! In each of the two years the wagon was offered, there were two trim levels. In 1961, there was a basic 500, and the upmarket 700 version wore Lakewood badges. In 1962, the 500 was dropped, the 700 lost the Lakewood name, and the 900-series Monza wagon was added. Differences between the different versions are purely cosmetic/equipment. Only the Monza, however, was available with bucket seats. The 700-series wagons had benches and plainer upholstery, while the ’61 500 would have lacked even carpet on the floor.

      • Graeme

        What possible reason could a manufacturer have had for not installing carpet in a vehicle straight from the factory? Would it have had heavy-duty vinyl matting glued in like the Econoline I used to drive?

      • xrotaryguy

        No carpet for more of a utility vehicle option. My Corvair Rampside had no carpet option. I spilled coffee in it one time. It rinsed right out with a garden hose. 👍

  8. KSwheatfarmer

    I recently posted “save all the 2 door wagons”. I had forgotten about these. O what the heck,cary on with plan A.

  9. techwreck

    So much late 80s to early 90s going on here… pink & aqua pinstripes, sweet rear window sticker, dual-blade wipers… brings back some memories ;)

  10. Guy

    Hey just wondering are there any corvair guys to know if they made any wagons in the newer models? Cause dont think I have ever seen one?

    • Nathan Avots-Smith Member

      My dream is to one day build myself a “Latewood.” There are photoshops out there of late-model wagons, but I don’t know that anyone has ever built one. Certainly GM never did; the wagon had already been dropped from the Corvair line by the time they started finalizing the late model design in 1963.

    • Bill T

      The Lakewood was only produced in the 1961 and 1962 model years.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Lakewood

  11. 8banger Dave Member

    The wet squiggly decal on the back is worth the price of admission alone.

  12. 8banger Dave Member

    On the other hand, I spotted a 1961 Monza coupe, intact, for sale here in 303 for $1,200 – tempting…

  13. Robin

    Some things just don’t align. The alternator is “right” for a ‘65 motor but the fan is steel with perimeter vanes (‘62) rather than magnesium as it should be. Surface rust on both as well as the fuel lines indicate these changes were made a long time ago when it lived near the ocean in Ventura.

  14. moosie Craig M. Bryda

    Ernie Kovacs died in one of these.

  15. Bill T

    We had a few come through the shop in the 70’s and 80’s. They rust in strange places and the next owner needs to understand that fixing rust on a uni-body Corvair can be a challenge. This one already has a late model generator on it.

  16. Dick

    I had a Corvair Lakewood as a winter beater during my distant past tenure in Akron, Ohio 45 years ago. Although it was only a little over 10 years old, it had a real wood “floorboard” – the driver’s side floor had rotted away and a piece of 5/8 inch plywood replaced it. I ended up giving it away when I got a marginally better 66 VW winter beater. Owing to their equally bad heating systems, I had to scrape ice from the inside of both their the windshields when I drove on very cold days.

    I gave the VW away also. Not sure who got the better deal in both these give aways…

    • Little_Cars Alexander Member

      I’ve had three, maybe four Lakewoods but never the Monza wagon. I’ve never had a rust-free floor because the windshield was higher on the wagons. Dry rotted rubber weatherstrip = rainwater on the floor. Remember the inadequate defroster on cold days as well. Let’s be clear, too, there was never a factory issued station wagon Corvair after the early model 62s. I always suspected the design for the Vega Kamback wagon may have evolved from some drawings of a late-60s Vair wagon. They do have the same louvers on the back fenders.

  17. Peter

    Is the fan rotor gone on this one?
    Love this for surfing.

    • Z1rider

      Fan is hard to see but it’s there. You have to zoom in to see the vanes.

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