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Shorty Lakewood: 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Wagon

We’ve seen numerous “shorty” conversions over the years, whereby a vehicle is chopped down significantly to yield a model that looks the same as the production variant, just with a much shorter wheelbase. The seller’s car is an unusual one, as most of the shorty vans we see are old Volkswagen Buses or Cadillac models that have gone from four doors to two. This is a Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood wagon that has preserved its rear-engine “shooting brake” configuration with the middle section lopped out; honestly, it looks pretty cool. Find it here on Facebook Marketplace where the seller is open to trades for a golf cart.

Now, I’ve made little effort to hide my love of wagons, so you already know I dig this thing just for that reason alone. But while some of these shortened conversions can look absolutely ridiculous (and many of them are prone to absolutely God-awful handling bordering on dangerous), the proportions of this former Lakewood actually look pretty good. You can tell it’s been chopped down to size but not to the point that you just point and laugh at it. It almost looks European from some angles, reminding me of a Reliant Scimitar from some angles. The seller confirms the engine did still run two years ago.

The interior doesn’t look awful, as you might expect for something that was likely pieced together in a garage or backyard after a few too many beers. The other strike against conversions like these is that they look absolutely miserable to use given the interior has been reduced down to near unusable space, but this Corvair appears to still be comfortable for two adults and their overnight bags. Plus, the seats actually appear to be an upgrade over whatever came standard. The dash doesn’t look like it’s cracked, and if the floors are in good shape, you won’t have to mess with too much of the interior, thankfully. It’s harder to say what shape the rear confines are in, but that’s basically just an engine compartment now.

With those wide wheels (clearly a staggered setup, if you ask me) and the flared rear fenders, this is a mean-looking street machine just begging for a suitably loud exhaust and menacing paint job. The seller said it “sounded good” when it ran off of a gas can two years ago, but that could just mean it didn’t sound like it was about to explode. The possibilities are endless here, but I’d be fine with a stock Corvair drivetrain, an obnoxious exhaust, a period-correct turbocharger kit, and some fresh paint. I guarantee you this chopped Corvair Lakewood wagon would be a fan favorite in any show it enters.


  1. alphasud Member

    OMG what have they done!

    Like 8
  2. 8banger 8banger Member

    Can one pop a wheelie with the mill in back?

    Like 4
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      A wheelie would probably put it on it’s roof.

      Like 4
  3. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Looks like a Gremlin’s old mean uncle.

    Like 12
  4. KC John Member

    I like this. It looks like something you’d see on a rat fink t-shirt. Cartoonist but in a cool way. IMHO. Wish it was close to me

    Like 9

    Someone left a1962 Dodge Dart and a VW 411 in the garage together too long. However, that baby is cool.

    Like 5
  6. mike

    Why do people do this?? Ruined a Corvair wagon

    Like 6
  7. bobhess bobhess Member

    The workmanship would have to outstanding for me to even consider this one. Will agree the proportions are good compared to most of the Shortys. Can only hope the car they cut up wasn’t a pristine specimen. Ditch the mismatched flares for smaller units and get wheels/tires to match and you might have something here.

    Like 3
  8. Sam61

    Maybe the seller would trade for $24 of glass beads?

    If I bought this I would go full goof ball Corvair gasser. Build the engine for whatever max hp is. Raise the front suspension and add spindle rim skinny gasser tires. Bucket seats, 5 point harness/roll bar. Wheelie bar. Killer stereo. 59 Cadillac taillight bullets, beer keg fuel cell in the trunk. Pearl black paint with a bunch of 60’s style scallops. Go for it!

    Like 5
  9. Dave

    The proportions of this look a little odd to me. If someone were to stretch the car about a foot and a half, say right behind the rear of the doors, I’d say you’d have a pretty Kool Kustom going on.

    Like 2
    • Russell C

      Or, it would make a great hot hatchback at the current length ….. except the rear wheels would have to be moved a foot back or more ….

      Like 1
  10. Russell

    Every “shorty” I’ve seen just looks so wrong from every angle. This one is no exception and is just such a waste of time, money, effort, etc. Design schools should buy one and keep it front and center to remind future designers of whzt not to do.

    Like 4
  11. tje

    Looks like the only people who could drive that thing would have to be under 4’6”

    Like 1
  12. Cadmanls Member

    Don’t think this was really thought out. That seat doesn’t leave much room for a driver seem too large. Sort of looking like a cartoon car, the flairs and tire size outback probably don’t help the power or small amount get to the road. I hope that wasn’t a decent Lakewood Vair.

    Like 1
  13. Joe

    If GM had only sent them out of the factory this way they may have sold better and longer. 🙄

    Like 0
  14. George Birth

    Looking at the condition of this one I’d pass. Too much work needed to even finish it. I suggest he use this for a golf cart, it’s short enough.

    Like 1
  15. 38ChevyCoupeGuy

    Question….. Why all the hate on the fabricator/ fabrication? I,for one think it looks pretty cool. Use guys that can do our own work, pretty much think one way about all the haters comments. It is that these folks have never cut, welded, expanded shrunk, bead rolled,bent a piece of sheet metal on anything, must less tried to build a car that would please the masses. Thumbs up to the builder, good job, do what you do and let the hate motivate!

    Like 0
  16. 38ChevyCoupeGuy

    Edit: Us guys

    Like 0
  17. gippy

    When I was a kid, there was a guy who had taken 2 Studebaker Champions and attached the 2 noses together- It was crazy to see this thing driving around like it was going backwards.

    Like 0
  18. BrianT BrianT Member

    It’s a good thing that this is in Utah or I’d be tempted. I like 370zpp’s description and I’m sure he knows why. I like this car.

    Like 1
  19. Howard Boles

    Cool conversion. If it was close to home I would buy it. would make a good conversation piece at car shows and Friday night burgers.

    Like 0
  20. tubegeek

    I would totally buy this but I’m a little short this month.

    Like 2
  21. Wayne

    OK, interesting. But in my humble opinion, they cut out too much. Maybe only cut out half of the rear doors, but not all of it! Then it could be proportioned correctly. Again, my opinion!

    Like 0
  22. Gary

    It is not horrible like shorty 55-57 Chevys are. A gasser would be cool but the flares gotta go

    Like 0

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