Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Show and Go: 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Wagon

The Corvair wagon was a weird idea. All manner of Corvairs were selling well in 1961, but the new Lakewood wagon – not so much. With the motor in the rear, the cargo floor was high. This diminished the interior space, increased the difficulty of loading, and made the “way back” less useful as a kid’s refuge. The front trunk, advertised heavily by Chevrolet, had to carry the spare, so the space was awkward and not as useful as billed. As if these drawbacks weren’t discouraging enough, loading the Corvair wagon exacerbated the worst parts of its already touchy handling. Meanwhile, the Falcon wagon – with its conventional layout – was spanking the Corvair on the sales floor, outselling it by 3:1. For 1962, Chevrolet eased out a few more Corvair wagons, shedding the Lakewood name, but sales were abysmal. With the rising popularity of the Chevy II wagon, the Corvair version was killed off after only two model years. Here on eBay is a 1962 Corvair 700 wagon, bid to $13,300, reserve not met. This wagon is located in Humble, Texas. Dr Ron submitted this tip – thanks!

Before we tackle the engine bay, a moment of appreciation for the sheer variety of Corvair engines. All were air-cooled flat-sixes, but displacement ran from 140 cu. in. to 164 cu. in. and each engine had more than one configuration, varying the horsepower. Furthermore, almost any Corvair engine bay will take almost any Corvair engine with a minimum of fuss. So engine swaps are not uncommon at all – nor does anyone care about “matching numbers”. In the 1962 wagon, three engines were available: the base 145 “Turbo Air” with 80 hp, the “Super Turbo Air” with 102 hp, and for the Monza wagon, an 84 hp version of the “Turbo Air” available only with cars equipped with a Powerglide automatic. This car sports the crossed-flags emblem on its tail indicating it came with the Super Turbo Air at 102 hp. Its transmission is the Powerglide.

It’s tough to complain about this interior, with the exception of the dash “rug” and the steering wheel wrap – I always wonder what’s hiding under these. But the seats are great and this headliner looks new. The trunk is spiffy – the spare is present as well as the underhood insulation. The ’62 carries its factory single-circuit master cylinder in here, against the cabin wall. Easy access makes it simple to swap to the later dual-circuit system. A bench seat was standard in the 700; the Monza wagon got bucket seats.

The underside is not perfectly straight, but I’m not seeing any rust to speak of. Given the lackluster sales when the wagon hit Chevy showrooms, these are pretty rare. Rarity has not translated to high prices –  a blessing if you are looking to buy your first classic. The Monza wagon with a four-speed is the top of the heap in the $15k to $25k region, but this very clean 700 should sell at the lower end of that range, even with the Powerglide.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice example. Friend just sold his red wagon that was in as good condition as this car. Just don’t see many any more.

    Like 14
  2. Doone

    Doubt that the dash carpet is hiding anything except maybe some scratches in the paint. The early, early
    Corvair dash were metal.

    Like 19
    • Campbell Chrisman iii

      Had a 63 Corvair Spyder.Were fun cars to drive.

      Like 16

      All dashes were metal, however it could be ordered with a padded dash as an option, which simply put a vinyl padded covering OVER the metal IP.

      Like 6
  3. Ralph Cross

    No one ever tells you what kind of heater it has my 1960 had a gasoline heater it worked much better than the manifold type. No exhaust smell and it was located in the trunk.

    Like 12
    • Hank kaczmarek

      1960 models ALL had gas heaters
      61-64 Cars and Vans/Wagons/Trucks had gas heat as an option
      In 65 only an option on the Vans. No Trucks after 64. No Vans in 66.

      Like 7
  4. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. I’ve never seen a Corvair wagon. I’ve seen plenty of Corvair 4 doors, Greenbrier vans, pickup trucks and convertibles, but for some reason no station wagons. I don’t get why more weren’t produced.

    Like 11
    • Andy Frobig

      The article makes some good points about went they weren’t popular, but my folks had a VW Squareback and it didn’t seem that inconvenient to me. I didn’t have much to compare it to, though.

      Like 12
  5. Duaney

    Since the Corvair is so low to start with, the floor of the wagon is the same height as a Bel-Air or Impala wagon, so I don’t get the author’s point.

    Like 11
  6. Neil R Norris

    Not much of a Corvair guy … but this is pretty cool!!!

    Like 11
  7. pwtiger

    Check out Matt’s off road recovery on Youtube, he has a custom 4×4 that he built to do recoveries and he recently purchased a nice original driver that he drove back to southern Utah

    Like 18
    • Mike

      Matt’s a certified Corvair nut. He recently picked up a wagon and one of his YouTube buddies bought him another one.

      Like 10
      • Mark E. Switzer

        That’s a pretty rare one ! Growing up in the sixties , the Corvair sedans were commonly seen but the wagons were seldom seen even back in 1962 . They were a low priced American compact car that was economical to drive but by the end of the decade , production ended. The last Chevrolet Corvair was produced in 1969.

        Like 7
  8. alphasud Member

    I mechanically restored a customers 62 Corvair wagon a couple years ago. Built a real strong engine with a mild cam bumped compression ratio and some ported and reshaped combustion chambers. Converted the car from a powerglide to a 4-speed. That made me really appreciate the little wagon and talk about thumbs up from just about anyone you encountered. What really got some stares was filling a 5 gallon gas can and placing it into the front trunk area. Very few have ever seen a wagon and few remember it’s a rear engine car.

    Like 19
    • DrD

      I’ve commented before about waiting for someone to put the Fiero drive train in a corvair and a wagon l think would work. Maybe not one as nice as this but it would be awesome! If l had the know how, space and $$$ l would love to do it. What a sleeper that would make!

      Like 5
      • mmailander

        Would that be the “Iron Duke” in-line 4 cyl that caught fire at the drop of a hat?

        Like 0
  9. Robt

    Nice rare wagon.

    Like 10
  10. Bob C.

    This is exactly what Ernie Kovacs was driving when he had his fatal accident.

    Like 10
    • Richard

      On a rain-slick street in LA. RIP.

      Like 10
    • Mags

      Did speeding have anything to do with it?

      Like 9
      • Bob Vair

        Speed, alcohol (He had just left a party) and the unlit cigar may have indicated that he was trying to light up as he approached his turn too fast and put his wife’s wagon in a sideways slide into the utility pole.

        Like 8
  11. Doone

    There are lots of accidents in L A when it rains. They just don’t know how to handle driving in it. Poor Ernie didn’t know how to handle a swing axle Corvair, let alone in the rain. Bias tires didn’t help either, especially on some of those switch back turns in the Hollywood hills contributing to the cause of the flip. I put radials on my 63 as soon as I got it. Made the ride and the handling much better.

    Like 16
    • Hank kaczmarek

      The other problem was incorrect tire inflation on the early models.
      All Corvairs run better with lower pressure than normal.
      On my 65 I run 26lbs front, 28 rear.
      If you took your early Model vair to the Gas station the idiot would put 32 in all 4 tires, and let the end-swapping begin!

      Like 2
    • Doone

      In those years the majority of autos had oil breather tubes instead of pcv’s, there was oil all over the pavement making the roads slippery when dry and slick when wet. All of what I said above except that after research I correct my statement about a flip. It was loss of control in a right handed turn from what was then Route 66 onto Wiltshire and the car went broadside Into the drivers door at a cast iron utility pole.

      Google the crash and you can see the car after the incident.

      My opinion is it wasn’t the car that was the sole problem. As others have said, there were other circumstances that were present that all came together to cause this unfortunate death. Some even said he was lighting a cigar when going around the turn, but if you are a fatalist then it was just that his time was up.

      Like 9
    • Tom Member

      Cool to see this at barn finds.
      This car used to belong to me up until about 5 months ago. Anybody looking to buy this should not be afraid of flaws.
      It is almost perfect.
      Only a couple of small retouches on paint chips hardly worth mentioning.
      Not many people have even seen one in real life.
      Good luck new owner, have fun

      Like 7
  12. Greg in Texas

    Beauty wagon. Got some ‘Wagon Envy’ reading this post. I think that is nice enough for a $18-20k selling price myself. If I was rolling in dough and knew what I was looking at maybe a tad more. Still would want more pics and documents status, but it’s essentially a poor man’s vintage Porsche Wagon without doing a thing to it but drive leisurely and smugly around the envious neighbors.

    Like 1
  13. William Maceri

    Bob C brought up the point I was going to make. I didn’t think anyone remembered that Ernie Kovacs was killed in a while Corvair wagon. He was on Sunset Blvd just west of Bev Hills. It was raining, when he lost control in a curve. I saw pictures of the car printed in The Los Angeles Times, that car was pretty twisted up. After that accident the Corvair suffered a major blow to it’s reputation. In the early 70s one of my friends had a 2 door mint green metallic paint. The same color Buick Special used in the movie “My Cousin Vinny” which is one of my favorite all time movies. We would pile as many kids in it as possible and then cruise Hollywood and Sunset Blvds on Saturday nights. I seem to remember that Corvair had a lot of pep if the driver put her foot into it. My oldest brother had a friend who had a Maroon metallic, with black interior, 2 door Monza. He tricked it out with chrome wheels, and it was always detailed to within an inch of it’s life.Thanks Bob C for remembering the Ernie Kovacs story, you must be close to my age.

    Like 9
    • Bob C.

      Thank you right back William. I’m in my early 60s by the way. I watched a lot of reruns of the old Ernie Kovacs shows over the years and he was quite cutting edge for the day.

      Like 8
  14. Kirk

    I bought an original set of torque thrust wheels 2nd hand one time that had bias-ply tires from what year I don’t know but 2 were snows and the other 2 were unbelievably high centered, like a front tire from a modern motorcycle. I threw them on a car for a day just for a laugh and they were ridiculous horrible. Grabbed every crack and groove in the pavement and counter steering back and forth was constant so I don’t know how anyone could avoid crashing eventually if using that particular bias ply. Maybe they worked better in the snow by cutting a track .. I don’t know. Awesome corvair wagon though. Love all corvairs but as mentioned by others this is the 1st wagon I’ve seen and didn’t know they existed .

    Like 0
  15. oilngas

    If you can find a 1972 Arlington, Tx. Lamar High School Annual. There is a picture of my brother’s Corvair doing a wheel stand with four guys in it. Front passenger was the foriegn exchange student.

    Like 5
    • joe

      If you keep your tire pressures right and don’t do something stupid, early model Corvairs are as civil as most any other car. I have owned several.
      Tire pressures are critical on them.

      Like 5
  16. scottymac

    Find me a Falcon wagon that’s ever been bid to (current e-Bay bid) $14,100. Don’t forget that in 1962, the Corvair convertible and Spyder were introduced, so the wagon was the sacrificial lamb on the production line.

    Like 5
  17. Steve H

    I’m not very familiar with these but where is the shifter? I see what looks like the hand brake under the dash on the left but do not see a shifter!

    Like 1
    • Doone

      Lever on the right side of the drivers side of the dash

      Like 5
      • scottymac

        1961-’63 Pontiac Tempest did the same, when sharing the similar (to Corvair) Powerglide automatic transaxle. A standard transaxle would have had a three speed floor shifter. The 326 Pontiac V-8 was finally offered in 1963, not sure if Pontiac offered a four speed transaxle for that.

        Like 2
  18. FenderUnbender

    What a beautiful, rare Corvair! I have always been tempted to buy a Corvair and this one really pushes that temptation to a new high. If storage space was not an issue, this one would change my temptation to a ‘must buy’. At least in pictures, I don’t recall if I have ever seen a nicer Corvair up for sale.

    Like 7
    • Tman

      I remember my dad’s 1960 Corvair especially the gasoline heater! Very hard to control. It was either blowing too hot or too cold. And I think you could see the flames in the heater box under the dash?
      It also brought the gas mileage down! It leaked oil because of warped valve covers and had a uniquely troublesome problem with the left front tire wearing out ahead of the others. The alignment was fine so the shop recommended using the next largest size tire and that cured the problem.

      Like 3
  19. JustAHeut

    Had to look at this and read again. Definitely a eye turner!

    Like 1
  20. Jay Martell

    First car I drove was a 2dr. Corvair.Think I was 12.My sisters boyfriend didn’t tell me to slow down taking the corner so the rear end wouldn’t slide all the way around and have it rolling just missing a pole.Same thing happened to my brother barely missing a sign.I remember ugly yellow, cracked windshield and bad brakes.Still good memories and times;late 70’s.Gotta start somewhere.Next was a 4dr Power Wagon in the Pantano Wash,what a blast!

    Like 0
  21. Brad chipman

    Not in the states for another 6 months or I would be interested in this.

    Like 1

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.