Teutonic Sports Wagon: 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Lakewood

While out on a walk one day up on the outskirts of Lock Haven University, I spotted an old car sitting in a driveway underneath a tarp. As I approached the car, I discovered that it was a Corvair; upon further inspection, I learned that it was a 1965 model with the 150 horsepower flat six and four-speed manual. Ever since then, I have kept my eye out for four-speed Corvairs for sale. This 1962 Corvair Lakewood not only features the rare Monza Series 900 trim, it also features the four-speed manual transmission. Find it here on eBay in Rochester, New York, with six days left to bid.

Introduced in 1961, the Corvair Lakewood was Chevrolet’s entry level station wagon and resembled the Volkswagen Type 3 Squareback in size, appearance, and technical respects. The Lakewood wagon was only produced for two years (1961 and 1962) and is one of 30,120 built during those two years. This 1962 Lakewood is a Monza Series 900 model, and is one of 2,567 produced out of 6,351 total for 1962. The paint looks decent on this car, but the owner says there are some imperfections (minor dings, bubbling, etc., his words). The roof-mounted luggage rack is a nice touch, as is the wire wheel covers on white-line radial tires. I would address the bubbling and buff the cosmetics, leaving the rest of the exterior of the car as-is.

What makes the Corvair unique compared to other American compacts from the early 1960s is its engine, which was a flat-six (similar to Volkswagen’s air-cooled engines). In this Corvair, the flat-six is 145 cubic inch Turbo-Air flat-six. Featuring a 8.0:1 compression ratio, the Turbo-Air six is rated at 82 horsepower and is backed by the hard-to-find 4 speed manual transmission. Shown here with the correct factory air cleaners and slightly crazy OEM fan drive setup, the 145 Turbo-Air six appears to be in good, clean condition. I would swap the alternator for a more era-correct looking one and change the yellow wires to black ones, but not before both the wires and alternator need to be changed anyway.

Ah, nothing like a four-on-the-floor between two bucket seats. I’ve never seen a Lakewood wagon without a bench seat, and I must say the bucket seats add to the overall sporty flair. The odometer reads at 26,000 miles, but I’m guessing the odometer has rolled over at least once. The folding rear seat is a nice plus for cargo space, and the headliner, much like the rest of the interior, is in good shape. Overall, this Corvair wagon is very unusually and nicely optioned, and this car would be a cool daily driver. I would update the car to front disc brakes, address the bubbling, shelve the original engine and swap in a 150 horsepower four-barrel flat six, add a Gear Vendors overdrive unit to the transmission, buff the paint, polish the trim, detail the engine and interior nicely, and source a 1962 license plate. What are your thoughts on this rare Monza Series 900 Lakewood Wagon?


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  1. Tim Fetterhoff

    Seen a Corvair two door drop top at breakfast this morning

  2. Vince H

    62 was no longer called a Lakewood. Just a station wagon. Good to see one with the right engine.

  3. Bob

    I had a VW squareback, and I would have been much happier with this low power Corvair. I like the interior, and with some touch up and a splash of paint, it would certainly be an attention getter
    I don’t even recall ever seeing one on the street.

  4. Marvin Granger

    These are great cars. I’ve had a couple , but the best one had a ’64 van engine built up to a 140 hp unit. ’64 car rear end. It also had a Spyder dash so it had full instrumentation.

  5. Ted Turner

    Interesting ’62 Lakewood. The alternator is an upgrade, as generators were std. equpt. until 1965. I believe a 3 speed was stock with the base 82 hp engine, with powerglide available as an option. The Monza level trim and roof rack, along with the wire wheel covers make this an appealing package; and the white body and red interior trim add to the desirability. If the floors and front trunk bottom are solid, this is a prime little Corvair. Clark’s Corvair in Mass. can get almost ANY part or trim piece you need.

    -Ted ’65 Corvair 500 4 dr. Owner

  6. Bob Hess

    It takes nothing to get these engines to a minimum of 120 hp. Bought a ’65 Monza 2 door hard top with the 140 engine and with just bolt ons got 170 hp out of it. Neat car.

  7. R

    I’ve owned several Corvairs, including a 62 3 or 4 “95” van, ( no rear side windows), a 64 Corsa Spyder -turbo convertable- and a 65 two door standard with 3spd .
    The early four speeds we’re a little transmission, I don’t know the numbers, but there were several slightly different ones, yes I’ve had several apart, the later ones 65 up had the real transmission, Muncie I think, it’s the one you could make into a V8 monster, and would not go in an early car I believe, without major changes, if at all, there was also the change from swing arms to double link ( like the Corvette used,) rear suspension, there was a kit, can’t remember the name,, to put a small block in the back seat,,,, crown, and Yenko stinger, had to look it up, this allways looked like the thing to do. My early cars and van took pretty constant care, this was in the early 70’s, the 65 just worked, belts, pushrod tube reseal, that’s about it, but the heater, they always smell, you just can’t get away from the smell of carburetors and exhaust heated air. The 65- cars were not bad, light, handled ok, had a little more power, maybe with an auxiliary heater I’d own one today!

  8. Lee Richardson

    The article was nice, but not totally accurate. In 62 it was a Monza Wagon. The name Lakewood was only used in the 61 Models. The 150 hp engine was a Turbocharged engine used in 62 thru 64 Spyders Coupes and Convertables. Not sure of what Engine is in the Wagon. The Carbs are one Barrels, With one on each side it’s only 2 Barrels not 4..Need to see some code numbers. The Bucket Seats and 4 speed I have seen in the 62 Wagons. (I almost bought one). Not sure about 4 speeds in the 61 Lakewoods

  9. Michael

    Mitchell, we appreciate your affection for this Corvair wagon.
    Vince was polite, while we view all Corvair wagons as “Lakewoods” this would be a “700” not 900. If it is a Monza, then there is a good chance there is a 102 HP 140 CID engine [not 145] with this 4-speed in a wagon. More than adequate. Admire your desire for disc brakes upgrade; but the first and foremost upgrade for any pre-64 is the rear suspension connecting rod [stabilizer bar] which caused Ralph Nadar to target the Corvair in his book UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED. Cheap, cheap upgrade. These were rare when new, but I never saw a “Lakewood” with a bench seat, always lots of options and upgrades. I would add the ultra rare factory AC which fits neatly under the radio. Less than 24 hours to go, current bid $6500 seems good. Last one I saw on eBay was by a Canadian dealer, gorgeous! There is also a recurring listing on CL in Tampa Bay for a Corvair wagon, not in this condition, and not for this good price.

    • Lee Richardson

      Michael, just for us guys that are a stickler for accuracy. The 1960 Engines were 140 cid, 61 thru 63 were 145 cid, and 64 thru 69 were 164 cid. GM removed the Name of Lakewood from the 62 Wagon. There are no Emblems or Badges on a 62 that state Lakewood. The 500 and 700 series wagons had Bench Seats.

    • ACZ

      If by a rear sway bar, you mean the transverse mounted rear leaf spring, it’s not a cheap upgrade. And things that are desirable usually not cheap. It requires a 1964 differential case, the transverse leaf spring, rear coil springs of the proper strength for this use, and connecting hardware. Possibly even rear lower control arms, depending on your skill set.

    • Jay C Calk

      Why would you even make a comment about changing the engine out? It is worth more stock without mods. As stated earlier in this trail of emails there are things that could be done to this engine.

  10. Ken

    How do you install a gear vendors overdrive on a transaxle? This would be interesting…

  11. RNR

    If this car was sold new in Rochester, or anywhere in Western New York, it would have to have been in the barn since, say, 1964, to be in this condition.

    Nice car, well worth the current $6500 bid.

  12. KEN TILLY Member

    In my younger days my Father always impressed on me the necessity of making sure that fan belt pulleys were correctly aligned or else the belt would wear out or jump off the pulley. And then 50 years later I bought a 1960 Corvair. The belt never wore out or jumped off the pulley. Where’s my old man now?

    • Bruce Bergman

      The trick to keeping the fan belts on the pulleys is the right 5VX profile skinny “Otto Parts” wrapped belt. The normal 5V that the aftermarket insists is correct but rides too high in the sheaves and pops out on rapid RPM changes.

      Hook a Sonalert across the GEN-FAN light so when the fan belt flings you know Right Darn Now. (“Beeeeeeee!”) So you can get your foot off the gas and look for a good spot to pull over Now. DAMHIKT. Carry a spare belt (they snap) and a wrench.

      You want to keep that alternator, the “correct” generator is a PITA to live with. Those Delcos are very reliable – Good news if you go crazy with stereo gear and fog/driving lights it’s easy to beef up the output to keep up. Just remember it’s reverse rotation – the special Corvair specific narrow sheave with reverse fan blades.

  13. joe

    This is a pretty scarce Corvair — with the 4 speed.

  14. Ed

    Well it’s not a Monza. If it was it would have the Monza cross on the lower front fenders. It’s a “700” series wagon,notice the beltline trim does not go all the way to the back. Engine is out of a car,oil fill would have been inside the trap door access below the tailgate. Roof rack is aftermarket. Bucket seats would have been in a Monza and extra cost in a “700” Stock engine would have been 145CI,84 HP and AC was never offered. BTW roof rack in mounted to far back,factory said over passenger compartment for weight distribution.

    • Lee Richardson

      Ed, The Engine is probably the original. There is No Dipstick coming threw the Fan Shroud. They installed an Alternator which you have to change the Mounting Bracket. Correct Bracket came with Oil Filler Tube.

      • Ed Bittman

        Lee, looks like the top shroud has a rubber plug where the car style dipstick would be. Normally it would not have anything there but metal.

    • Tuco

      Lee is correct. looks like original motor. Roof rack also looks original. They were dealer installed option so wherever they ended up depended on the mechanics discretion.

  15. Kevin

    Another general motors wet dream. Designed to take on the compact car market and compete with VW. It failed at both.

  16. Bob

    Went to a Corvair show a few years ago. Fascinating cars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lv1nkBPwPXw&t=4s

  17. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    R–I think you are referring to the Saginaw gearbox used in ‘Vairs from 1966 onward. Total beast and indestructible. best combination of technology and accessories can be found on the 1966 models and you could of course order the 140 engine without the car being called a Corsa.

    Me and/or my family owned four different Lakewood wagons. Never a 62 Monza but I did convert my 61 3spd wagon into a “phantom” Monza wagon before giving it to the Corvair Preservation Trust as a donation in 1998.

    Like 1
  18. Brian Fahey

    My father taught me how to drive in our 62 Monza wagon. On long trips from LI, NY to Harrisburg PA my brother and I slept over the warm engine cover with our dog. The engine sound was soothing. We even pulled a pop-up tent camper with it and the roof rack was piled high with some kind of goofy zipped luggage protector that allowed water in, but not out. Dad owned and cherished her for very many years. Loved that car. Wonderful memories. She was silver with a goldish hue color.
    We owned 180hp Spyders, coupes, sedans, and an all-black, 8 door Corvair van we bought from a funeral business (it was the flower getter and had virtually no miles on it). I rolled and flipped (into a ravine in the rain) my brothers beloved 140 hp (4-carbs) hugger orange ’65 coupe. My girlfriend and I were not hurt but there was NOTHING left of that beautiful car. I’m hoping someday my brother Kevin will forgive me.

  19. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Great memories, Brian Fahey. Are you active in CORSA now? Seems like I have met you before at one of the conventions. My “phantom” 61-made-to-look-like-a-62 wagon was painted that pale goldish color which I thought was very sophisticated. Saddle bucket seat interior from Clarks.

  20. SteveR

    This is yet another in a string of “for sale” articles that don’t get out until the car is sold. In this case there weren’t “six days left to bid” – it hit my inbox yesterday evening and the auction was already completed at that point. Frustrating!

  21. ben

    u guys are all right and all wrong but as they say opions every one has one ive owned lie over a 100 I used to own corvair and classic cars of ct cal ser of clarks corvair we used to buy all the corvairs as he was from mass me ct ive owned them all I know have a 61 rampside pick up I bought last year they were made 9 years iv had mid engines they had a crown conv and a kilmark john fitch made the fitch sprint and used to race them at lime rock race tract in lime rock ct they came in a 110 140 and I belive a 80 in 60 the 64 was the best rear as the changed the rear suppison in 65 changed the body and in the conv they put a air dam and counter balance weights in the trunk which up front gm stoped making because of not enough sales and vw was the only rear engine aval chevell and Camaro out sold them 69 was the last year fun little cars to drive they had a broblem with the oil seals leaking down into the exunst covers that u got heat from with bellows that would and close if those wernt working right u would get fumes in side the car ralph nater also a atty from ct saw a way to make himself a name gm had all ready decited to stop making his timing was right for him when I moved to fla I sold all my parts and cars to cal clark I used to take parts up once a month to Shelburne falls mass we there located cal jr is running it now the dad started in his basement ive known them for years they have a great bunn and u can get most anything from them to resore them they never got the credit the should have ive ownend a bunch even here in fl the problem is they don’t hold a good resale for collectors ive never seen one sell in mint cond for more then 12000 any love this site and I buy on it often and have never had any complants happy collecting ben in fla ps just bought anouthe 59 t bird have 4 now

    • KEN TILLY Member

      The lack of punctuation in your comment guaranteed that I only got to read the first 3 lines.

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