Under The Porch Find: 1961 Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood Wagon

The Chevrolet Corvair was a more remarkable car than many realize. There were the standard two-door and four-door body styles along with, thrown in for good measure, a convertible. Less often encountered are the Rampside and Loadside pickup truck variants, as well as the van version like this Corvair Greenbrier, covered here on Barn Finds a few weeks ago. And finally, produced only two years, was a station wagon body style like this 1961 Lakewood 500, located in Andover, Minnesota, and available here on craigslist for $2,200. Thanks to Pat L. for this tip!

The Lakewood moniker was only used in 1961, replaced in ’62 by Corvair Deluxe 700 for the base model and Corvair Monza for the top zoot-suit model. By ’63, the Corvair station wagon experiment was over and out. This particular example is the base-level Lakewood 500 and has been parked since 1972. It is unlikely that this Lakewood’s 146 CI, 80 gross HP, air-cooled, flat six-cylinder engine is operable. It is equipped with a manual transmission as opposed to the dodgy two-speed Powerglide automatic transaxle – no word if it is a three-speed or four-speed manual but I’d bet on the former. There is no mileage listed and it is probably irrelevant at this point.

The listing for this Lakewood is a crafted work of minimalism, there are a few fair images and virtually no text other than the aforementioned 48-year hiatus and a reference to, “It is a complete car. No parts have been removed. All the glass is good.” There is no description of the interior so you can only imagine its condition. And that’s not to suggest that it’s trashed, just unknown, though the headliner has become airborne; it’s anybody’s guess beyond that.

The exterior shows some minor missing trim, a rusted through front roll pan, and a lot of surface rust. There are no comprehensive exterior images so the general condition of the body and structure is like the interior, mostly unknown. There are some minor scrapes and dings that can be seen and the rear right door would appear to have some rust that has settled in along the bottom left side but that’s a typical problem. This station wagon is sitting undercover, sort of; the ceiling or porch floor is continuous and not slated to that helps with the top side of this Corvair. It is, however, parked over gravel-strewn dirt, exposed to snow and rain as one side and the front of this Lakewood’s tomb are open to the elements. While it is hardly an ideal long term slumbering spot, and conducive to underside rot, a plastic tarp has been partially placed under the car to help control ground moisture.

Corvair station wagons are not rare, there were approximately 32,000 produced over its two-year run, with the ’62 Monza being the rarest and the ’61 Lakewood 700 (a step above this example) being the most common. The completeness of this example is enticing but it’s offset a bit by a lack of completeness with the listing. That said, the price is pretty reasonable for a model of car that has a dedicated following. It would be good to hear from current and past Corvair owners; is this example worth further investigation or has its existential siesta knocked it out of contention for being roadworthy again?

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  1. DualJetfire

    Shoulda named it the Firewood.

  2. ccrvtt

    Call me sentimental but I miss these miniature station wagons. I love my Town & Country minivan but when I’m trying to horse a 4×8 sheet of 3/4″ plywood onto the roof rack I’m glad I’m not any shorter than 6’3″. The little Corvairs, PInto Squires, K-car wagons, even the later Escorts and HHRs are looking mighty good to this old geezer.

    I see a lot more utility in these right-sized vehicles than in most of today’s offerings.

    • Claudio

      Ford focus and chevrolet hhr come to mind
      I have used them and abused them for years
      I call them my dump trucks
      I own properties and use these things as much as i can
      No pleasure in driving them but they are cheap to run and repair
      But most of the time i dont repair them
      I only run them to the ground and replace

  3. Paolo

    The more of these wagons you show here the more I’m thinking I have to get one of these. They really are cool little cars.

  4. Sam61

    I like Corvair’s. I, if I had some “stupid’ money, would take a Gen 2 Corvair coupe or sedan and make a wagon.

    I see the subject wagon has the optional spanish moss headliner.

    • alphasud Member

      You could use the back half of the Vega wagon.

  5. alphasud Member

    I’m on the home stretch doing a full mechanical restoration on a 62 Wagon for a club member. This is not a bad price if the bottom isn’t gone. They are coming up in value I thing due to the wagon revival and the limited production run. This one is a deluxe model with a manual transmission. Most were PG autos.

    • Sam61

      Aiphasud….thanks for keeping the faith.

      This is sacrilege but…how about a hp aircooled vw engine/transmission swap to a Corvair?

  6. Andy

    My father had one of these. He bought it used in the mid sixties and ended up trading it in on a brand new 70 Camaro. On the way to the dealer to trade it in, the back seat fell thru the rotted floor on the one side!! It was very rusty.
    Ran pretty good though, just leaked some oil.

  7. Chris

    I like it do not see to many of those on the road

  8. Vince H

    My dad had one exactly like this. On Good Friday 1963 a drunk ran a stop sign. Dad’s head left a dent in the dash. The car was totaled. He replaced it with a 63 700 coupe. He had a 60 Monza sitting in the garage. It met the same fate in the mid 70s.

  9. Vince H

    My dad had one exactly like this. On Good Friday 1963 a drunk ran a stop sign. Dad’s head left a dent in the dash. The car was totaled. He replaced it with a 63 700 coupe. He had a 60 Monza sitting in the garage. The 60 met the same fate in the late 70s.

  10. On and On On and On Member

    I contacted the owner, I’m at my cabin in Hayward, Wisconsin a couple hours from it in Minnesota and thought if it sounded good I’d take a ride to see it. Owner said it’s been under that porch since 1972 with flat tires on dirt and he can’t get the hatch open to check to engine. Does not remember if it’s a 3 or 4 speed. He told me he’d try to get an interior photo and check under the rubber mat to see the floor condition. I’ll post any more info I get from him.

    • On and On On and On Member

      He’s posted more pictures, it’s better than I thought. Interior and engine photos show originality. The underside remains a mystery. I may swing over for a look next week.

    • Stevieg Member

      Going to see the lumberjack championship if it isn’t cancelled? I spent the last new years eve at the Moccasin bar checking out the taxidermy.

      • On and On On and On Member

        Town is pretty closed up these days. Have you checked out the brewery, the ‘Angry Minnow’ ……….some awesome brew there. Moccasin Bar was for sale last year. I’m passing on the Corvair wagon for now, I already have 1 Corvair and I’m building a new 3 car garage and workshop in a month or so. I’ll have room then.

      • Stevieg Member

        I stopped by there a couple weeks ago on my way back from Duluth. I have a couple cousins that live in Hayward & I figured since I was already right there, I might as well say hello to them. One of them stored my bike for the winter & I wanted to see “her” too. I might not see “her” for a while again.

        As for this Corvair, I am a fan of oddball cars. So it should be assumed that I would love to have this. Accurate assumption lol. If only I had Leno money!

  11. Bmac777 Member

    After hearing that , Let nature finish it’s job that started 48 yrs ago

  12. BillB

    Ernie Kovacs wrapped his Lakewood around a light pole.


  13. TimM

    Pretty cool and like stated above if the bottom isn’t rusted out it could be a cool project of a car you don’t see to much!!!!

  14. Storm

    Well I bought this Lakewood! Funny as I never knew it had an article!

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