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Workhorse Survivor: 1961 Corvair Rampside

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What amazes me the most about this listing for a 1961 Chevy Corvair Rampside here on eBay isn’t its impressive originality or clever functionality. It’s that someone noticed in one of the pictures in the listing a vintage VW Bus that the seller also owns – and asked if that was for sale. We gearheads are a funny bunch, aren’t we? Still, you can’t help but be intrigued by what else the seller of a sweet vintage Rampside like this one might have socked away on their sprawling property in Oregon. Bidding is currently up to $3,800 with the reserve unmet. 

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Equipped with its matching numbers engine and Powerglide transmission, this Rampside Corvair is said to run well. The Rampside featured a flat-six cylinder motor mounted in the rear, which did have an impact on the cargo floor: it wasn’t completely flat. Although this didn’t single-handedly torpedo the Rampside’s sales performance, it did combine with a few other forces to limit its long-term commercial success. It’s really too bad, since I’d love to own a modern equivalent with an innovative bed design and flat-six power behind my head!

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Check that out – the bench seat still has a protective cover on it! The seller claims the interior is still comfortable and largely complete, and for a work truck, it looks surprisingly clean. It’s amazing to think that at one point in our history, work trucks were designed only with a single cab and not the quad-cab configuration we see today. Visibility was likely quite good in these Corvair-based pickups, given there was no hood to see over. However, no matter how comfortable and easy they may have been to drive, the Rampside faced stiff competition both from within its own lineup and VW’s range of work Buses and pickups.

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I personally dig the custom stake-body bed that this Rampside wears, as it provides all the evidence necessary that it led a life as intended: as a working truck, doing the chores Chevrolet initially imagined its target buyers would do. In an era where trucks like the Colorado and Canyon exist, and the Ford Ranger is poised to make a comeback, it’s high time manufacturers realized the need for a small, ingeniously-packaged pickup truck. And hey, if they want to throw a flat-six in the back, I’d be OK with that too.


  1. Toolbox

    There are not one but 2 early Type II’s in this picture. An early panel and if you look through the vent window a pre 55 Barndoor Bus.

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  2. Howard A Member

    These always looked like they could break in half ( and I’m sure as they rusted, many did) Of all the “cab-over” type trucks, I think this made the most sense. Weight was a little more proportionate and you didn’t have this hot motor between you and the passenger. Still, I’m sure these were cold in the winter, and not a lot of room inside, and more than likely, grossly under powered with any kind of load, but for bouncing around town, in tight areas, these probably couldn’t be beat.

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  3. Fred

    If anything like the regular Corvair, which I owned several of back in the day, the heater actually worked OK. Problem was Chevrolet made the brilliant decision to take hot air directly from the cylinders and pump it in the cab, no heat exchanger like VW’s have. So if there is ANY leaking of head gaskets, manifold gaskets, etc., C02 poisoning can and will happen. I was a stupid 18 year old high school student driving these and sitting in the parking lot with the heater going, fortunately I knew about the problem and cracked the windows until I made a trip to the junkyard to get a gasoline heater from a ’60 and eliminate the problem.

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  4. Doug Towsley

    Seller is about 10 miles from me, Dont know who he is, but appears he is also into vintage MC based on his feedback. You can alwasy expect people to see stuff in the background, sometimes thats a good thing and sometimes bad.
    I had 2x where buyers complained that they did not receive everything in the picture??????? what the heck? In one case it was some sharpies and office supplies and I was peddling car and MC parts. I told them in the future if that WAS the standard, I would crate up bags of Dog poop and charge them for shipping since after all it WAS in the picture. A friend had the same issue and said he would start making his exwife hold up the parts and the buyer would HAVE to take her along with the parts. No takers.
    Many sellers will strategically place stuff in the background too to generate interest or another sale.

    Quick trivia note: The seller is in Boring Oregon. many tourists like to get their picture taken by the sign. Couple years ago Boring set up a Sister city with Dull Scotland so Boring and Dull,. Other popular places nearby is Wankers Corner, West Linn. Especially those from the UK, Also Zig Zag Oregon. You can buy T shirts saying “I got rolled in Zig Zag Oregon!”

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    • moosie Craig

      Are people really that dumb or conniving to think anything within view of the item (s) is included in the sale ? WOW,,,,,,,,, I’d call ’em JACKASS’ but have to much respect for the four legged horse like creatures. Funny names of towns,,,,,, “Blue Balls” in the Pennsylvania Dutch country.

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  5. Van

    If you put a sliding van door on the back of the cab, it would be perfect for a wheelchair.

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  6. Doug Towsley

    I dont know about a wheelchair, but interesting idea. But would be a super cool shop truck for a scooter or Motorcycle shop. Be totally hipster with the scooter and moped shops around here. Or the Bicycle spandex crowd. Of course you would then need skinny jeans, flannel and a man bun but Portland-Seattle-Bay area this would be the envy of everyone. Not a Corvair guy, but this is cool. I once had a Motorcycle with a stretched frame and Corvair motor. It was insane. I can post pix or submit as a submission on Monday. It WAS a barn find, and I found it not far from where this Van is.

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  7. jeff myers

    13.6 miles from me. Fun roads in that area. Down Tickle Creek a fella has an airplane for yard art. Will keep an eye out for the building that looks like a firewatch lookout.
    Two more Corvair Rampsides sitting across from Trails End Saloon in Oregon City.

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  8. Doug Towsley

    Sounds like we are in same general area. I will be at the Oregon Vintage MC club show and swap meet on Sunday in Corvallis if you or others in area want to check out a big event. Weather is iffy, but usually over 100 bikes on display and swap meet as well. I have promo stuff for the Norton owner club and the local car & MC museum.

    You are correct, we have AWESOME roads, The FIL is in a MG sports car club and I am in many other vintage clubs Car & MC and I often lead rides using our backroads. I have a friend at the bottom of Tickle creek, has a fab & machine shop. Mr Linky, (Lindquist). One of my renters used to be head cook at the Trails End, Burned out high chef slumming it. Around here we call it the “Entrails”. I showed a Triumph Bonnie to Billy Bob Thornton in the parking lot across the street from there,. I heard he liked them, He was shooting the movie Bandits in OC at the time. Sadly he didnt buy it. Nice guy though.

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  9. Roselandpete

    Cool and rare.

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  10. Dean

    Hey, I know vw transporters are really popular but I would take this any day over one of them. Here in NZ we didn’t have many of your fantastic US vehicles from the 60s but did have plenty vws. This is very cool.

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