Defective Design: 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside Pickup – SOLD!

by | Apr 2024 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Truckin Tuesday

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May 7, 2024, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “ClassiFIND” deleted their listing, so we can now call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

For several decades, automotive designers have been forced to balance innovative design with proper safety, mainly through government regulation. That wasn’t always the case as through much of the 1960s could develop just about any design without regard for unintended consequences. One of the most innovative was the cab-forward pickup and van design. This layout maximized cargo capacity by placing the vehicle’s cab over the front wheels.  Unfortunately, the unintended consequence of this design is a complete lack of a crumple zone in the event of a front-end crash. The injuries in a such a scenario would likely be horrific.  That issue aside, cab forward trucks from the 1960s are simply cool.

Volkswagen (“VW”) gets the credit for promoting the cab forward design in the 1950s with its Type 2 line of pickups and vans. Growing Volkswagen light truck and van imports throughout the 1950s forced the Big Three automakers to take notice and by the early 1960s, all three offered cab forward design vans and pickups. While Ford and Dodge developed designs featuring front-mounted water-cooled engines, Chevrolet elected to improve upon VW’s design by offering a rear-mounted, more powerful, air-cooled flat-six alternative.

Chevrolet engineers took the design further by offering an innovative passenger side-mounted ramp.  This design allowed the truck owner to use the side-mounted ramp to easily roll up cargo into the bed.  Despite being highly innovative for the time, the rampside design did not resonate well enough with buyers. By 1964, Chevrolet discontinued its Corvair-based, cab-forward pickup and van designs.  Consequently, finding a Corvair Rampside pickup for sale is a rare treat regardless of its condition.

This Aqua and White 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside Pickup For Sale, last spotted on Craigslist near Toronto, Ontario in April 2024, is a sympathetically preserved example now being offered by the owner of the past two decades.  While they do not mention it in the ad’s description, we’re assuming that despite having only 32K miles listed, this Corvair Rampside’s paint and interior have been redone at some point.  Among all of the other mechanical and electrical items the seller sorted during their ownership, they also mention they elected to swap in a more powerful 84-horsepower flat-six donated from a Monza-trimmed Corvair.  That combined with a two-speed Powerglide makes this Corvair Rampside pickup for sale a relaxed cruiser.

Last offered for $29,500, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask aligns with this guide’s six-month results for all Corvair 95 pickups offered between 1961 and 1964.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $27,600 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $45,200.

The 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside pickup truck is a fascinating vehicle that represents a unique chapter in automotive history. Born out of Chevrolet’s experimentation with innovative design and engineering, the Rampside was a departure from traditional pickup truck design, offering distinctive features and a forward-thinking approach to utility vehicles.

At the heart of the Corvair Rampside lies its unconventional powertrain layout. Unlike most trucks of its time, which utilized front-mounted engines and rear-wheel drive configurations, the Rampside adopted a rear-engine, rear-wheel drive setup. This design was made possible by the Corvair’s air-cooled, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine, which was mounted in the rear of the vehicle. This placement offered several advantages, including improved traction due to the engine’s weight over the rear wheels and a more spacious cargo area without the intrusion of an engine compartment.

The Rampside’s rear-mounted engine was a key element of its design, but perhaps its most distinctive feature was its unique loading system. The vehicle featured a ramp on the passenger side of the bed, hence the name “Rampside,” which allowed for easy access to the cargo area. This innovative design made it effortless to load and unload bulky items, such as furniture or appliances, without the need for additional lifting equipment or assistance.

In terms of performance, the 1962 Corvair Rampside was equipped with a 2.4-liter, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine, known as the “flat-six.” This engine produced around 80 horsepower and was mated to a manual transmission, providing adequate power for everyday driving and light-duty hauling tasks. While the Rampside was not intended for heavy-duty use, its unique layout and lightweight construction made it well-suited for urban environments and suburban work applications.

The Corvair Rampside’s chassis featured independent suspension at all four corners, which was a departure from the leaf-spring setups commonly found in traditional pickup trucks of the era. This suspension setup, combined with the vehicle’s low center of gravity and balanced weight distribution, contributed to its agile handling and responsive driving dynamics. Additionally, the Rampside featured rack-and-pinion steering, further enhancing its maneuverability and ease of operation.

In terms of styling, the 1962 Corvair Rampside showcased a clean and modern aesthetic, characterized by its smooth lines, wraparound windshield, and minimalist detailing. The vehicle’s compact dimensions and unibody construction gave it a sleek and purposeful appearance, while its unique loading system added a touch of practicality and versatility.

Inside the cabin, the Rampside offered seating for up to three occupants, with a bench seat upholstered in durable vinyl material. The dashboard featured a simple yet functional layout, with easy-to-read gauges and controls within reach of the driver. Despite its utilitarian nature, the interior of the Rampside was comfortable and well-appointed, with ample headroom and legroom for passengers.

Overall, the 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside pickup truck stands as a testament to Chevrolet’s willingness to push the boundaries of conventional automotive design. With its rear-engine layout, innovative loading system, and agile handling, the Rampside offered a unique alternative to traditional pickup trucks of its time. While production numbers were relatively low, the Rampside remains a sought-after collectible today, cherished by enthusiasts for its distinctive styling and forward-thinking engineering.

The Jay Leno’s Garage YouTube Channel provides Jay’s take on just how innovative the Chevrolet Corvair Rampside pickup was when it launched:

Based on the pictures, this Aqua and white 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside Pickup for sale appears to be a rust-free sympathetically preserved example.  A quick read of the seller’s description of all the things they have done to the truck over their two decades of ownership has us believing this Corvair Rampside is a reliable driver in addition to being a great looking example that does not come up for sale very often.  The only question is whether the Toronto based seller’s asking price is based in U.S. or Canadian dollars. With the U.S to Canadian Dollar exchange rate currently at 1.38 at the time I wrote this, that’s a significant difference to clarify with the seller.

If you are serious about buying this 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside for sale, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their Cab Forward pickup featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1962 Corvair Rampside pick-up Truck. Owned the last 20 years by a very competent mechanic who did the following:
Instrument panel wiring, rear wheel bearings, rebuilt master and wheel cylinders, carburetor, carb shafts, cleaned gas tank and replaced the sending unit, carb accelerator pump, new points and condenser, halogen headlights, rebuilt heater box, new speedo gear and cable new transmission output shafts, Installed a Monza 84 HP engine with Powerglide transmission, replaced engine seals, rebuilt dale vibration damper, new rear shocks, converted to alternator, new oil pressure switch, new exhaust including manifold and tube packing, new fuel pump. Plus more
These are rare trucks, and to find one in this condition you would be looking in the thirty thousand mark US dollars. If interested send your phone number and I will call you to discuss. If the ad is up it is still for sale.

Show or go: What would you do with this sympathetically preserved 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside for sale? Please comment below and let us know!

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