Vehicle Location: Fenton, MO
Auction Type: Reserve
Engine: 145 CID flat, air-cooled six-cylinder
Transmission: Four-speed manual
• Colorado car
• One of only 2,362 Corvair wagons made in 1962 – the only model year for Monza wagons and the final model year for Corvair wagons
• Corvair Monza wagons were introduced in the fall of ’61 and gone by the spring of ‘62
• 145 CID flat, horizontally opposed and air-cooled six-cylinder engine
• Hard-to-find, optional four-speed manual transmission
• White exterior with red vinyl upholstery and interior with front bucket seats (code 785)
• 108-inch wheelbase and 68 cubic feet or cargo space – 58 of it inside
• Rare wire wheels
• Chrome roof rack
Corvairs are becoming harder to find more than 50 years after the date of the final ones built in Willow Run, Michigan (VIN code W) but this particular Corvair is in hen’s teeth category – a 1962 Corvair 900 Monza Wagon, one of only 2,362 examples built that model year and the final model year for Corvair wagons.
Chevrolet dropped the Lakewood name during the previous model year but in 1962, as the top trim, the Monza (VIN code 09) became the Corvair’s star attraction and the only trim level to offer all four body styles – coupe, convertible, sedan and wagon (VIN code 35).
Finished in white, the wagon’s paint and trim are in overall very good order, though there are some minor blemishes visible upon close inspection, as can be expected on a nearly 60-year-old vehicle. The bodywork is straight and solid, the engine bay is tidy and the front trunk or frunk, is in a similar state. A full-size spare tire and wheel are in that frunk. The chrome luggage rack on roof adds a great retro look. Meanwhile, the wagon’s cargo bay looks good and is ready to do some light hauling. Factory rocker moldings included but not installed. A rear liftgate with fixed rear window and an air dam permits access to the cargo floor, with the engine beneath the rear-most cargo section.
This wee wagon rolls on radial whitewalls, size 185/80R13 at every corner. The tires are all in very good order and mounted on steel wheels topped by rarely seen, factory wire wheel covers that are in fine shape. This wagon, like all 1962 Corvairs, has a 108-inch wheelbase.
Under the rear cargo floor is the 145 CID flat, horizontally-opposed and air-cooled six-cylinder engine with its aluminum block, four main bearings and hydraulic valve lifters. Compression ratio was 8.0:1. This motor is connected to a hard-to-find four-speed manual transmission. Just 38 percent of all Corvairs were ordered with that optional transmission in 1962.
Inside, the red vinyl (code 779 or 780) interior looks fantastic. The front buckets and rear bench seats are in very good order with no major blemishes and goes well with the red carpeting. The white headliner is in similar very good order. A red, two-spoke steering wheel faces the driver. The red instrument panel and inner door liners are all in very good shape, as is the floor-mounted shift lever. The rear bench seat folds down for extra cargo room, 58 cubic feet total. There are 10 more cubic feet available in the frunk and the aforementioned roof rack presents even more space to haul things. Rounding out the interior is a modern AM/FM radio.
In 1962, Chevrolet introduced the Corvairs with few changes at the beginning of the year. The bottom line 500 series station wagon was dropped and the 700 became the base station wagon. The “Lakewood” name was dropped. In the fall of 1961, the ever-popular Monza line then took on a wagon model to round out the top of the line. By spring of 1962, Chevrolet committed itself to the sporty image they had created for the Corvair by introducing a convertible version, then offering a high-performance, turbocharged “Spyder” option for Monza coupes and convertibles, making the Corvair the second production automobile with a turbocharger as a factory option, Oldsmobile’s F-85 Turbo Jetfire. Corvair station wagons were discontinued at that point in favor the new Corvair Convertible and Chevy II, which was built at the same assembly plant and offered its own wagon.
Wagon competition to this Corvair in 1962 included Chevy’s new-for-1962 Chevy II, Ford’s Falcon, Plymouth’s Valiant, Pontiac’s Tempest, Rambler’s American, Studebaker’s Lark and Volkswagen’s Beetle.
It’s cute, it’s rare and it’s ready to go. If you collect wagons, Corvairs, Chevrolets or simply enjoy eclectic automobiles, this is one that fits all of those categories. This would also make a great advertising vehicle for a small business owner. Please stop by MotoeXotica Classic Cars today to check out this early 1960s survivor from a time when compact cars were the new automotive kids on the block.