A 1961 Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood - Whitney's Latest Acquisition

A classic wagon for some classic camping.

Here it is, the new mystery car! This is a 1961 Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood. These obscure wagons were only made by Chevrolet for two years. Throughout 1961 and 1962 they made about 30,000 of these. Small numbers for a major American car maker in the 60's. While most Lakewoods had a 4 speed manual gearbox, this particular example was equipped with Chevrolet's 2-speed powerglide transmission. One of some 2,000 with such an option. By American standards, this was a bit of a rare vehicle.

Back in October, we were visiting with Whitney's uncles. While our dogs were chasing each other around the yard, Darrell asked us if we knew anybody interested in a Corvair. Our eyes light up as Darrell gestures for us to come to the garage. He has a small collection of Corvair's. One of each flavor, as the Corvair line had many options. It could be had as a convertible, sport coupe, 4 door sedan, a station wagon, a pickup, or a van. Whitney and I were eager to see which one he was offering.

We got to the garage and Darrell peeled the cover back to reveal the Lakewood. Whitney and I were very excited as we had both said our next classic should be light blue and we have been wanting a vintage station wagon for our camping trips. The Lakewood would be absolutely perfect! Darrell was in need of space in the garage to do some work on the other Corvairs in his collection. He felt that the Lakewood would have to go as by his standards, it needed the most work. He was worried that someone would part it out or scrap it. But it was the perfect shape for Whitney and I.

This car was Darrell's daily driver all throughout nursing school in the 80's. He had done some work to it. The stock 80hp engine was replaced with a larger 110hp engine from a late 60's model. It has had a repaint and some body work but overall in decent shape. The Lakewood was well loved and Whitney and I thought it had a great patina. It had not been driven for the better part of a decade so there would be a bit of work to reanimate the old beast.

We agreed to pick up the Corvair Lakewood come spring when the weather was nicer and we could get right to work on it. I borrowed my grandpa's van and Darrell offered his tow bar. We made quick work of getting it home and immediately began tinkering to see if it would run. A little fresh fuel down the carb throats and a twist of the key rejuvenated the Lakewood. That is as far as we got before the rain and the night announced it was closing time.

We are really excited about this new project. It does not need much and we should get it back on the road in short order. Keep checking back to see the next installment. Until then,

~ Stay Ambitious

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