Car Show Capsule: 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside Camper – A Box Atop a Boxer


(first posted 4/6/2015)    Most Corvair owners tend to own multiple Corvairs; in fact, as often as not, said owners are “Corvair exclusive,” meaning that they collect as many different variants as their bank accounts and garages will allow.  Therefore, the Rampside pickup is a popular aspiration.  As much as I love the idea of owning a Rampside, the realities of ownership include accepting the fact that the occupants’ front legs will be among the first objects to reach the scene of the crash.  It bears reflection.


Besides, I already own one Corvair and that one is enough for me, which assuredly ensures my outlier status in the Corvair community.  Regardless, I can appreciate the Rampside from other vantage points than its driver’s seat.  Volkswagen camper vans aren’t too uncommon, nor are pickup campers, but a Corvair Rampside camper van is.  It seems like the perfect size for a camping couple, and it’s sure better than a tent.


Aside from a relative lack of power, Corvairs are relaxing highway vehicles as well, because the engine noise is low (sometimes too low when attempting to take off with a manual transmission and no tachometer) and there is no engine heat pouring into the cabin.  Only the constant concern of hitting something can spoil the ride.


I’ve got a bit of a paranoid streak, so this Rampside is not on my list; however, if you are one for whom ignorance is bliss, it might be tough to beat this relaxed and easy going camper.