Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: Corvair Greenbrier – Green With Envy

shot and posted by Benoit

Yes, the Corvair Greenbrier is something I’ve always coveted. More so back in the day, when I was besotted with all things Corvair, and a van version would have served my lifestyle much more pleasurably. No having to curl up in the back seat on a cold, rainy night, never mind things other than sleeping.

But no; a Greenbrier was not to be. They were always farily rare, as of course they were not a success in their day; turns out Americans didn’t want a better VW bus. The Greenbrier could have been America’s first genuine minivan, instead of those bucking-bronco compact vans like the Econoline and the Chevy Van that replaced the Greenbrier all-too soon. It was not to be, for me as well as America. Our loss.

One factor was that the Greenbrier was collectable from almost the get-go. Everyone who appreciated Corvairs knew that the Greenbrier was something special, especially when equipped with a 140 hp swapped out of a coupe along with its four-speed, if it didn’t have one to start with. Just avoid the base engine, especially the smaller 145 incher (1961-1963) teamed with the Powerglide. According to a contemporary test, it was actually as slow (or slower) than a VW bus, despite the much bigger engine and twice the hp. The VW bus had very low (high numerical) gearing and its slick four speed box could be rowed to make the most of its power.

But with a 164 inch ill and the four speed, the Greenbrier was the only genuine sportsvan of its time, even if the Chevy van that replaced it in 1965 had the gall to use that name.

I’ve said enough; if you want the long version, head to my CC on the Greenbrier.