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Unique restoration project: the Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood

Chevrolet Corvair
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It was - certainly in the 1950s and 1960s - characteristic of the American automobile industry. Various model series followed each other rapidly. At the same time, they were produced and sold in large numbers. Even so, cars have also been built in smaller numbers in the United States. One such example is the Chevrolet Lakewood, the station wagon variant of the controversial Corvair, which was co-introduced to counterbalance VW's growing success in America.


The first-generation Chevrolet Corvair was offered in a variety of capacities, and for the 1961 model year, a station wagon also found its way into the range of Chevrolet's smallest volume car. The wagon was of course fitted to the basis of the regular Corvair and that meant, among other things, that flat-six engines were placed in the back. Two variants were available: the 80 HP generating Turbo-Air and a Super Turbo Air variant with 98 HP. The installation of the power units - which, contrary to what the name suggests, do not contain a turbocharger - took place under the loading floor and behind the rear axle.

Multiple equipment options at Lakewood

Furthermore, the Corvair was equipped as standard with the manual three-speed gearbox. In addition, the buyers were optionally provided with a manual four-speed gearbox and an automatic two-stage GM Powerglide transmission. The base Corvair, the 500 Series, formed the starting point for the station, which was christened in Lakewood. The new wagon in 1961 was also available in the more luxurious "700" trim. It was initially offered in two series: the entry-level 500 and the more expensive 700.

Short construction period

In fact, the Lakewood was only built for one year, because the name Lakewood was said to be for the 1962 model year. The entry-level 500 model also disappeared. From that moment the new and sporty Monza wagon represented the station wagon line of the Corvair series. But when the Corvair cabriolet was introduced in the middle of the 1962 model year, it was over and over for the Corvair station wagon variant. He was succeeded by the new Chevy II car.

Attention: unique project in the Netherlands

A total of 33.271 units were built from the Corvair station wagon variants, of which 26.920 in 1961. It makes this application of the Chevrolet Corvair an extremely rare appearance. Special is that we were tipped by Frank Hensen about a Lakewood in the Netherlands. Hensen offers the Lakewood - a copy from 1961 - for a good acquaintance.

Complete basis for reconstruction

This Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood - based on the more luxurious 700 version - has been partially dismantled for restoration and completely complete. He also has a working engine, and the accompanying papers are also present with the car. That is why it is a unique project in several respects, which can be labeled as an opportunity for lovers of rare American heritage. The complete condition and the good parts supply of the Corvair models are nice starting points. And they will certainly not stand in the way of restoring this unique Lakewood variant to its former glory.

More Info

Knowing more? Frank Hensen has the car with various images and a video of the running engine his Facebook page described. Interested parties can - via Frank Hensen's Facebook account - contact him for further information.

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6 Comments

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  1. Well Ik Jaak Rij Corvair and I really regret selling Corveight.
    My Corvair also drives well above 110 so that is bullshit. I've also had a T-bird 62 and many other Americans and they really don't drive better, even more mop-like than a Corvair. Those who know the history of Corvair know that only the first year was less, but then the damage was already done to these fine cars. So stop talking about Corvair if you don't understand it and this is not meant to be malicious but to clarify things. In our club there are some members of respectable age who ride the older (EM) type and they drive you the light. A feast to hang on while driving.

  2. Very cool project!

    I once owned a '66er Monza 4door hardtop sedan….
    1 of the most beautiful cars of my career but… What was it driving scary ?!
    100 on the highway with rain and you thought 'I'm gonna die !!'

    Later changes / repairs applied by myself made a difference in handling, but it still didn't drive very well….

    When I owned the 'Vair (somewhere in 2003/4) I was once sent an email by a visitor to my website named Jaak.
    He offered me a (as far as he and I knew the only one resident in the Netherlands) CorV-8 ...

    It was a hardtop coupé model with… ..

    A THICK V8 BEHIND THE FRONT SEATS !!

    These kits were for sale at the time as a conversion for your Corvair and then it turned out to be a really dead-moving car (especially the one of the 1e model that is the subject of this article) suddenly a super cooler box with V-8 mid-engine !!

    He was actually registered as a CorV-8 on the license plate!

    Given that the price was above my budget at the time, and the fact that I did not have a key room, I did nothing with it because the car was not in running condition and had to be restored ...

    But… Despite the fact that the Corvair was scary, I sometimes think back to it with melancholy…. What a beautiful car that was!
    Below a short video of his engine block on YT:

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