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1961 Corvair Rampside Resto Mod – TURBO! The Ultimate Tailgater
Have you been to a tailgate party in a boring pick-up? A parade with people sitting on your convertible top? A car
show sitting in uncomfortable folding chairs in the dirt behind your car? A swap meet where you just want to sit
down and drink a beer? Well, this is your chance to change all of that! I hate to use the analogy, but like a
mullet, this Rampside is all business in the front and a PARTY in the back! You can take it to the park, the beach,
a NASCAR event, you could even take this camping and be the hit of the place!!! This is a unique opportunity to own
a rare Rampside that has been customized to be functional but very different.
I bought this ride 2 years ago with a vision to convert the essentially unusable pick-up bed into something cool.
The previous owner installed the 1967 Monza 180 HP Turbo motor, new wheels and tires, the Air Ride system, and
boxed the front A arms for additional strength. The new motor makes it surprisingly FAST!
Here is what I did:
Installed a new windshield and custom side view mirrors.
Had a paint shop color sand and buff the paint. It is much better but not perfect, there are some small dings
and body filler was used in some areas. Nothing has popped or had significant cracks – it is good driver quality
all around. No active rust under the doors, but there have been some repairs.
Dave Statland, the Corvair expert that did Jay Leno’s car came out and did the following: Rebuilt the
carburetor, installed the proper shrouding around the engine, replaced the pushrod tube “O” rings and gaskets
to eliminate oil leaks, got all of the gauges and lights to work, and installed a new fuel pump. We also hired
another mechanic to remove the gas tank, clean it, and replace the sending unit. He also adjusted the shift linkage
so that it is much smoother, fixed an electrical short and installed a new battery. Due to the replacement Cadillac
steering wheel (which is really cool!), the turn signals work but do not cancel, and there is a horn but it is not
hooked-up. I installed a vintage porcelain street sign to cover a gap in the engine bay that is Straight Outta
The dash has been painted, I found the large chrome shift knob that looks cool and works great. There is not a
stereo, but speakers are installed. An iPhone boom box is all you need front or back.
The biggest job was the new upholstery and carpeting. We used a shop that specializes in both auto and boat
upholstery. The vinyl is marine grade and looks great. They built a rear shelf out of ¾” marine plywood that has
gas shocks. This accesses the air ride system, storage, and the battery for the car. There is an additional battery
under the dinette seat for the air ride system. Both seat cushions in the back lift up for storage.
I was going to get a vintage Formica table and install it with a piano hinge on the bulkhead but a folding
table works better. You can put a market size umbrella in the square holes on the top rails for shade in the back.
For you Coca-Cola or Budweiser collectors, can you see a red and write logo umbrella in the back??!!
I have all of the receipts from the last 2 years and a clean CA title in my name.