The 1965 Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside Pickup truck was the final year of Chevrolet’s platform-sharing experiment. Following Volkswagen’s lead with the Volkswagen Van/Bus/Bully/Kombi, General Motors built a van and pickup truck based on the Chevrolet Corvair. The Chevrolet Corvair was a rear engine, air-cooled, six-cylinder sedan, coupe and convertible that had a platform that allowed the GM designers to come up with several variants.
Equipped with a flat-6, air-cooled engine, output ranged from 80 hp to 95 hp once the engine’s displacement was increased.
The two truck variants were known as the “Corvair 95” being that the wheelbase for both van (“Coran”) and pickup truck were 95-inches (the Corvair’s wheelbase is usually 108-inches). The Corvair 95 pickup truck was available as the ‘Loadside,” a conventional, 105-inch (by 45-inch) pickup truck bed with rear tailgate, or the “Rampside,” which added a passenger-side ramp that wasp laced just aft of the cab. The Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside Pickup’s side ramp was hinged on the bottom and had a rubber strip on its lip allowing it to mitigate damage when opened.
The Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside and Loadside Pickups are rare today and, despite being less popular than the Corvan, are well regarded among collectors. The Chevrolet Corvair 95 Loadside Pickup was built for only two years make it even more collectible. Today, finding either Chevrolet Corvair 95 Pickup trucks unmolested is a difficult task as many were modified or rusted away.
Even by today’s standards, the Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside Pickup is unique. Check out these novel (for a pickup truck) features:
- The Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside Pickup had a swing-arm rear axle and an independent front suspension.
- A semi-unitized body, with a sub-frame which aided in supporting the cargo area.
- It had a partially aluminum, air-cooled rear engine to save weight.
- Overall load-in heights were quite good.
- Like the Volkswagen Bus, the Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside Pickup had a cab-over design.
- A three-speed three-speed synchro-mesh trans-axle, two speed Powerglide automatic and a four speed manual transmission were offered.
There were a few negative features as well:
- The cab-over design meant that the driver’s legs were exposed to damage in a front end collision.
- Sales went from mediocre to poor rapidly.
- Maintenance was a pain as engine access was difficult even if there was no cargo in the way.
- The cargo bed was uneven as the rear engine cover sat higher than the rest of the bed.
- Chassis rigidity was poor – especially in the Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside Pickup
- Handling was never very good, despite taking some weight off the rear (aluminum bits in the engine), the front-end was very light.
Regardless of what people think about the truck’s pros and cons, no one could say GM lacked imagination when they built these trucks!