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Hooniverse Weekend Edition – A Custom Corvair Van: Awesome or Awful?

Jim Brennan July 17, 2011 For Sale, Weekend Edition 32 Comments

Welcome to the Sunday edition of Hooniverse Weekends, and I will pick up where I left off, with some unforgettable eBay Auction Action. This is a 1963 Corvair Van that has been through so much surgery they should name it Joan Rivers. It has competed in shows for the last two decades, and has undergone a recent face-lift (again).

Has this been a labor of love or some form of torture? Only you can answer that, but for the time being, let’s read all about this van from the listing:

Up for your consideration is this one of a kind 1963 chevrolet (Greenbrier)corvair van. This van is customized from the front bumper to the rear bumper. The body work is done with sheet metal and steel. The fender flairs are rolled steel and were made with the spoilers and running boards all were welded together then lifted and welded to the body as one piece. All the rain gutters were cut off and ground smooth. The gull wing door was made by hand they wanted it to be a wider opening so welding two doors together wouldn’t work. This van has a huge history with over 20 years of competitions and car shows it has transformed from one of the most winning vans of the 70 to early 80’s and went on to the “Corsa Nationals” second place with its complete alteration and new body style and a primer paint JOB!!

This is a very long and wordy listing, with eight paragraphs of text, so go over to the listing and read it if you’re up to the challenge. This van has been listed a couple of times before without selling. The reserve on this van is $10,000 to $13,000 range, which I doubt it will ever reach. Now I like Corvair Vans, but I’m actually torn on this thing. It is not stock enough to be a tribute to the 60’s, and the color scheme is right out of the Disco Era. What do you guys think?

Thanks to Jennings R. Scroggs for the tip.

  • skitter

    Cannot dig it.

  • tonyola

    I'm speechless. And a little nauseated. If I wanted to go the shag-o-matic velouria route with a van, I'd use a 1970s or later F/R van from the Big Three.

  • Joe Btfsplk

    Is it just me or is it just a little too "busy"?

  • Looking too closely or too long at this thing might cause a seizure. Nice looking engine, though.

  • OA5599

    "It has competed in shows for the last two decades"

    Read the description again. "over 20 years of competitions and car shows it has transformed from one of the most winning vans of the 70 to early 80′s". It competed in shows for the two earlier decades. It totally works when put into a 70's context,

    • scoutdude

      But when it competed in shows and was on the cover of magazines it didn't look like it does today on the outside.

      • OA5599

        The listing says the paint is over 30 years old. It wasn't unusual back then to update already customized show vans from year to year. It's been redone, for sure, but not recently.

    • alcology

      I could go out and compete in mr universe. doesn't mean I'm going to win

  • Abe

    It is awesome in its own right. Context people, context.

  • RichardKopf

    Why does it appear to have a calculator on the dash? Surely it's some piece of `70s hi-fi stereo kitsch, but it looks like a calculator.

    • OA5599

      In high school, I had a friend whose car had something that looked like that. It was a JC Whitneyesque car computer that had something like 150 different functions built into it. Many of the functions are now found on factory vehicle information centers (instantaneous and cumulative MPG, for example), but others still aren't. The package contained everything you needed to add cruise control to a car, and I recall that you could set it to vary the speed based on your desired fuel economy target; you sped up when going downhill, for example, and slowed down when the air conditioner kicked in.

    • <img src="http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a65/clbolt/MVC-014S-2.jpg&quot; width="500">

      It's a Zemco CompuCruise driving computer. It measures fuel consumption, wheel speed, time, and so forth, then calculates mileage, range, and the like. I've got a different Zemco, sold under the Unipart brand, for my MG Metro. Definitely more of an '80s thing (or maybe very late '70s).

      Edit: Oops, OA5599's response wasn't visible when I posted this.

      • OA5599

        No problem. I've been trying to locate specs on one of these for years, but never knew which search terms I could type into Google without triggering an avalanche of unrelated results. Now I can use the brand name as a filter.

      • RichardKopf

        Awesome! This is why I love the Hooniverse!

    • scoutdude

      That is a Compucruise system that in addition to doing the standard cruise type functions it was a trip computer that would tell you your speed, elapsed time, MPG, distance traveled ect.

  • fhrblig


    • Smells_Homeless

      I was going to go for "awesomeful." It's a concept that a lot of people aren't familiar with, but I'd suspect that many of the folks around here are. Speedycop's Octoracer is the perfect example of and awesomeful car. I'd say this van fits as well.

  • Paul

    I think it's awfulness makes it totally awesome and I would rock this thing in a heart beat. Don't you guys get it, the more awful it is the more awesome it is, and yes, context!!

    • It's okay, we get it. You're among similarly-minded folk here. This is my driveway:

      <img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1344/4732772437_7a270bdd9d.jpg&quot; width="400">

      We're still going to gape in amazement at the troubling spectacle of this magnificent van, though. Someone has invested more time, effort, and money into that van than I have put into everything in my driveway combined, and although the results may speak for themselves, they're nonetheless open for comment.

    • Jim-Bob

      That's exactly what I was going to say! It's awesomely awful! The fact that it is gauche, tacky and overdone, yet is well executed makes it cool in it's own right. I actually think it shows some amount of restraint in that it is not burdened with murals and the dash is not over wrought.

  • facelvega

    This is actually in pretty good taste for what it is– the color scheme isn't offensive, the work seems to have been done well, and it's generally a solid car with at least two eras of modification layered on the stock van. The current nose is probably the single most regrettable exterior element now, but I'm sure in the 70s it looked super modern.

    Since the vehicle already has layers of history on it, I don't see why you couldn't add one more layer: keeping that interior would be lame nostalgia and not really of our time, so out it should go, and maybe the nose could go back to a more classic Greenbrier look. Otherwise I don't see any problem with this van apart from the fact that around here we've already lately established that you can get a hell of a lot of Greenbrier for under ten grand.

  • Contemplated this thing's existence while listening to this. Still not feelin' it.

    [youtube Vu3r7ZVblz8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu3r7ZVblz8 youtube]

  • Van Sarockin

    There's a little something there for everyone. A little busy and mixed up, but far from the worst. For instance, mixing the black naugahyde diamond tuck panels with the gold shag is a little gauche. While the nose and the dashboard are rather nice, in their way. The double, angled fixed rear portholes don't work well at all, but the engine is compelling. Sadly, this will not float my boat.

  • Mad_Hungarian

    Although "over the top" doesn't begin to describe this, there is a historical basis for the gullwing side door. The Corvan borrowed a fair amount of its styling from the GM 1950's L'Universelle van concept. The L'Universelle had gullwing doors on the side and rear which also folded in the middle as they rose, so they needed very little clearance to open. Too bad the customizers didn't duplicate that feature. Also too bad they didn't keep the original front end styling which is the most obviously L'Universellesque feature of a stock Corvan. I do like how the rear doors were extended down over the engine access slot.

  • Van: Check
    Orange: Check
    Candied style paints: Check
    Velour: Check
    Shag: Check
    Diamond Tuck: Check
    Obscure make & model: Check
    Bell-bottoms and gaudy MATCHING wide-lapel polyester Hawaii shirt? CHECK!
    (you think I'm kidding?!?! It survived 3 decades and multiple exe's attempts to burn it)

    This may not be everyone's cup-o-tea, but for a few of us hoons truly out on the fringe, this is @#$%& PERFECT and/or a total time warp back into the belly of the beast once known as Vanning/Truckin.

    I'd rock this just because it is full of de AWESOMES and is how it was done back in the day. The fact that it pisses some people off makes it all the more worth it… the very essence of being a hoon.

  • gooseboy78

    ok the van works but… after the 80s came the 90s and the rehab craze kicked in. it would be still cool if the owner had updated the interior since its last showing. yes i am a sucker for chrome lol

  • Alff

    Disco Alff digs.

  • Well…let's run down the checklist and see what comes up:



    70's style customizing–MOAR WIN

    Well folks, there you have it, this vehicle has fulfilled all major criteria. NEXT!

  • Jenny

    I think its a pretty cool van, except the front nose and the ugly shag interior… change the carpet nad the front nose and I would buy it in a heart beat!! But i'm a vanner and I have seen a hell of alot worse then this, and of course a hell of a lot better!!!

  • Jonny