Chevrolet built an innovative rear-engined truck back in the 1960s

The Chevrolet Corvair is mostly known as a rear-engined compact car that GM built from 1959 to 1969. It was a somewhat innovative car for the era and even though it had handling issues that sparked more than 100 lawsuits, it’s now a prized collectible. But Chevrolet also used the Corvair name for a line of vans and trucks it produced from 1961 to 1965. The Rampside truck just stopped by Jay Leno’s Garage and the TV celebrity explains why it’s an important piece of American history.

Check Out This Amazing 1961 Chevy Corvair Rampside That Stopped By Jay Leno's Garage
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Introduced for the 1961 model year, the Corvair truck was offered in two versions. The Loadside, which featured a traditional tailgate, and the Rampside, which also had a side ramp.

But by far the most intriguing detail about the Corvair Rampside is that it featured a rear-engined layout, just like the Corvair compact. Power was provided by either a 2.4- or 2.7-liter six-cylinder boxer engine paired to either a manual or an automatic transmission. The Rampside also featured an independent suspension, so it debuted as the first truck with such a system, an innovative technology for the early 1960s.

Check Out This Amazing 1961 Chevy Corvair Rampside That Stopped By Jay Leno's Garage
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As Ford and Dodge introduced their Econoline and A100 compact vans with engine mounted in the front, the Corvair Rampside’s popularity started to decline and the truck was discontinued in 1964.

Chevrolet eventually abandoned the rear-engined layout altogether in the late 1960s and the Corvair became an odd collectible. Just like the Loadside, the Rampside was produced in small numbers so they’re quite rare nowadays.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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