Corvanatics banner

Quick Links:


Corvair 95 Rampside

rampside cargo bed

The Corvair 95 Rampside (Model 1254) was one of the most innovative vehicles in GM history. Like all vehicles in the Corvair line, the Rampside had a rear-mounted, horizontally-opposed six cylinder, air-cooled engine that delivered 80HP and 128 ft-lbs of torque with 145 cu-in of displacement. But, like all Corvair 95 models, the aft floor was elevated to accommodate the engine - the "flat-six" engine was just not flat enough. This inconvenience was partially compensated by the forward deep cargo area.

ramp gate

The Rampside's namesake was the unique swing-down panel on the right side across which allowed heavy cargo to be easily loaded into the midsection at a gentle 22o inclination. The ramp had the same rigid double-walled construction as the other side walls and a load capacity of 1000 lbs. A full length hinge was located on the bottom (an issue if congested with payload debris) and a rubber guard at the top.

Like all Corvair 95 models, the Rampside surpassed the competition with superior construction, styling and payload. The payload of the Rampside was a full 3/4 ton with an intended market of local fleet delivery, including construction contractors, dairies, farmers, appliance dealers landscape contractors, newspaper delivery, ranchers, and public utilities.

After a decent initial reception (almost 11,000 delivered in 1961), sales waned and 1964 was the final production year. Why did the Rampside not do better? A number of issues can be considered -competition with similar vehicles from Ford and VW, and with Chevy's own C10 pickup, limitations of the non-level cargo bed, collateral bad publicity from the Corvair cars – although none of these alone were likely fatal. But when coupled with public discomfort with an unfamiliar pickup design and fleet sales smaller than expected, the Rampside would not remain profitable.

Bob Slusher's 1963 rampside, painted the
fleet color of the original highway department owner
rampside front rampside right side
rampside left side rampside interior
Rampside Standard Equipment

Air cleaner: Two; oil wetted

Axle, Rear: Hypoid; ratio 3.89

Battery: 12-volt; 54-plate; capacity 42 amp-hr

Brakes, Service: Hydraulic with 1" master cylinder, Sizes: front and rear 11" x 2", Effective area: drum 276 sq in; lining 167 sq in

Brake, Parking: Rear wheels; area 83 sq in

Bumpers: Front and rear: painted

Carburetor: Two; single barrel; automatic choke

Clutch: Diameter 9 1/8"; area 72 sq in

Cooling: Air cooled by 11" centrifugal blower; 215o thermostat

Controls and Instruments: Head & dome light switch; headlight beam control; speedometer; odometer; fuel gauge; generator charging, oil pressure, engine temperature, directional and high beam indicator lights

Direction Signals: Front and rear

Engine: 145 Six

Gross horsepower . . . . 80

Gross torque, lb ft . . .128

Engine ventilation: Road draft type

Frame: Unitized body-frame construction

Fuel Filter: At carburetor; porous sintered bronze

Fuel Tank: Capacity 18 ½ gallons

Generator: 12 Volt, 30-amp; normal cut-in

GVW Plate: 4600 lb

Lights: Head, parking, tail and stop

Mirror: Inside

Oil Filter: Full-flow; capacity 1 pt

Seat: Full-width

Shock Absorbers: Front & rear; piston diameter 1"

Springs, Front: capacity 1150 lb each at ground

Springs, Rear: capacity 1150 lb each at ground

Steering: Ball gear, ratio 20.0; wheel diameter 17"

Suspension, Front: Independent, capacity 2500 lb

Suspension, Rear: Independent, capacity 2500 lb

Tires: Five tubeless 7:00-14/4PR front, single rear and spare

Tools: Mechanical jack; wheel wrench

Transmission: 3-speed synchro-mesh; ratios 3.50, 1.99, 1.00, 3.97(rev)

Wheels: Five 14" x 5.0"; attachment, 5 studs on 5" circle

Windshield Wipers: Electric; single-speed

Factory Optional Equipment

Axle, Positraction Rear 481

Custom Chrome: Includes front and rear chromed bumpers and hub caps. . . 393

Custom Equipment: Includes bright-metal windshield molding; rear red inserts; nylon and vinyl seat upholstery; extra-thick foam seat padding; 2-tone doors and steering wheel; right sunshade; left arm rest; cigar lighter; dispatch box door trim plate. . . 431

Floor, Level Pickup Box 134

Generator: 35-amp, low cut-in . . .650

Glass, Laminated: For door windows 370

Heater & Defroster:
Gasoline operated . . . 128
Direct air . . . 138

Mirror, Exterior: 8-inch fixed arm
Left side . . . 210
Left and right sides . . . 210

Paint, Exterior: See Options section

Radio: Manual control . . . 123

Shock Absorbers: Heavy-duty; front . 213

4-speed synchro-mesh . . . 652
Powerglide . . . 667

Wheel Covers: . . . 132

Windshield Wipers: Electric; 2-speed;
Includes windshield washers 355

Dealer Installed Optional Equipment

Bumper guards

Cigar lighter




Parking brake signal



Seat belts

Spot lamp

Sun visors

Tool kit

Windshield washers


Rampside dimensions

What about a 'Rampvan'? Apparently this was an idea considered by GM but never developed -- possibly the better idea. A brief mention of the concept and this picture are in the article by Dave Newell and Robert L. Houser, L'Universelle: Front Wheel Drive in '55. Special Interest Autos: August 1982, pages 18-23.