In the automotive lexicon, the word “rare” is a peculiar thing.

Often times it’s used to describe a bespoke luxury car or exotic racer. Other times it denotes a fancy options package or paint scheme. Still, in other instances, it’s applied to a special feature or unusual addition.

But in the case of this 1962 Corvair 95 pickup, it’s rarity is attributed to what it doesn’t have.

1961 Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside
The Rampside bed pictured here was a popular and handy option on these trucks.
The Loadside? Not so much. (Image/Chevrolet)

That’s because, instead of the innovative “Rampside” bed, it’s one of the rare trucks equipped with the ill-fated “Loadside” bed. And to understand the significance, we turn to this particular truck’s owner, Steve Smith.

“The issue was, they were supposed to put drawers in here” he says, gesturing to the space below the bed between the wheels. “The bed floor was going to be flat, and you could slide your tools underneath.”

On this 1962 Rampside Corvair, you can easily tell where the ramp folds up into the bedside thanks to the ramp’s panel gaps and large rubber bump strip. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
close up of bedside on a 1962 chevy corvair greenbriar loadside truck
But on the Loadside, though seams are visible between the front/rear wheels where the ramp or drawer section would have been, the bedside remains a single, welded piece. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Sounds like genius idea, right? Safely secure your gear in the slide-out drawers beneath the bed without compromising your usable space up top. There was only one problem…

“The guy that made the drawer sides went bankrupt,” Steve laughs.

“And he never told General Motors!”

bed view of a a 1962 chevy corvair greenbriar loadside truck
Without the integrated drawers, there was a deep trough behind the cab. Since the bedsides were solid, you had to bend over the high bed rails to reach what’s at the bottom. And with the engine hump in back, you could forget about easily sliding cargo in and out. That inconvenience translated to dismal sales of the Loadside trucks. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

If that wasn’t surprising enough, apparently GM didn’t get the memo about its subcontractor for over a year.

“So they ran 1961 models waiting for [the drawers] and started to run the ’62s,” Steve explains. “Then finally somebody told General Motors he was bankrupt…”

Steve pauses, takes a breath, smiles, and starts waving his hands.

“…Stop the Line, Stop the Line!” he exclaims with a boisterous laugh.

1962 chevy corvair greenbriar loadside truck
Note the front fender emblem. Loadside/Rampside trucks are part of the “Corvair 95” series, which is a reference to the vehicle’s 95 inch wheelbase that was shared between the trucks and Corvair Greenbrier vans. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Chevy had no choice but to ship the trucks without the drawers installed, which meant the bed had an uneven floor, complete with a deep recess behind the cab. To complicate things even more, since Chevy’s marketing literature was already out, the now-confusing “Loadside” name stuck too.

The end result was a very poor-selling truck.

“In 1962, they only made about 300,” Steve tells us. “There’s only five of ’em running, left in the country.”

rear view of a 1962 corvair pickup truck
The engine, like all Corvairs, is tucked in the back. For the trucks, it was sealed under a removable steel panel to maintain the truck bed’s versatility. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

As for Steve Smith, he’s a bona fide Corvair fan and purchased this truck decades ago in Flint, Michigan—and he summarily drove it down to Ohio that same evening. “That’s when I discovered it had no headlights,” he jokes.

During his ownership, the truck accumulated plenty of hard-earned miles travelling to national Corvair events across the northeast and midwest. But when Steve moved back to New York years ago, he was forced to sell the Loadside.

stickers in the rear window of a 1962 chevy corvair greenbriar loadside truck
Proof of a well-travelled, well-loved life. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Upon his recent relocation back to Ohio though, Steve lamented selling the truck—and his family knew it.

“Well, the kids found out who I sold it to,” he smiles. “And for my 70th birthday, they bought it back and gave it to me.”

interior shot inside a 1962 chevy corvair greenbriar loadside truck
Though the truck wears some scars thanks to its original survivor status, Steve clearly makes a great effort to preserve and protect the Loadside—as evidenced by this impeccably clean interior. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Now back in his stable, Steve continues to care for his Loadside, and he’s not shy about telling folks about its historical significance.

…Though he takes a good-natured approach to its rarity. “It doesn’t mean anything,” he smiles. “Just because it’s rare doesn’t mean it’s valuable.”

That may be so, but it does make for a cool story.

driver side view of a 1962 chevy corvair greenbriar loadside truck
We bumped into Steve during a recent Cars & Coffee show at one of our favorite local haunts. You can check out some other cool rides from the show here. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.