Watch a Rear Engine Corvair Wagon Become A Front Engine 4×4 Tow Recovery Vehicle

The Chevrolet Corvair was a mid-engine entry into the coupe, sedan, wagon, and van categories back in the 1960s. It is a classic. So, many classic car buyers go around looking for one to restore or one in great condition to add to their collection. But, what do you do if you have one that is too far gone for restoration? Well, in the case of the team at Matt’s Off Road Recovery, they convert their Corvair wagon into an off-road recovery vehicle to pull Jeeps out of trouble. Fortunately, the team is also familiar with the wonders of YouTube. So, they film their project’s development. 

When the recovery team needs a recovery

Chevrolet Corvair Wagon 4x4 project build on a trailer.
Chevrolet Corvair Wagon 4×4 project build | Matt’s Off Road Recovery via YouTube

The YouTube channel Matt’s Off Road Recovery has been spotlighted before for the team’s ability to pull out vehicles from dangerous spots. They often use a Jeep Cherokee affectionately called the Yellow Banana for their recovery calls in Utah. But, sometimes, the Cherokee does not have enough gumption to pull itself out of trouble, which is humbling.

Custom Chevrolet Corvair 4×4 conversion

Making sure they can recover their own recovery vehicle has become a goal before the end of 2020. So, one member of the team seized upon a Chevrolet Corvair wagon that had been sitting to become the basis for a recovery vehicle build. Instead of building the Corvair into a pristine restoration on a lifted chassis, the team instead decided to put the shell on a custom chassis. And,… they transplanted a Chevy V8 powerplant in the front, instead of the rear. The beginning of the project is in the video link below.

The goal, as mentioned before, is to complete the Chevrolet Corvair wagon build before 2021. So, it seems that a lot of work needs to be finished in the next couple of weeks. Keep in mind that there is a holiday in that timeframe as well. So, with the help of some friends at Fab Rats, the two teams have been making progress on suspension, steering, and transmission work. There has even been some custom work in front to allow the engine to breathe. A new grille was fabricated where a solid metal panel existed prior. 

Progress on the Chevrolet Corvair wagon

In a recently posted video, you can see the fruits of their labor so far. The Chevrolet Corvair wagon has come a long way but still has a long way to go. Dana 60 axles were mounted up front, and Dana 70s have been seated for the rear. A 5.7-liter V8 has been sourced. But, that engine could be changed out for a 6.0-liter in the future. The most striking exterior feature of the build are the fenders that are fitted with metal flares to help handle the debris from wide tires. That video is below.


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Overall, it is a fascinating build. The project is being carefully thought out and executed. It is not often that Chevrolet Corvair and monster truck can describe the same vehicle. But there certainly shades of that with this one. It should be interesting to see how the next couple of weeks go in the lead up to the finished full reveal. Soon we will see the off-road 4×4 Corvair made to pull out Jeeps.