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Reader’s email sparks FIN MAN investigation
pact pickup trucks, it seemed part, was mounted way in the
the most practical layout was back of the vehicle and was the
Brand Ave. Studios
the COE or cab-over-engine, same flat-six cylinder, air-cooled
Contributing Writer
blunt nosed designs. Such was engine used in the Corvair autoI recently received the follow- the style of Ford’s Econoline, mobile.
Chevrolet beefed up the flating letter from FIN MAN fan, Chevrolet’s Corvair Rampside
Bruce Luthy, of Sparta, Illinois: and the Dodge compact van and six for cargo carrying, giving it
stronger exhaust valves, lowered
“Bruce – I know a man from pickup.
Sparta, Illinois who bought an
early Econoline pickup truck
with a tailgate and a side gate.
I remember Ford’s advertising
for the side gate. Do you? I think
they are pretty rare.”
Well, Bruce you caught The
FIN MAN off guard for a moment. Something didn’t ring
quite true with your email. If
your friend had a compact pickup with a side ramp or loading
gate, unless it was a custombuilt job, it had to be a Chevrolet
Corvair 95 series “Rampside”
PHOTO PROVIDED BY BRUCE KUNZ
pickup.
A very sharp-looking Rampside shown here in Glenwood Green and Pure
The 60s saw the introduction
of compact cars and trucks by White. The wide white walls really set off this truck’s look.
American automobile manuWhile Ford and Dodge mod- compression and carburetors
facturers across the board. Ford
introduced its Falcon compact els were conventional front- with larger jets for a richer mixline in 1960, so too did Chevrolet engine, rear-drive chassis lay- ture. When the passenger-car
with their controversial Corvair outs, the Corvair was built on engine was enlarged from 145
and Plymouth gave us the Val- the same frame as the Corvair cubic-inches to 164 cubic-inchiant compact line with its more automobile, but with a 13-inch es in 1964, the pickup’s engine
shorter wheelbase. The engine, followed suit, adding a heavyradical styling cues.
When it came to early, com- just like its automotive counter- duty, 12-plate oil cooler. The
OLD CAR COLUMN

By BRUCE KUNZ

final-drive ratio for the pickups
was 3.55:1, however 3.27:1 could
be specified for highway use,
or 3.89:1 for heavy hauling or
steep hills. Transmissions offered were three and four-speed
manuals as well as a Powerglide
automatic.
Although short in length, and
light in weight, the little Corvair had an amazing payload
capacity rating of 3/4 tons! The
Corvair 95 was offered with a
single, rear tailgate bed called
the “Loadside” or with an additional, side-located ramp with
lowered to ease entry to the bed
of the vehicle – hence the name
“Rampside”.
Sales were brisk in the early
years, with production of more
than 13,000 units for the first
year. 80 percent of these were
Rampside models. Sales in successive years fell to 4,471 for
1962, 2,046 for 1963, 851 for 1964
and none for 1965.
Bruce, if you can find me a
picture of a Ford Falcon/Econoline with a ramp on the side,
I’ll buy you dinner at this great
place called Swanson’s.
For more photos in full color,
find this story on stltoday.com/
lifestyles/autos.

FIN MANtm Factoid: Available from 1961 through 1964
model years, the Corvair’s “95”
model designation was derived
from the vehicle’s wheelbase.
TRI-POWER TRIVIA
1. Ford had the Econoline, Chevrolet had the Corvair, what was the
name of the compact Dodge truck
and van line?
2. Who was it that “loved little
White Dove in the pop hit song
from 1960 and who sang the song?
Was it Johnny Preston; Duane
Eddy; Johnny Horton or Marty
Robbins?
3. April 20 1961, Fidel Castro announced that the invasion of what
body of water had been defeated?
ANSWERS:
1. The Dodge compact line of vans
and pickups was named A-100.
2. Running Bear (the song title)
was the guy who loved little White
Dove. The artist was Johnny
Preston.
3. The Bay of Pigs
This content was produced by Brand
Ave. Studios. The news and editorial
departments of the St. Louis PostDispatch had no role in its creation or
display. For more information about
Brand Ave. Studios, contact
tgriffin@stltoday.com.

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