This Rowdy LS V8-Swapped Lifted Corvair Wagon Is Bound for Off-Road Rescue Duty
The engine's in the wrong place now, but the heart is in the right one.
Matt's Off-Road Recovery gets drivers out of tough trail situations in the Utah wilderness, but their recovery vehicle build project may just steal the show. Matt wanted something a little bit bigger than his XJ-generation Jeep Cherokee to handle bigger, gnarlier obstacles. Naturally, the answer was a 1961 Chevrolet Corvair wagon. Wait, what?
Don't fret, fans of General Motors' aircooled flat-six wonder. Matt's shell was in rough shape to start with and wasn't a preservation candidate anyway, so why not have fun with it? His goal is to have Utah's coolest build done by 2021, so now is the time to tune in.
The Corvair wagon sadly isn't rear-engined anymore, but its new front-mounted LS V8 should be plenty powerful for whatever trails can throw at it. The wagon was dropped onto a custom-built frame meaty enough to handle some delightfully gargantuan wheels. There's Dana 60 axles up front and Dana 70s in the rear, and it should go without saying that it's going to be four-wheel drive.
Right now, there's "just" a 5.3-liter LS under the hood, but Matt says he'd like to end up with a 6.0-liter supercharged version. That LS is mated to a TH400 transmission and an NP205 transfer case.
Recently, Matt teamed up with the Fab Rats channel to go into an even deeper technical dive into their recent transmission rebuild thrash to get the Corvair ready to rescue by the end of the year. Thirty-six hours of wrenching on a big, bad frankencar—yee haw.
There's a certain Grave Digger-like quality to a classic longroof sitting on big wheels, so it's hard not to love this project. Either way, I know I'd feel a little less terrible about screwing up in the wilderness if I got a tow out from such a cool rig.