Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Jay Leno and his 1961 Corvair Truck
On the day before Jay Leno's last broadcast of the Tonight Show, he drove his new 1961 Corvair Rampside truck to the studio, fully restored and like new.
Leno has quite of collection and remains very fond of corvairs, cars he loved as a kid. Finally, down the road from him sat an old, rusted with 4 flat tires, a non-running rare Corvair Rampside truck needing just about everything. Seems like it had been just sitting there for over 20 yrs, long before Leno was around. Like Jay said, someone had to save this, so he parted with $600 and towed it to his garage where his mechanics worked on it.
Jay invested over $50,000 in restoration costs (parts and labor) having 2-3 mechanics work on it. The truck was literally taken apart to a skeleton, all parts were cleaned or were new. The restoration is totally stock this time. Now, Jay jokingly states, he can sell it for $12,000. Where else can you find a return on your investment?!
Jay also is restoring a 1966 Corvair Corsa, so like many men his age, their is a fondness for the Chevrolet Corvair stemming from their youth when they came out.
Jay's restoration costs obviously were not an issue to him, a guy who makes millions. But for many, like myself (I own two Corvairs) such costs are real issues. If money is such an issue, you can find many Corvairs in much better condition than what Jay found, from $1000-4000, that require very minor restoration because much of it is done. For instance, my 1967 Corvair cost me $900. Shipping it to Calif from Colorado ran $600. The car needed a paint job but mechanically, the car with only 52K on it, had been restored or had been well protected. The engine and tranny required little but for cleaning the carbs and adjusting. The car came with fairly new tires and although the interior some work, leather car seat covers worked wonders over the old torn vinyl. Once painted, it looked like a new car.
Point is, if you shop around and timing is good, you can find similar Corvairs. Some of the offerings on Ebay or Craigslist are good buys, others, a total rip off simply because it is Corvair.