In July 2016, John & Teresa Miller, of Ash Grove, Missouri, purchased this unique '65 Greenbrier, from Dennis & Kendra O'Connor of Naples, Florida. They had purchased it previously from Richard Ledford. In March 2017 they shared some info and new photos. Please see the bottom of the page.
"The van is virtually complete. Mechanically, the van is completely restored. I do have one nagging issue. I continue to have an unresolved brake problem in the left rear drum assembly. It heats up and I can't for the life of me figure out why.
Body-wise, the one thing left to do there is the inside roof/ceiling. When I had the paint work done, I didn't touch the roof insulation material because, with the exception of the last rearward panel, it was in excellent shape. When Allen Bristow owned the van, he took the back panel down for replacement and the ceiling turned out to have a lot of surface rust on it. So all the panels should come off to remove the surface rust. Other than that, this '65 Greenbrier is really an amazing, one-off vehicle."
For some current photos, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Richard originally purchased it in June of 2003 from Carla Forsythe of Defuniak Springs, FL. Richard looked locally for three years for a '65 deluxe rig and had not found one for sale so he went all the way across the country instead!
Carla described some history of the van:
"George Harris, the original owner of the vehicle, picked it up while he was in the service. It was a one-owner van at that time. After he passed away, his wife kept it in storage for about 7 or 8 years, and it was offered to one of her nephews. He wasn't interested in the vehicle, and that's how we came upon it.
The van has been very well preserved. It has an all-original interior. I was very excited when I saw the condition of the vehicle. The wife explained her husband was a long ago member of the Pike's Peak Corvair Club. (It even has a small sticker from that club on one of the windows.)"
Carla told me that the van came with a stack of receipts, most from Clark's Corvair Parts, as well as shop manuals and other books.
The paint code on the van is very different from any others I have seen. The number and format of the characters is quite different, as shown in the picture on the left. Dave Newell commented:
"This must be a code for a special fleet color. All the manufacturers kept all the major fleet colors on file, or if you ordered five (I think) or more trucks you could get any color you wanted, as long as it had a paint code by one of the major paint suppliers. For less than five units, there was a charge for special paint. This could also be done with cars."
The other examples of non-standard paint codes I have seen have been labeled "SPEC", so it's curious why this van does not use that designation.
Carla commented on the van's original color:
"We checked the inside of the doors, and from what I can tell, it seems to be a bronze looking color, similar to the color on my 1969 Ford truck."
By the way, it has a PowerGlide automatic transmission—a rare option.
Richard commented in December, 2003 on the his plans for the van:
"I've spent the past six months accumulating "important stuff" for the restoration. The biggest challenge was to find the appropriate "RX" block for the proper 164 CID, 110 HP engine which was original for my van. No luck there either, but I did turn up a factory "XX" replacement block. The engine is now finished and ready for installation. Before installation can be completed, the undercarriage is being thoroughly cleaned and repainted black and the engine bay is being similarly prepared.
The engine gets installed next and the balance of the mechanicals get addressed. Then it's off to the body shop for much needed work. The van has pretty extensive rust round the front doors. Although Kent did his best to decode the van's paint code, I'm going with the '64 fawn color with an off-white stripe. If you scrape hard enough, you find both colors under about three others the van had been blessed with over the years.
The interior is complete and serviceable but is missing the second back seat and mounting hardware. Also, you just got to love the wood paneling and shag carpet in the darn thing. Combined, they must have added several hundred pounds to the poor thing (and only an 80 HP power plant to push it around)!
Anyway, by early spring 2004, we should have one more restored '65 Greenbrier back on the road!"
In April 2004, the paint code mystery was unraveled! Part of the code, 97215, turned out to be the Dupont formula for Sierra Tan, a color available on all 1965 Chevy car lines, including Corvairs. Dave Newell provided this scan of an original paint chart:
Dave explained, "As you can see in the scan, the '65 car Sierra Tan is the same color as used on your Greenbrier. 97215 is simply the Dupont enamel number for it. The St. Louis truck plant paint shop was only equipped to spray enamel, so they had to use the Dulux (truck enamel) number."
This is great info! I had never seen the enamel formula before—I was only familiar with the 4626-L number in the Lucite line. Richard confirmed that this was the original main body and wheel color for his rig. Ivory was used as the offset body (belt) color.
Richard commented, "The difference between the Sierra Tan and the '65 Fawn [standard Greenbrier color] is rather subtle. Assuming that 40-year-old paint chips are still somewhat accurate, the Sierra Tan is darker (as in more caramel) and may be slightly less metallic. I'm not certain how rare this special-ordered color was, only that it was apparently only available as a special order and only in '65. I plan to use the same color for the interior."
In late November 2004, Richard sent me a short note with some great photos of work in progress:
Richard said in his note:
"Progress on my '65 has been slowed by the discovery of extensive rust and an unfortunate accident to my painter's good hand. Anyway, I've attached some photos of the work and progress.
Everything else seems in hand. I even found a very nice repro new windshield! I'm still short the horn ring so please spread the word that I'm in the market for one.
It's going to be one nice restored '65 GB when we're finished!"
Richard sent more photos of his rig in April, 2005:
Richard said in his note:
"Reassembly is as we speak. And as suspected, it'll take some time to get used to the 'blend' of gold on the van with the special order on the exterior and the usual 'fawn' gold on the interior. The next photos I send should show the monster finally finished."
Richard sent more photos in May, 2005:
Richard's email said:
"Here are some more photos of #880 (I still haven't given it a name) fresh out of the body shop. It's now living with the guy who'll finish of the installation of the interior. And as bad as I thought the special order exterior color would clash with the fawn gold on the interior, it really looks very classy! Anyway, we're almost there."
In September 2011, Richard shared some recent photos of this standout Greenbrier:
In March 2017, Teresa Miller shared the following:
"It hasn't been in Corvair hands for a while, so we had some adjustments to make so it's a reliable driver again. The restoration still looks fairly good, although some rust bubbles and some paint cracking is evident--where there is some bondo, we expect. We'll get it into the shop sometime this year and get it repaired. Gets a massive amount of attention at shows and just driving it around."
John and Teresa have a site for their growing Corvair collection: JTVairs Corvair Rescue team. It's great to see people enthusiastically promote the restoration and enjoyment of Corvairs.
Information from the data plate
Custom equipment, Fawn interior
(Click on a heading in the table for more information on that item.)