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Midwest Mover

Lee & Jan Hunt bought this sharp Greenbrier from Don Filkins in August, 2011. Don had previously bought it from Jean Allan in 2004. Jean wrote the following about the Greenbrier when she owned it:

What is this fascination with the first one or the last one of something manufactured? Why do we care which car is oldest or newest? Isn't it just a production line? Aren't the parts all interchangeable?

I guess any item as large and complex as a car becomes an entity with something akin to a personality. The first one and the last one and all the ones in between are individuals which we can identify (and identify with). True, some have engines replaced, and interiors, and suspensions (heart transplants? cosmetic surgery?). But they remain identifiable as the same individual.

In view of the fascination with first and last, I was thrilled to learn a few years back that Tom Silvey, past-president of Corvanatics and local Corvair Club member (Circle City) was offering for sale a 1965 Greenbrier which he said was the last one to leave the factory. Tom was always careful to say that entire phrase, as he knew it was not the last one manufactured. It was not number 1528, which would be the last serial number; it was number 1129.

Tom ordered this Greenbrier in November 1964 through a local dealer using his GM discount. It cost him $2780.72 after his $658.79 discount. The dealer later notified him of his luck: he was to get the last one available from the factory. As the story unfolded, it became clear that 1129 had been wrecked at the factory (the left front corner does indeed have a double body panel and the door fits even worse than on most FCs) and had been repaired there before shipment. Apparently, 399 more Greenbriers had been assembled and shipped before the repair work was completed.

The Greenbrier was shipped on November 25, 1964. The dealer let Tom know that two carloads of folks from St. Louis had followed the Greenbrier to his dealership in hopes of buying it, but the dealer stood firm on his agreement with Tom. So according to the paperwork he carefully kept, Tom picked up the Greenbrier on December 1, 1964. It had 10 miles on the odometer.

This red and white van became quite familiar to many CORSA and Corvanatics members, as Tom and Caroline used it in many of their travels and also later towed it behind their motorhome. Tom sold the Greenbrier to a local man after many faithful miles. This man drove it until the engine gave up (he was deaf and couldn't hear it detonating) and parked it quite unceremoniously. Some time later, Tom discovered this and bought the van back again (or rather, Caroline bought it). Tom rebuilt the engine and renewed or replaced everything mechanical it needed. It was a runner once again, albeit not so gorgeous as in the past.

Later, as Tom and Caroline moved on to bigger projects (a Greyhound bus, for heaven's sake!), they needed garage space and offered for sale just about anything they had that was taking up room. Because of that fascination with the first and last of things, once I heard the story of the Greenbrier, I just had to have it!

I've had some bodywork done (it wasn't too bad) and had the Greenbrier repainted. I was going to replace the upholstery on the front seat only, but after I dropped the middle seat and punctured the previously intact cover (the lesson is: don't try to do things you aren't strong enough to do), I replaced all three seats' upholstery with Clark's then newly available red and white deluxe van seat covers. They fit well and look pretty original, by the way—only the thread is not as heavy and the top-stitching is red instead of white (Clark's may have changed that by now).

The restoration process continues slowly now (slowly means this year I haven't done a thing), but the Greenbrier does look reasonably respectable. I don't expect to ever have it in spotless show condition, as I enjoy driving it too much.

Reprinted from the July, 1996 CORSA Communique by permission.

Jean and I recently exchanged email on this topic with Dave Newell. He believes 1129 was not the last one to leave the factory, as Tom had understood, but likely was the last one that was ordered by that particular dealer from the factory. Specifically, Dave said:

The first thing you've got to understand is that GM doesn't (or didn't) build vehicles on spec. They had to have an order. And since the dealers are GM's only customers (other than a few big fleet accounts) the orders have to come from a dealer. The dealer could be ordering for his stock, of for a specific customer (a "sold order").

So the last 269 Briers were built for dealer order. I think that 1129 was the last available Brier that that particular dealer could order in the Indy Zone. A certain number of units are allotted to each Zone. (not by serial number, of course... They are just hypothetical vehicles until they get built, as a result of an order!) Sometimes if a particular Zone's allotment is used up, another unit can be robbed from another Zone's scheduled allotment, especially if it's not a model that's in demand.

I'd guess that when (Tom Silvey's) dealer tried to order another Greenbrier, he was told that there were no more available. Probably not just in the Indy Zone's allotment, but in the whole country. That is, the entire 1528 had been spoken for, with dealer orders. That's the only explanation I can figure out, as to why the dealer said 1129 was the last Greenbrier: That it was the last one he could get.

This rig's fame has continued: it was the September, 1998 featured vehicle in the Old Cars Weekly calendar.

Information from the data plate

Trim code


Paint code


Delivery Date



Custom equipment, Red interior
6 doors, 3rd-row seat


Red, two-tone


November, 1964

(Click on a heading in the table for more information on that item.)


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