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There’s never a shortage of eye-catching builds at Holley LS Fest West, but Wayne Dick’s bitchin’ Corvair Rampside still manages to stand out in the crowd. Hailing from Alberta, Canada, Dick explains that this particular truck first landed on his radar back in his college days, but at the time he didn’t have the cash required to put it in his garage.
“Ten years later, I saw it for sale again, and this time I was able to scoop it up,” he says. “We brought it home and got it running with the factory air-cooled flat six-cylinder engine. I ended up doing a full driveline rebuild so that we could get it to pass inspection – I figured it would make for a cool driver. But after we got the inspection done, I drove it about 500 yards and said to myself, ‘this ain’t it.’ This is a cool truck, and that engine just wasn’t doing it justice.”
The previous owner had put the truck on bags and done some rudimentary bodywork, but the truck was essentially a blank canvas. “At that point I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go with it,” Dick says. “But then I came across these suspension brackets from Dobbertin Performance that allow you to put C5 Corvette suspension underneath any custom chassis.”
Suddenly the build had a direction. “After that we just completely gutted the truck. We pulled out the original engine, transmission, and suspension – pretty much everything – and brought it to my buddy Lloyd at LT Industries. We had it sitting in his shop for a few weeks while I bought parts, and the parts just kept piling up. It became a much bigger project than we had initially thought it might be, but he was able to fabricate up the amazing chassis that’s underneath this thing and get those parts singing. It’s a phenomenal daily driver now.”
The new powerplant is a crate LS3 with a Bryan Tooley Stage 3 racing cam that’s good for 460hp and 583 lb-ft of torque, and that twist is sent to the rear wheels by way of a built 4L65E four-speed automatic transmission from a C5 Corvette. Narrowed C5 suspension is used at the front and rear of the Corvair, and an Accuair setup allows Dick to adjust the ride height to taste.
“I’ve put about 700 miles on it since we finished the build, and most of that has been burnouts and donuts in between snow storms,” he notes. “So LS Fest is basically our shakedown session for the build. We had originally planned to drive it down from Alberta to Vegas for LS Fest, but another snow storm hit, so we had to trailer it. The plan is to see how it does on the autocross out here and then drive it back home. I’m sure we’ll have some fun with it along the way.”