Given the headline and the off-road nature of the article, you're probably expecting a witty quip about the Chevrolet Corvair's safety record. Obviously, this isn't a normal Corvair, and in fact, it wasn't even a normal Corvair before it became a lifted monster. Chevy's infamous rear-engined car was briefly available as a station wagon, and what you see here is a 1961 Corvair Lakewood. At least, it used to be.
Now, it's a bonkers off-roader that rides on a custom frame with V8 power. As such, the Corvair's original rear-mounted flat-six is long gone, replaced with a 5.3-liter Chevrolet LS engine mounted cleanly beneath what used to be the Lakewood's sizeable frunk. It all sits on a custom-built frame with Dana axles front and rear, supported by 38-inch tires that will soon become 40 inchers. And with a big engine located in the front – not to mention a very robust suspension setup – this one doesn't have a problem with sudden lift-throttle oversteer that made the early Corvairs so notorious.
The clip comes from Matt's Off Road Recovery on YouTube. Based in southern Utah, the group handles towing and recoveries in areas where standard tow trucks fear to tread. This cool Chevy was actually designed to be just such an off-road recovery vehicle, and this video features its very first rescue. The wild wagon technically isn't completed yet – notice the complete lack of windows – but such luxuries didn't stop the Corvair from saving a stranded Toyota Tacoma TRD. The driver fell victim to a dried area of Lake Powell near the Utah/Arizona border that wasn't so dry after all, leaving the pickup buried in mud up to its axles.
With crazy off-road videos filling YouTube these days, this clip is actually very refreshing to watch as it showcases a clean, textbook recovery. Two vehicles were needed in the end, but the cool Corvair acquitted itself nicely for its inaugural mission. We're very keen to see what's next for this truly unique machine.