Page 6: 1962 Corvette Project

- Project Beginning 9/2000 - Completion 8/2001 - Body Work -


This was the car obtained for the transition to a "new" 62 Corvette. We had been looking for a new project and decided to do the last of the straight axle cars. Our objective was to build a 62 with current technology(using Corvette components such as the suspension, modified LS6 engine and ZO6 brakes as well as Baer rotors, updated leather interior, air conditioning, Dana 44 rear with 3:92 gears and 17" wheels/tires) to obtain improved ride, handling, performance and comfort while maintaining the integrity of the original 62 design. The starting point was a 62 which was in tact, but long ago lost it's original engine, and in sore need of paint and interior work. At one time in it's life it was a drag car and was painted red, white and blue for the bi-centenial in 1976. It was just what we were looking for as the intention is not to build a numbers matching car but rather one with current technology while retaining the classic lines of the 62.

The job of converting the chassis to accept modern Corvette suspension was given to Paul Newman (not the actor but a nice guy nevertheless) of Car Creations and the frame was sent to his shop in California for this work. You may have seen his work if you attended Corvettes@Carlisle. His workmanship and design are outstanding and he has had many excellent examples of his work featured in Vette Magazine and other magazines. This is a picture of the car after dismantling the interior, trunk and all the exterior chrome and moulding. The body was then removed for media blasting and refinishing and the chassis was disassembled for conversion to the C4 suspension. The chrome was sent out for replating as well as the interior which was redone in black leather. We were excited to get this project going having had so much fun planning and building the 67. Our plan was to have this car completed in time for the 2001 Carlisle and we made it by the skin of our teeth.

This was how the body looked after media blasting (using baking soda) and beginning to repair the right front fender and lower grill area. It's times like these that make you wonder what you have gotten into but the folks at the Corvette Center in Newington, Ct. did a great job in making the repairs as well as painting the body as you see in the next picture below.

The body was media blasted to remove all the old paint from the exterior, underside and interior areas and the bodywork done to repair imperfections and replace the right front fender. Also at this point was the installation of a modified transmission tunnel to clear the six-speed, reshaping of the inner fender panels to clear the new suspension, modifying the spare tire well to clear the exhaust and refinishing of the firewall. The work was done by the Corvette Center in Newington, Ct.

This is a picture of the finished product. It doesn't seem that a little over eleven months have gone by to finish the car. The end product was worth all the time and effort and now it's time to relax and enjoy it. The car was first shown at Corvettes @ Carlisle in August, 2001 and we enjoyed speaking with many folks and answering all their questions.

In keeping with the theme of the car the interior was finished in the original style but leather was used for the seats, door & kick panels, dash, grab bar, center console and visors. The seats were changed to lower them and the side & bottom bolsters were raised to provide some lateral support. Later model Corvette carpeting and custom floor mats were installed along with a heat barrier underneath them.

The gauge cluster was custom built using VDO gauges fitted (with much grinding) to the stock housing. The main area of the cluster (where the speedometer used to reside) was used to house the tachometer, water temperature and oil pressure gauges mounted using a custom brushed aluminum panel and glass. The speedometer was mounted in the original tachometer location. The four small pods house the fuel gauge, volt gauge, exhaust gas temperature gauge and the clock.

Custom outlets & panels were made for the Vintage Air A/C system. The center console panel was also custom made to hold the A/C controls, A/C outlet and wiper switch. All of the original switches were upgraded but stock knobs were retro-fitted and the wiper system was upgraded to a multi-speed unit. The steering wheel is a smaller diameter wheel which works well with the power steering and makes getting in and out of the car easier. The rear view mirror was moved to the windshield frame for a more modern look as well as the fact that I couldn't bring myself to put holes in the leather dash pad. The visors had to be custom built to clear the visor and Al Knoch did those himself from my pattern. Pioneer stereo and speakers were used in the stock locations. While the cabin is certainly smaller than that in the C2's it is comfortable and the Vintage Air system really works well.

The next page has details of the progression of the chassis, engine and suspension components. Thanks, Rich & Barbara Lagasse