How To Restore a 1962 Corvette from Build To Finish
My good friend and high school buddy, Tom Dawson shares with us the fascinating and detailed view of his 1962 Corvette as it went from refinished parts to a fully functioning, joy to drive, beauty of a 1962 Corvette!
Here’s a great overview of the two year journey documented by Tom:
Why do I have THIS car when I could have easily purchased a brand new one? First, I always liked this year, 62’, a lot. It was the last year where it was just called the “Corvette”, because in ’63 this line became the “Stingray” vs. just plain Corvette. Several things ended in 62’. For a long time there after and until recently, the trunk lid disappeared, exposed headlights disappeared, dash mirror—gone and so on. I searched the internet for several months looking at 62’s for sale and I began to believe owners all over the country got together and “fixed” the price. Finally I went with a guy in Rupert, Id. For one big reason—the car had stayed in the family of the original owner since 62.
Had it trucked here and promptly took it to the builder. This process would take over 2 years to complete as he also had several other cars he was working on. Also, during the process, we kept tweaking where we were going and how we were going to get there—the finished car.
Complete body off restoration. Complete engine compartment restoration. Wiring gutted and replaced and more. The only original item under the hood is the 327 c.i. block which we had bored .009 to remove scoring from the cylinder walls. The final engine would turn out to be a computer controlled EFT system from Fast Technologies out of Memphis, Tn. The engine is tuned, when needed, with a laptop computer. Cooling is done by a thermostatically controlled radiator built by Summit Racing. There is no impeller on the block. The fan is part of the radiator and cools by reading temp., rather than rpms of the motor. Especially helpful in slow traffic or stopped.
The picture of the freshly painted front suspension and frame is of the original Corvette hardware. During a phase II of the build, the entire original front end components were removed and then the rack and pinion McPherson strut power steering system was installed.
Old drum brakes were replaced by disk and single master cylinder is now a dual system. Stainless steel exhaust replaced original. The entire front end suspension and steering components were replaced with an after market system of McPherson strut and power steering. The only original parts of the cockpit are the two door panels. Everything else is new. Also went with a much smaller steering wheel. Got rid of the shitty Muncie shifter and replaced it with Hurst competition Plus components. The transmission is a Borg Warner T-10 4 speed.
A Sandusky, Ohio company, Griff’s Engines, did the rebuild on the motor. They build engines for the NASCAR truck guys. CRT performance of Norwalk (Ohio) put the original tune on the motor and their diagnostic equipment shows delivering just under 300 hp to the rear axle at 3500 rpms.
Regarding the fiberglass body, the hood, both doors and the rear quarter panels along with the trunk lid are original. The fenders/nose piece had to be replaced. Entire body was sanded with various grades of paper, 3 coats of gel were then applied and each sanded, 3 coats of primer with the same process and finally 3 coats of Dupont’s Ultra Pearl White finished the process with a lot of hand rubbing to finish. That’s about it…
As you can tell by Tom’s accounting of the 2 year body off restoration process, it was a true love of the car and the desire to have it rebuilt to his specs and driving enjoyment. Tom and I are very eager to hear from you and hope you’ve enjoyed this parts-to-built-to-drive success story for Tom’s beautiful 1962 Corvette!
There are more pictures of this beautiful 1962 Corvette as Tom photographed the restoration process. Click to see the great pics!