Saturday, March 6, 2021

I have owned Corvettes for the past 55 years, buying my first Corvette, a 1959 Fuelie, at the age of 18 in 1966.  Many of my friends from that era also owned Corvettes in a small town in Maryland, Beltsville. I wrote a book about our escapades and the Muscle Car era -- Beltsville Shell: You Are What You Drive

So, you can see that we are serious about Corvettes!  For 24 years we owned a beautiful red 1962 Corvette. We purchased it in 1997, performed a complete frame-off restoration, and lovingly enjoyed it until we sold it in March 2021.

The reason we sold the 62DREAM was because we were down-sizing our collection of Corvettes and Go Karts.

1962 Corvette VIN # 20867S109862 left the St. Louis factory on April 16, 1962 and was delivered to O'Rielly Chevrolet in Tucson, Arizona.  

We are not sure what happened to this car until May 1997 when we purchased it from Bonanza Corvette in San Diego.

Buying and restoring the Corvette was a 50th birthday present from my wife.  We began the restoration, a complete frame-off affair, of every nut and bolt, on memorial Day weekend 1997 and completed it in October of the same year -- in just 147 days. 

 No-Hit Body

When we removed the body from the frame we were astonished to find that the car had never been in an accident and there was never any fiberglass repairs! The company that soda blasted the body to prep it for painting told us that this was the first C1 Corvette that they had ever seen with a no-hit body!

The body was painted, including the undercarriage, trunk, engine compartment, and deck lid area, in the original, correct 1962 Corvette color "Roman Red".  The work was performed by famous San Diego restorer, John Guilmet of "Hot Rod Hell".

All of the bumpers and bumper braces are original and were in perfect shape.  We had all the chrome replated and the bumper braces powder-coated in the same color as the frame by North County Powder Coating.


The interior of the car was completely refreshed with all new, date-correct materials including: seat foam, seat coverings, seat belts, door panels, kick panels, dash covering, grab bar, package tray, door sill plates, armrests, sun visors, steering wheel, and floor mats.  Dennis Hakim, a Corvette restorer, did the interior work for us.

Frame, Suspension, Brakes, and Exhaust System

The frame was completely disassembled, including the front and rear suspension, and everything was powder-coated a satin black color. Here is a photo of the frame ready to go to the paint shop for mounting the freshly-painted body to the frame. 


Upon reassembly the kingpin bushings and front suspension bumpers were replaced.  The rear springs were re-arched and reconditioned and new spring shackle bushings were installed.  For safety reasons, we converted the original drum brakes with a disk brake conversion kit.  The rear drum brakes were restored with rebuilt wheel cylinders and new brake linings.  The master cylinder was restored.  All the rubber brake hoses were replaced.  The original steel wheels were powder-coated and they are wrapped in the correct narrow white wall tires.  The car sports front and rear anti-sway bars that were reconditioned and have new bushings.  All four shocks are new.  The rear axle has its original top traction bars, with new bushings installed, and the correct "rebound" straps.  The exhaust system is all new except for the factory headers which were cermachromed.  For mufflers, we chose the factory option "off-road" (round) mufflers which gives the car a nice sound.

Drive Train

The transmission, a Borg Warner T-10 four-speed, restored by transmission specialist, Jim Rupe.He installed a complete rebuild kit including new bearings, snychromesh rings, gaskets and seals.  The clutch disk and pressure plate are new -- the flywheel was resurfaced and a new pilot bearing was inserted in the crankshaft.  We replaced the original Corvette shifter with a Hurst Competition Plus shifter.

The rear axle included the original posi-traction unit with a 3.36 : 1 gear ratio.  The center section was restored by Pro-Gear of San Diego, and we replaced the rear axle bearings and seals.


The original 327 engine was not in the car when we bought it, and the replacement engine was of questionable quality. So we purchased a reconditioned 350 cu in small block engine from Performance Auto Warehouse.  The engine has 4 bolt main bearings, heavy duty connecting rods and 11.25 : 1 compression ratio pistons.  We installed the Edelbrock Performer-Plus camshaft, and the matching Edelbrock Performer intake manifold and carburetor.  The heads were classic high-performance Chevy cast iron heads with the 2.02" intake valves and 1.65" exhaust valves, restored with hardened valve seats (to accommodate non-leaded gasoline). We also installed the Edelbrock aluminum water pump and a Holley high performance fuel pump. The electronic ignition, distributor and coil are by MSD. We finished off the engine compartment with original Corvette valve covers, all new hoses and clamps, and a new aluminum radiator.


The car had a fully-restored removable hardtop. The windows are new and all the stainless was professionally polished.


The car came from the factory without a convertible top.  Note: a friend has guessed that about 90% of California Corvettes were delivered as hard top only models.

The decklid compartment (where the folding top goes) was restored, and some of the hardware to hold the convertible top is installed in the car.


The trunk area is fully restored, including the original spare tire cover, and painted in the satin color (as original) with the very nice heavy-duty trunk mat.

Gauges, Radio, and Electrical Wiring

All of the gauges are original.

 The heater/defroster controls,  fan, and rebuilt heater radiator work perfectly.

Most of the electrical wiring was replaced with Lectric Limited replacement harnesses and all the head lights, tail lights, turn signals, license plate light, dash lights and interior lights work perfectly.

Our car was featured in the December 1998 edition of Vette magazine

This car appears on the back cover of the book "Beltsville Shell: You Are What You Drive".


We presented the car at the National Corvette Restorer's Society June 2012 Convention celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 1962 Corvette

We secured the National Corvette Restorer's Society "Shipping Data Report" showing date of manufacture and selling dealer.

We hope the new owner, Bill, enjoys this car as much as we have!