This 1962 Corvette resto-mod is powered by a 5.4-liter, 300-hp, chromed-out small-block crate engine with two four-barrel Edelbrock carbs mated to a standard four-speed transmission and nine-inch Ford differential, and is cooled by a Be Cool aluminum radiator and fans.

The car features a modified Art Morrison chassis No. 2 with Corvette C4 front suspension, Air Ride Technologies triangulated four-bar rear suspension, Aldan adjustable coil-over shocks, rack-and-pinion steering, Baer four-wheel disc brakes, Foose Design wheels, and 235/45-17 front, 245/40-17 rear tires.

Built by Custom Cars of Omaha, Nebraska, and owned by Steve and Nancy Bronner, this car is represented to have an original 1962 Corvette body, with an Al Knoch custom black convertible top. The Corvette has R-M Diamont black base coat/clear coat paint applied by Gary Parks, with a red interior featuring an Ididit steering column, Vintage Air air-conditioning and heating system, Dakota Digital instrumentation, and a custom audio system.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1962 Resto-Mod
Years Produced:1962
Number Produced:14,531
Original List Price:$4,038
SCM Valuation:$80,000–$100,000
Tune Up Cost:$500
Distributor Caps:$19.95
Chassis Number Location:Front of driver’s door opening
Engine Number Location:Right-front cylinder-head deck
Alternatives:2001–08 Chevrolet Corvette CRC-62R 1957 Ferrari 250 TRC recreation 1996–2006 427 Shelby Cobra “Continuation”
Investment Grade:B

This car sold for $104,500, including buyer’s premium, at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, on January 17, 2009.

Of all the world’s resto-mods, first-generation Corvettes are among the most intriguing—and arguably most justifiable. Because, while gorgeous, the C1 cars are also the most difficult Corvettes to drive well.

Admittedly a blasphemous act to the NCRS crowd, radically altering them with a special chassis carrying C4 suspension, decent steering, brakes, and rubber at least makes first-generation Corvettes pleasant to drive. After all, the C1 generation was based on post-war Chevrolet passenger-car engineering, whose steering accuracy and suspension geometry were neither precise nor predictable.

When cornering at high speeds, the cars would understeer like an Iowa farm plow before snapping into spurious oversteer. Couple this with loosey-goosey steering and grabby, ineffectual brakes, and you have a recipe for post-traumatic stress disorder after every zestful drive.

Bare body is another good reason to mod

So that’s one reason to do a C1 resto-mod—to imbue a solid-axle Corvette with contemporary handling characteristics. But from an economic standpoint, there might be one other time when a Corvette resto-mod makes sense, compared with a traditional restoration. And that’s when all you have to work with is a body and chassis long ago stripped of their powertrain and running gear.

The cost of returning such a mechanical skeleton to completeness would be fabulously expensive if it were even possible in one man’s lifetime. But herein lies the rub: While authentic restorations—however painful and expensive—are attractive to many prospective buyers, resto-mods are artistic expressions and there’s no guarantee anyone else will share your vision, sculpted in 3D and paid for with real checks carrying plenty of digits.

Fortunately, one interesting thing about the Corvette collector world is that people interface with it in so many different ways—the purist who wants only authentic Survivors, the nitpicky restorers who want nothing but from-the-factory, and the torch-wielding predators who see vulnerable old cars mainly as a foundation for creative license.

This ’62 likely falls into the latter camp, and while some may disagree with the notion of turning any real solid-axle Corvette into something it never was, others will embrace the concept of merging real-world drivability with the unique style of the first-generation Vettes.

A 1962 is a logical donor for this project

In Corvetteland, the 1962 model is actually a logical choice for this exercise, owing to its superior 327-ci engine, the roomier cockpit and better ergonomics enjoyed by the 1960–62 models, and because there were more ’62s built (by a huge margin) than any other solid-axle year.

While we don’t know what state this particular Barrett-Jackson car was in prior to modification, we do know that it was a very nice example when it rolled across the auctioneer’s stage. Intelligently equipped instead of overdone, and finished in a safe, classic Corvette combination of glossy black with red interior, the aggregate cocktail definitely got bidders excited.

Equipped with two four-barrels (instead of a modern EFI system) and a 4-speed transmission instead of a later 5- or 6-speed, this car retained a period flavor while benefiting from upgrades where they’ll do the most good, to wit: its custom Art Morrison chassis, aluminum C4 front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, upgraded brakes, modern wheels reminiscent of ’60s Torq Thrusts, grippy 17-inch tires, and a high-efficiency radiator and air conditioning.

The only step out of bounds was a digital instrument display that’s totally uncharacteristic of solid-axle Corvettes. All told, it was just about as sensitively created as possible, and the new owners—if they so wish—should be able to drive it from Key West to the Al-Can Highway with a reasonable level of comfort and confidence. Best of all, this resto-mod was all finished, and given the high cost and long gestation period for projects of this sort, that alone was worth a fortune in time savings. Well crafted as resto-mods go—and fairly sold

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