Classic Reflection Coachworks’s 1962/C5 Conversion transforms a C5 Corvette into a spectacular modern version of a Corvette legend. Titled as a 1962 Chevrolet Special, the car uses a 2000 Corvette chassis with a carbon fiber body. The car combines advanced computer technology and a composite material of carbon fiber and E-glass layers—the same as Aston Martin and the Mercedes SLR McLaren.

The car is designed to use factory stock hinges, wiring, and interior, and the hand-crafted panels and trim are custom-fit with a new soft top. This car has 70,000 miles and has all the newest, safest technology with the classic look. Options include all factory options, plus XM Satellite radio, custom wheels, Billy Boat Performance exhaust, Baer Eradispeed rotors, and custom calipers.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2000/1962 Corvette C5/C1
Years Produced:Stock C5 chassis: '97–'04; (CRC C5: started in '05
Number Produced:248,715 C5s (54 by CRC)
Original List Price:$37,495 ($135,000)
SCM Valuation:($120,000–$145,000)
Tune Up Cost:$500
Distributor Caps:N/A (8 ignition coils @ $72.12 each)
Chassis Number Location:Driver’s side dash top at windshield
Engine Number Location:Pad ahead of cylinder head on right side
Club Info:Corvette Club of America, P.O. Box 9879, Bowling Green, KY 42102-9879
Alternatives:Lynx D-type, CSX4000 Cobra, Perfection Autosport Hemi Challenger Recreation
Investment Grade:C-

This car sold for $123,200 at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona, on January 19, 2008.

First and foremost: No 1962 Corvettes were harmed, maimed, or molested to create this vehicle. Unfortunately, several states endorse this silly practice by allowing this car to be registered as the year it replicates. Odd, since it actually retains the donor’s 2000 VIN.

Usually I roll my eyes when I come across a replica of a car that still exists, especially one that was originally mass-produced like a Corvette. While several manufacturers have created ersatz 1953–55 Corvettes, you can almost make the argument they are more like the 427 Cobras, in that there were far fewer of the originals than the current demand for one to drive.

And at least this isn’t a case of remaking a $90,000 car into a $40,000 car just to modernize the driveline. However, one has to wonder why anybody would knock off a 1962 Corvette when there are quite a few originals out there?

Why yes, it IS rocket science

The original impetus for the Classic Reflection Coachworks (CRC) line was fitting an actual 1962 body over a lengthened 1993 C4 chassis and running gear. When C5s came out, they were friendly for conversion, as the cockpit tub didn’t have the deeper side sills. Plus, since CRC was based in the Seattle suburb of Lakewood, the company was able to tap into the resources of area stalwart Boeing—more precisely, Boeing’s REsolutions reverse-engineering design group, since spun off as REALADI.

CRC contracted the design group to scan the ’62 on Boeing’s computers, plus the C5 superstructure, and married the two to create a template that looked as much like a 1962 Corvette as possible. The design utilized C5 body panel hinges, interior components, and wiring harnesses. Classic Reflection retained REALADI to refine parts and assembly of the cars. Needless to say, this is a bit more sophisticated than your run-of-the-mill Cobra replica, even the ones Shelby is making today.

Once the computer design models worked, it was time to put it to fabrication. In this case, CRC used a carbon fiber base and E-glass layers placed in the body component mold and then autoclaved in a vacuum bag to cure the composite material. Since the Mercedes McLaren SLR is made from this stuff, it’s not like it is an unproven material. While the largest component—the rear “ducktail” trunk and passenger tub area—is permanently bonded to the C5 donor frame, the balance of the body components are attached with removable fasteners, should collision repair be needed. The bumpers and several chrome trim pieces are custom-fabricated for CRC, but all emblems are GM-authorized repop items.

On the outside, only the deeper rake of the windshield gives away the true lineage of the car, but opening the door or putting the top up leaves no doubt that this is a C5 Corvette. In fact, customers who wish to have a car built are advised to have a “donor” that is already in the color combo in which they desire the final product. However, if your kid flipped your C5 and you bought it back from the insurance company, that may not work. Since the body is CAD-designed to fit any C5, the car that it will be built on has to meet GM body alignment specs perfectly—no frame rack S&M here.

But why not just build your own?

Our featured car was one of the early development and demonstrator cars, but not really a “test mule.” The tilting front end has been repainted (my least favorite portion of the car, as I feel they should have retained a standard hood like both the ’62 and the C5) but matches well with the body.

Why would someone spend $123,000 for a used—actually twice used—2000 C5? Simple, the CRC conversion lists for at least $8,000 beyond the selling price of this car, and you need a 1998–2004 donor car. On lower-mile 2004s, this discrepancy is more like $14,000. Only a handful of specialty dealers have any CRCs in stock, and you might not like their choices in color and trim. While the two-tone coves were not an option for 1962, they still looked the part, thanks to previous offerings, and black with silver coves was a stock combination then.

Finally, it was in turn-key, drive-away condition, far more attractive than a 12-week minimum wait for a standard conversion. At this auction venue, instant gratification is what it’s all about.

In comparison, a good example of what you can do with a real-deal ’62 if you have a jones for a resto-mod was at Russo and Steele (lot# TH290). That ’62 had a modified LS6 and Tremec 6-speed stuffed into it and sold for $112,200, less than it cost to build in the first place. For about the same price, this car was ready to go, has some product support, and did not permanently alter a real 1962. Sounds like a respectable deal to me.

As conversions go, the CRC was much better thought out than most, and a far cry from a Tupperware Cobra. On the other hand, it’s really an exercise in indulgent pleasure for the person who wants an allusion to a car of the past with all the comforts of a car of the present. Serious collectors are rarely attracted to compromises, and rarely value comfort over provenance. So while I call the CRC both attractive and well-bought at this price, I doubt we’ll ever see it as a formidable force in the collector car world

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