December 17, 2017

Classic Corvette Convertable

Posted on November 19, 2012 by in Classic Rides

Classic Corvette Convertable

Earlier in the week I saw a very small sign about an upcoming car show, but I was headed somewhere else and I didn’t have time to stop. Saturday morning I got on my new I-phone 4 that the Boss bought me for work and I asked Siri if there was a car show in Dickinson today.  She came up with an internet page entry confirming that it was indeed this Saturday.  I got there a little early and the vendors were still setting up.  There were only a few cars display and my eyes were quickly drawn to a bright red Chevy Corvette. I located the owner, Gary Kirkland nearby and explained to him who I was and what I wanted and he readily agreed to the photographing his car.  This car is a 1962 model Chevy Corvette convertible.  Kirkland explained that he bought the car about seven months ago out of Minnesota. The color is an OEM Roman red and the interior upholstery and carpet are also red.  Roman red is one of seven factory colors that were offered on the Chevy Corvette in 1962.  This 1962 model is the last year of this particular body style for the Chevy Corvette.  Kirkland explained that his Corvette had been completely restored in 1997 by the previous owner.

Interior:  By today’s standards the interior of this sports car is spartan to say the least.  It has no power brakes or steering, and no air conditioner.  However there is a 160 mph analog speedometer, and factory 6000 rpm (red line 5000 rpm) tachometer, (mounted just below


Fast interior, red, 160 mph speedo, tachometer, bucket seats, panic bar, Borg-Warner four speed, oil, fuel, temp, engine temp guages.

dash on steering column), nice bucket seats with lap belts, and a panic grab bar on the passenger side for those quick acceleration starts.  It also has the required analog gauges: oil pressure, fuel, volt, engine temperature, which allows the driver to keep an eye on it’s high performance engine.  There is a factory (optional) four speed Borg-Warner transmission, and signal seeking AM radio.  Kirkland explained that the transmission leads to a posi-traction rear axle with a 3.08.1 gear ratio. The steering is a race inspired rack and pinion type with a ratio of 21:1 standard, (16.3:1 optional), and a turning circle of 39 feet.

Suspension:  The front end features are: independent upper and lower A-arms, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, antiroll bar, and tubular hydraulic shock absorbers which were the top of the line for 1962 sports cars.  The rear suspension features are: a rigid live axle on semi-elliptic leaf springs, tubular hydraulic shock absorbers, and trailing radius rods.  This is the suspension that makes this roadster hug the road and ride like it’s on rails as they used to say.

Brakes:  Kirkland explained that the car has original factory 11 inch drum brakes on the front and rear.  Remember drum brakes are more mechanically efficient than disc brakes, and Chevy made them appreciably larger on this 3,137 pound sports car in 1962 to assure that it would stop as well as run.

Tires & Wheels:  This Corvette features P-205-75-R15 Coker brand tires with the wide white wall features.  The original tires were 6.70×15 and were nylon type.  Coker tires are probably the world’s largest supplier of collector car tires and wheels.    The wheels are steel disc wheels with safety rims, which are the factory correct Corvette wheels for 1962.

Overall Dimensions:  This 1962 Chevy Corvette convertible has a 102.0 inch wheel base, and an overall length of 176.7 inches, and its width is 70.4 inches.

Engine:  Mr. Kirkland was well informed about the engine of this Corvette.  He explained that this 327 cubic motor is the original motor that came in the car, and it’s one of the four 327 engines available for this car in 1962.  This motor is a conventional, water-cooled four stroke, reciprocating pistontype with 8 cylinders in V configuration and its front mounted, longitudinal, and upright.  The heads are pushrod and rocker actuated ohv with two valves per cylinder, and bore and stroke is: 4.00 x 3.25 inches.


327 cubic inch, 300 horses, 4bbl carb, V-8.

His engine is the 300 horsepower motor (RPO 583).  It’s topped with an Elderbrock four barrel carburetor.  The original OEM carburetor would have been a Carter brand.  Spark is controlled by a coil and distributor, and if you look closely you’ll see a shiny chrome shield on the rear part of the engine that prevents the coil from interfering with the car’s radio. I located the engine specifications for the 1962 Chevy Corvette and the published performance numbers, and they are listed in the chart below.

Type ohv V-8 ohv V-8 ohv V-8 ohv V-8
Displacement, liters/cu inch 5.35/327 5.35/327 5.35/327 5.35/327
Bore x stroke, inches 4.00 x 3.25 4.00 x 3.25 4.00 x 3.25 4.00 x 3.25
Fuel Management 1 x 4-bbl. 1 x 4-bbl. (AFB) 1 x 4-bbl. (AFB) fuel injection
Horsepower @ rpm 240 @ 4400 300 @ 5000 340 @ 6000 360 @ 6000
Torque @ rpm, pound-foot 350 @ 2800 360 @ 3200 344 @ 4000 352 @ 4000

Published Performance Numbers *360 hp version

Acceleration 360 hp, 4-sp man.
0-60 mph, sec 5.9
0-100 mph, sec 13.5
1/4-mile, sec @ mph 14.5 @ 104

Being the old geezer, I am very familiar with the 283/327 Chevy engine.  The motors (283/327 cid) that my older brother built during his hotrod days were rock solid and dependable.  He probably built over 200 high performance motors from the 327 engine platform, and I know of only one catastrophic engine failure during all that time.  He had built a very high performance 327 engine, estimated horsepower 395, and installed it in a 1964 Chevy Malibu SS.  This engine blew up during a race between him and one of the new 454 cid engines in a Chevy Impala.  The race was from Houston to Beaumont on I-10, and the little motor imploded at about 140 mph near Winnie, Texas.

Sales numbers:  In 1962 Chevy made 14,531 Corvette convertibles, and their starting price was $4,038.00.  Needless to say, a pristine 1962 Corvette would sell for many times that price today.  Just goes to prove that some cars are worth investing in if you have the money.  

Factory Options List – Production Numbers – Purchase Price – Colors

Here is a list of options available on this 1962 Chevy Corvette and what they cost:

Option Production Price
AM Radio, signal seeking 13,076 137.75
Rear axle, 3.08:1 NA 0.00
Positive Crankcase Ventilation NA 5.40
Wheels, 15 x 5.5 561 0.00
Power-glide Automatic Transmission 1,532 199.10
Auxiliary Hardtop 8,074 236.75
Power Windows 995 59.20
Direct Flow Exhaust System 2,934 0.00
340 hp Engine 4,412 107.60
360 hp Engine 1,918 484.20
300 hp Engine Fl 3,294 53.80
Power Operated Folding Top 350 139.90
Positraction Rear Axle 14,232 43.05
4-speed Manual Transmission 11,318 188.30
Metallic Brakes 2,799 37.70
Heavy Duty Brakes and Suspension 246 333.60
Black wall Tires, 6.70 x 15 nylon NA 31.55
Whitewall Tires, 6.70 x 15 NA 15.70
24 Gallon Fuel Tank 65 118.40

Color Choices and Production Numbers

Color Choice Production Color Choice Production
Tuxedo Black NA Fawn Beige 1,851
Roman Red NA Ermine White NA
Almond Beige 820 Sateen Silver NA
Honduras Maroon NA

This what you would see if you tried to race this Vette in 1962.

Well that’s about all the space the Boss will allow me for this column, so I hope you enjoyed the review of this classic Corvette.  Till next time if you have the time and means, look around and find an old car or truck and restore it.


Juniors Boy


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