Bill Verboon knows what he likes in a Corvette, and he builds his cars accordingly. We last caught up with Bill in our July 2000 issue, "Modern Conveniences." That C4-suspended, LT1-powered '62 (which also graced our cover that month) combined an understated, classic look with substantially upgraded technology. As Bill puts it now, "I need a classic car with modern, state-of-the-art parts, to go fast and far, in comfort" That first '62 certainly fit the bill, but, even as he finished that car, Verboon was already formulating ideas for a more radical hybrid. "After having so much success with that first Vette," he told us, "I thought I would take all of my ideas of what a modern, straight-axle Corvette should be, and put them into the next one."
When Bill and his wife, Karen, discussed a theme for the car, their thoughts were influenced by the fact that they'd just ordered a Millennium Yellow 2000 with a tan interior. Smitten by that particular color combo, they decided to go with a "2000" theme, and Bill directly got to work. Bill had already located a suitable donor car, a '62 that was "a No.3 driver." The 327/340 roadster wasn't what he was looking for in a resto project, but Bill considered it the perfect starting point for his ultimate modern solid-axle.
The first step was to strip the veteran Vette down to the bare bones. The frame was then sent to Paul Newman's Car Creations of Templeton, California, who performed their special brand of chassis magic by modifying the old rails to accept the complete front and rear suspension systems from a '91 ZR-1 donor car. Newman and crew also prepared the frame to accept an updated powertrain (more on that later). The not-so-new, but definitely improved frame ended up yellow powdercoated and polished before final assembly, but, of course, there were many more hours of work before that point was reached. The "new" C4 suspension pieces were polished before being assembled to the frame with Energy Suspension bushings. The stock ZR-1 monospring was retained at the rear of the car, where it was attached to a C4 differential sporting stiffer-than-stock 3.73:1 cogs. Verboon opted for a Vette Brakes & Products front spring, a piece that allowed him to drop the frontend 2 inches, while Bilstein shocks reside at all four corners. Steering is handled by a stock late C4 rack-and-pinion, but Verboon wanted something special in the steering column department. Ken Kallison of ididit was up to the challenge, and with Verboon created the sharp aluminum billet tilt/tele unit the car now sports.
When it came to the braking system, components were sourced from a variety of companies. The stock brake pedal wears a Lokar pad(as do the clutch pedal and the through-the-floor pivot gas pedal), and works to actuate a Car Creations master cylinder. Stainless steel lines then connect to the stout Baer calipers, which work with drilled and slotted rotors to provide braking force at each corner. Anticipating the need for wide and sticky rolling stock, the seriously upgraded '62 chassis rolls on chrome 2000-style Corvette wheels: 8.5x17-inch up front and 9.5x18-inch out back with Firestone Firehawk RFWs, 245/45ZR17 in front and 295/40ZR18 in the rear.
For motorvation, Verboon went for the current Corvette power champ and ordered an LS6 powerplant from Street & Performance. Thanks to Mr. Newman, the Gen III mill mounted right into the modified frame using stock C5 motor mounts. S&P also provided the necessary pulleys and a 90-amp alternator to help keep plenty of spark on hand. The motor is basically stock, with a few exceptions, of course. A custom wiring harness was a necessity, and this was provided by Speed Scene Wiring of San Antonio. The new engine takes big breaths through a K&N filter, which is perched on the end of a color-coordinated elbow (fabricated by Alf Eberoth). The stock GM ignition system lights the fires, but spent gasses exit through TPI Specialties headers created to meet Verboon's specifications, 2-1/2-inch stainless tubes (both ceramic coated by Capps), and Borla stainless mufflers. The potent package bolts up to a T56 six-speed transmission (donated by a 2000 Camaro by way of All GM in Sacramento, California) which sends the ponies back to the upgraded differential through a Camaro hydraulic clutch and via a Car Creations driveshaft.
Extensive work was done to the '62s fiberglass. The grille shell and insert are both stock, restored, items, but most of the rest of the body has been modified in some way. The front fenders appear to be stock, but the inner panels had to be modified to accommodate the front suspension, as well as the A/C, alternator, brake power booster, and the clutch master cylinder. The stock rear quarter-panels were replaced. The new pieces incorporate a fender flare, but and also serve to widen things out back, to the tune of 2-1/2 inches per-side, allowing that fat modern rubber to easily fit underneath. The Vette already had the three-taillight treatment in place when Verboon bought it; he elected to keep the lights in place, and wired them to blink sequentially. The fiberglass floor of the '62 also needed to be modified, and Bill received lots of help from his son Doug in tackling this task. The duo made a steel pattern to properly fit and cover the modified driveshaft and trans tunnel, all while retaining the look they wanted. A polished Griffin radiator and a Rock Valley fuel tank completed the chassis componentry.
When asked about his '62s most striking exterior feature--the hood, in case you didn't notice--Bill readily explains his reasoning: "I wanted to build a photogenic car that people like, and what's more photographed than a '67 big-block hood?" It's a deviation from the "2000" theme the Verboons originally envisioned, but hey, what custom car builder doesn't change his plans along the way? The hybrid hood was created using a '62 bottom piece and a '67 top, which was then sectioned to fit with some help from Jim Waldschimdt at Waldschmidt Automotive. Doug sprayed the eye-catching yellow and black PPG hues; stock bumpers, Hella headlights, bronze window glass, and a black convertible top sewn up by Tom and Mae Crockett rounded out the exterior.
For the interior, Bill and Doug started off by making a custom dash panel to accept AutoMeter gauges, including a hand-built clock. All the dials sport carbon-fiber faces with yellow lettering. While Doug was working on the transmission tunnel, he also built a special center console. The HVAC controls rest in the center pod, though they now control a Vintage Air A/C system that's driven by a Street & Performance compressor. The power window controls also reside there--this amenity came from Power Window Specialties. There's also room for a Sony "Explod" stereo and amplifier, which sound off through speakers that are mounted in the kick panels. Cookies of Fresno, California, came up with a batch of yellow leather, which was utilized in stitching up the beige, tan, and yellow interior. A Budnik steering wheel and a B&M Ripper shifter top things off.
There's nothing else that looks like this '62, and it has already brought home several awards, including one at Reno, Nevada's Hot August Nights. And Verboon's enthusiasm for this type of car is such that building them has becomea "strong hobby/business," called Gold Top Restorations. But Bill really gets fired up when asked about driving his creation. "It puts a smile on my face," he says. "I love driving it. It feels like you're gonna pass your own taillights. That LS6 torque just powers it out of turns." (We went for a ride after our photo shoot, and can readily confirm that). In our book, that in itself is more than worth the extra steps that were taken in building this unique Vette.
Bill and Doug Verboon fabricated the vintage-looking yet thoroughly modern-performing dash cluster and center console.That LS6 looks right at home in the '62's engine bay, and with all that Gen III power on hand, makes this "old" Vette really get up and move.The same fit, finish, and attention to detail found on the rest of the car are just as evident underneath it.