1962 Chevrolet Bel Air - Take Two

Rod Piazza took an already-built ’62 Bel Air, and tuned it up to match his style

Patrick Hill Sep 10, 2013 0 Comment(s)
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When you make a living singing the blues, you want something to cruise in that matches the vibe and personality of the genre. Enter Rod Piazza and his black-as-a-moonless-night-on-the-bayou '62 Bel Air. Rod is the front man for The Mighty Flyers, and when he's not blowing on his harp, he's cruising in his bubble top.

Rod was surfing eBay one day and spotted the '62 for sale in Des Moines, Iowa. He had seen a '62 at a Goodguys event, and was bitten by the fullsize Chevy bug. The one for sale was a finished car, running and driving, and what Rod wanted to start with for a cruiser of his own. A friend who'd spent his life in California offered to go get the bubbletop (an eye opener for said friend, who had never experienced weather outside southern California), and soon the '62 was in Rod's garage, ready for its second take.

Just owning the car, because of its rarity, and getting it where it is today has been the most rewarding thing.

Even though it was really well built, it just didn't have the extra details that suited it to Rod's personality. First thing to go was the stock suspension, replaced with a full Ridetech air system. Then a set of Intro Malibu wheels were added, 20x8.5 front, 22x8.5 rear. The interior was totally redone, with the front and rear benches recovered in red leather with factory-style cloth black inserts and a silver accent "V." A Billet Specialties wheel was added, along with a B&M shifter topped with a skull. The stock radio was left in place, but a hidden modern Sony stereo unit was installed for improved sounds, and all the speakers upgraded.

From there, Rod took the car to Tony at Speed Shop Paint in Corona, California, to be sprayed in PPG black. Then California one-piece bumpers were installed front and rear. For motivation the 350 the car already had was left in place, as it pumped out a healthy 400 hp, and was mild mannered enough for regular street driving. Behind it is a 700-R4 overdrive auto that spins the driveshaft connected to the Posi-equipped rearend.

The whole process of reworking the vehicle took about a year, and the results left nothing but a smile its owner's face.

"Just owning the car, because of its rarity, and getting it where it is today, has been the most rewarding thing. I've had this car four years, longer than any other classic I've owned."

Looking at the finished Bel Air, we gotta think it'll be tough for Rod to sing the blues after taking any sort of drive in it.

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