Let's face facts: we live in a throw-away society. What was cutting-edge a year ago is on the scrap heap now. VCRs, computers, even most automobiles that are more than a couple of years old, get thrown away and replaced by the latest and greatest. Even then, and upgrade-no matter how extensive and costly-probably won't measure up to newer models. But then again...
Classic Chevy enthusiasts would probably disagree with this attitude, at least when it comes to their rides. For those dyed-in-the-wool cynics who don't, a single look at Bill Verboon's '62 Corvette is all it should take to convince them that upgrading rather than throwing away can be a wonderful thing. Verboon is a life-long Corvette fan, but faced a dilemma after a recent trip in his Duntov Award-winning '62. The summer drive from Durango, Colorado, to the couple's home in Hanford, California, subjected them to 120-degree heat, and Verboon decided that it would be "impossible" to ask his wife Karen to drive cross-country in an un-air-conditioned car. So what would it be? Replacement? The couple already owned a '98 convertible. Upgrade? That would be easy enough-there are plenty of aftermarket A/C systems available. Bill Verboon, however, had entirely different ideas.
He chose to upgrade. But even the casual observer will probably notice that this '62 has had a bit more done to it than the addition of air conditioning, and Verboon is quick with an answer when the obvious is pointed out: "It's always overkill with me (Editor's note: A few of us can probably relate to this). I have a plan in mind when I build a car, and like to carry it out to the extreme."
Verboon's plan for a bit of overkill began when the bare frame from a donor '62 went to Paul Newman's Car Creations in Templeton, California, where it was modified to accept the complete suspension system and brakes, steering rack-and-pinion, and 3.42:1-geared rearend from a '90 Corvette. The stock '62 pedals were then modified to work with a custom master cylinder.
Once he got the modified frame back, Verboon estimates that he spent over 1,000 hours on the project, and it's hard to argue with the execution of his plan, which was: "Lot's of guys can build show cars, but you can't drive them anywhere. With mine, you can jump in and drive-you just have to clean it up afterward. I build them to be fully functional."
This beauty is certainly that. A '93 LT1 rests beneath the hood, sporting Street and Performance pulleys, chrome valve covers, and a chrome air cleaner. The frame was modified to accept Hooker full-length headers, and the body to fit around a '93 ZF six-speed. The 21/2-inch, ceramic-coated exhaust features a one-off crossover pipe (by Capps of Fresno, California) and Borla Hemi stainless mufflers; Williams Classic Chassis in La Verne, California, notched the rear crossmember to tuck the pipes in. Denny's Driveshaft of New York provided a driveshaft to link it all to the go-wheels.
The '62 rolls on '96 Corvette 8.5x17-inch wheels shod with Goodyear EMTs at all four corners, with just enough space for the modern rubber to fit inside the stock fenders. Bilstein shocks smooth out the bumps, and a custom-made ididit steering column was fitted to keep things on-track.
It should come as no surprise that Verboon thought it'd be "nice" to be pampered with some creature comforts. To that end, the interior was updated with a Dakota Digital dash system, a Custom Autosound Stereo (with CD player), new upholstery, Simpson five-point belts, and a steering wheel from Corvette Central. And let's not forget the air conditioning! Vintage Air provided a little cool for this Vette, and Verboon fabricated the vents. He also installed a Ron Francis Wiring Works harness, linking all those parts into a harmonious whole.
Verboon and his son Doug performed the requisite bodywork, and Doug applied the luscious coats of '98 Corvette Torch Red. Bill then re-fit the stock bumpers, and the result is nothing short of stunning. Indeed, the whole car sports form to go along with its function. Everything is powdercoated, stainless steel, or other material that's as impervious to elements as you can get.
"It's gonna last a long time," according to Verboon, and it's a good thing, cause we're betting this '62 will see a lot of miles. After all its upgrades, he has a Vette that's "very comparable" to a C5-in fact, the older car's lighter weight helps balance the scales.
If you think that Verboon is done recycling and updating, think again-he recently started work on another '62, this one to be powered by either an LT4 or an LS1, and sporting a coat of Corvette Millennium Yellow paint. It's a plan that's hard to beat-a '62 Vette with all the modern conveniences, melding technologies that are close to half a century apart into a package that looks as good as it goes.