In today's world of classic Chevys, the stock resto cars can get lost in the fog of all the high-dollar, high-tech, high-detail restomods and customs being cranked out. Not to say there's anything wrong with those, but the man (or woman) with a factory-original piece of Detroit steel can be left feeling inadequate, unloved, and virtually forgotten.
But in simplicity there's beauty, and like the woman who looks stunning without makeup, there's something uniquely enchanting about a factory original car. Even when it's like our subject Bow Tie, which started out life as a mild mannered 283 Bel Air, but was transformed into a mighty 409-powered hero.
Joe Horisk had gone to the 2010 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction looking to buy a '62 Bel Air. Hard to imagine, but he left the event nearly disgusted at not finding the W-motor-equipped '62 he pined for. Joe had been staying at a friend's house in the area, and while sitting back the next day thinking about his next move, he decided to peruse the local classified section. There in monochromatic type was an ad: "For Sale: '62 Bel Air Ready for Assembly"
Bing! A quick call to the owner confirmed the car was still for sale, and upon arrival it was a Christmas Day-style moment for Horisk.
"There were pieces under this guy's bed, chrome plating was done, chassis powdercoated, a new CARS Inc. interior stitched up and ready for installation. Cad plated parts from the factory, like new, stacked everywhere," Horisk says. "The body was off the frame and still wearing its original paint, no signs of rust having ever tarnished it."
The floors still had original red oxide primer on the underside, and the frame was completely devoid of pits or other blemishes. It didn't take long for the deal to be struck, and the bubbletop became his.
After all the parts and pieces were shipped back to his home in Delaware, Joe started the next daunting task: finding all the correct, date coded pieces to make the Bel Air into a hyper-accurate 409 clone. This might seem difficult under the best of circumstances, but making it harder was that the '62 was built in the second week of January. To be correct the engine, trans, rear pumpkin, and other related accessories had to be date coded late '61. Two years of hunting, wheeling, and dealing netted everything necessary, including a rare "Big T"-coded pumpkin for the rear.
From that point, it took another year to fully assemble the entire car. Once finished, it was an eye-catching sight that even Joe found himself unable to turn away from. When we saw the car at the 2011 Goodguys PPG Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, it was only the second time the Bel Air had been out since its completion.
Simple, clean, straightforward, and subdued in appearance. While this '62 might not scream "Hear Me Roar" like other Chevys out there, it makes its statement with the quiet demeanor and power of a truly beautiful classic.