Let's face facts: we live in a throw-away society. What was cutting-edge a year ago is on the scrap heap now. VCR not working? Throw it away and buy a new one. Computer outdated? You could upgrade, but it's usually cheaper to get rid of it and buy the latest and greatest, not to mention the fact that an upgrade-no matter how extensive and costly-probably won't measure up to the newest model. Is your automobile more than a couple of years old? Trade that sucker in! Why fix something that's worn out and outmoded? Why indeed..
A single look at Bill Verboon's '62 Corvette is all it should take to convince most enthusiasts that upgrading rather than throwing away can be a wonderful thing. Verboon, along with then-new wife Karen, bought his first Corvette in 1960. That white and red '59 carried the newlyweds on their honeymoon, and started a lifetime involvement with Corvetting. Among the many slick rides owned by the couple have been a '60 and a '62 (a Duntov Award winner), and a '91 ZR-1. The '62 became the couple's "N.C.R.S. let's go on the road tour driver." Their last trip in that car, however, made clear the limitations of 38-year-old technology. That 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 Karen to drive cross-country in an un-air-conditioned car. So what would it be? Replacement? The couple already own 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. I like to start out with a bare frame and build a pristine car." And there's always a method to his madness: "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 to take shape in 1996, when he met Paul Newman of Car Creations. VETTE readers are already familiar with the work of Mr. Newman ("Prescription for Fun," Mar. '00), and when Verboon drove Newman's own '62, Verboon knew that this was the next step for him. After taking a year to find a donor car and assemble a budget for the project, work began in earnest. The bare frame went to Newman's California facility (3430 Pomar Dr., Dept. VM, Templeton, CA 93465; 805/226-9201), where it was extensively modified to accept the complete front and rearsuspension systems and brakes from a '90 Corvette. That '90 also donated its rack-and-pinion steering and 3.42:1-geared rearend. Car Creations then modified the stock pedals to work with a custom master cylinder before sending the works back to Verboon.
At this point, it was up to Verboon to make his plan a road-going reality. He estimates that he spent over 1,000 hours of his own time on the project, and it's hard to argue with the results. Two elements were central to "The Plan," according to Verboon: "Lots 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." On the other hand, Verboon loves to build cars that are recognized by other enthusiasts with People's Choice awards; "that's what it's all about," he says. So..