We all know that every Corvette has a story behind it. Some are more interesting than others, and the tale behind this slick '62 is one of the more intriguing ones we've heard in quite some time. Before it was purchased by Kerry Ungs of St. Petersburg, Florida, the car served time as both a race machine and a show vehicle, winning more than its share of trophies, awards, and records in both capacities. That explains the remarkably low 39,000 miles on the odometer-8,000 of which Ungs has racked up over the past six years of street cruising.
The previous owner passed along details of the car's history to Ungs, who related them to us in a recent interview. After seeing street service with a base engine and dressed in Roman Red, the car was converted to quarter-mile duty sometime in the late '60s. Stripped down, painted black and campaigned by the team of O'Connell, Hill and Buscart, the '62 went on to become an 11-time NHRA record-holder.
In 1977, the '62 went through another metamorphosis. It was pulled apart again, painted silver and transformed into a custom show car. It then competed in the Southern Showcar Association circuit and won the World of Wheels in 1978. In fact, when Ungs got the car, it still had a custom, diamond-tufted interior. "I couldn't drive it [like that]," he tells us. "My head stuck up above the windshield."
Ungs jettisoned the overstuffed thrones in favor of factory-correct replacements, then installed an assortment of Auto Meter gauges in the stock instrument pods. (The original 160-mph speedometer was retained.) A vintage aftermarket AM/FM radio, racing belts and a roll cage round out the interior changes.
Next, Ungs rolled the '62 over to Scott Blakeney at Specialty Performance Engineering for a new powertrain. Blakeney started with a 434-cube Motion small-block, complete with a 4340 crank and H-beam rods pinned to 10.9:1-compression JE pistons. The Brodix Track 1 heads were CNC-ported and fitted with a TD rocker system. A solid roller cam and Milodon gear drive ensure accurate timing, while an MSD ignition unit and Pro Billet distributor provide the fire to sustain the stroker's high-rpm grunt.
While all this hardware is impressive, Ungs wanted something truly special sitting on top of the block. "Scott and I decided electronic fuel injection on a tunnel ram would be different," he says. "You just don't see that very often. Hell, I had never seen it before!" It took Blakeney many hours of labor to get the BDS injection system to work with the tunnel ram, but he was eventually able to tune the combo to deliver 702 horsepower at 7,350 rpm and 598 lb-ft of torque at 3,300 rpm. The engine is docile in traffic, doesn't overheat, and makes more than enough power for neck-snapping blasts.
The transmission is a 700-R4 automatic with a manual valve body. Blakeney fabricated a custom mounting position under the tunnel to preserve the stock shifter location. At the rear is a Dana 60 differential with 4.11 gears on a ladder-bar/coilover suspension. The rear itself was tubbed to accept fat 12-inch Centerlines on 29x15 Hoosier Pro Streets. Up front is a stock suspension with 4-inch Centerline skinnies. Aerospace discs at all four corners ensure the car stops as quickly it goes.
A new coat of silver was laid down by Superior Auto Body in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the '62 was set for the street. "I drive this car every time I can, weather permitting," Ungs says. While his super-sano '62 may have been a money pit in the past, for Kerry Ungs, the smiles per mile are more than worth it.