The great thing about building a modified Corvette is having the freedom to design it to your own personal specs. The theme you choose to carry through the car-from engine choice to interior trim and exterior color-reflects just how imaginative you can be. The same applies for the chassis: Only your imagination and your wallet limit the level of sophistication you choose for your Vette's suspension configuration and braking ability.
There's also the level of craftsmanship you bring to the project. Restoring a vintage Corvette to NCRS or Bloomington Gold judging standards (they're significantly different) will definitely test your mettle. In the end, however, you have a '62, for example, that looks exactly like hundreds of other perfectly restored Corvettes from that model year. That's great, but where's the individuality? What you do with a modified, however, demonstrates your creative and imaginative talent. It can also be a mix of modern and vintage, serving as a rolling reminder of decades gone by when $5 of gas filled a tank, not a gallon jug.
Regardless of whether you opt to go mildest or wildest, how well you execute has a significant impact on the final result. That's what we liked about this wicked little '62 roadster tucked away in with the high-buck lineup of Corvettes in Rick Treworgy's Punta Gorda, Florida, collection. Treworgy has a most impressive collection of Vettes, ranging from a restored '54 right up to C4 ZR1s and C5 and C6 Z06s. One of his favorites is a white '66 roadster with LS1 power, a C4 suspension, and a modified interior. The group also includes 16 big-block midyears in both coupe and convertible forms. Hey, what can we say? The man likes Corvettes a lot.
We took the '62 outside for a better look and to pass it in front of the camera. Only 232 miles have gone by since it was sprayed, so the fresh PPG Hot Rod Red paint seemed to vibrate under the bright sun. The car has a vintage rake, thanks to the chassis setup, the chrome 16-inch Americans, and chunky Michelin rubber. All of the original trim and emblems are intact, including the gorgeous crossed-flags front emblem used only in 1962. Aside from the wheels and the aggressive stance, Treworgy's Vette looks pretty stock from the outside, and that's cool.
Open the driver's door and slide in behind the wheel. There's the massive bank of gauges set in Harley Earl's famous school of excessive '50s design. Most everything looks familiar, but something's different: the steering wheel. Ingress was a little easier since the wheel has been cut down to only 15 inches in diameter, with a soft leather rim instead of the original hard plastic. The tinny AM radio was long ago replaced with a Custom Autosound KNW801 AM/FM/Cassette with a separate 10-disc CD changer and speakers mounted in the kick panels. There's also one oddity on the floor next to the shifter-and a dead giveaway to the go-fast goodies that lie below: a five-speed shift pattern next to what appears to be a stock Muncie lever.
Underneath is an Art Morrison chassis that starts with a 2x4-inch welded-steel frame mounting C4 upper and lower front control arms with spindles. There's also power rack-and-pinion steering; front and rear stabilizer bars; a triangulated, four-bar rear link; and Strange adjustable coilovers at all four corners. GM discs are employed front and rear, with 215/60R16 Michelins at the steering end and 225/50R16s astern. The setup makes for smooth cruising, with sufficient tautness for good cornering, yet it retains a lot of that old-school '60s look by foregoing super-wide, ultra-low-profile modern rubber. There's nothing wrong with piling on all the latest hardware, but Treworgy's Vette was assembled with an eye toward creating a mild mix of old and new technology. You remember the KISS principle, right? When this '62 was built, the operative phrase was "Keep It Simple, Stupid."
That same philosophy applies to the powertrain. The engine of choice for the '62 was a GM ZZ4 crate motor. Who knows how many thousands of ZZ4s power street rods and a variety of Chevys and Corvettes? The durable 350ci engine has a healthy 0.474/0.510 hydraulic roller cam, stamped-steel 1.5:1 rockers, and a forged crank. With a Holley four-barrel, HEI ignition, and Hedman headers dumping into a set of two-chamber Flowmasters, this ZZ4 is cranking around 350 hp. Nothing exotic here, but then, exotic's not the idea-just good, old-time street performance. Mated to the ZZ4 is a Doug Nash five-speed gearbox spinning a 3.55:1 Posi rear, an excellent mix for cruising and performance.
Of all the Corvettes Rick Treworgy can drive, there's something special about this little red roadster. He'll pull it out for a run to the local cruise-in hangout on a warm Florida Saturday, crank up the oldies on the radio, and maybe make a few full-throttle blasts on the way home. For him, it's a remembrance of days gone by and a great way to relive those memories today. Rock on.