Many Corvette projects-be they NCRS Top Flight-worthy restorations, wild customs, or something in between-start with a Corvette that is in less-than-perfect condition. Some are such basket cases that the baskets and boxes they're stored in are as trashed as the car itself.
But that's not what John Faria started with when he began the project that resulted in the "Z062" Vetterod you see here. A longtime Vette lover, he already owned two (a '74 convertible and an '00 drop-top) when he traveled to Corvettes at Carlisle back in 2003-and saw some Corvettes that caught his eye in a big way. "I came across a few restomods on custom frames, spoke to their owners, and decided that this combination of classic styling with modern performance, handling, and comfort would be the answer," Faria says from his Warwick, Rhode Island, home.
The first thing he did when he got home was sell his '00 Vette, to help bankroll the project that was taking shape in his mind. Next, he began his search for a '61 or '62 Corvette body at a reasonable price-and that's when frustration set in. "Most of the ones that I looked at were real basket cases," Faria recalls, "requiring major bodywork or missing many major components." He wanted a Vette that looked original, but would incorporate subtle changes to improve its overall appearance and function.
One year later, when Corvettes at Carlisle time rolled around again, Faria was there, but still C1-less. While at Carlisle, he took a good look at the available aftermarket frames, ultimately choosing the double-side-rail/no-X-member C1 rolling chassis (with C4 steering and suspension hardware) from Corvette Correction. Reasons why included the frame's construction, which lets the engine sit lower than in a stock frame, while retaining-without cutting-the stock transmission tunnel. This configuration makes it possible to install a gearbox taller than the three-speeds, T10s, and Powerglides that were Corvette's transmission choices way back when.
The following winter, Faria found the C1 he was looking for-a '62 that, while missing its engine and transmission, had a no-hit body and had been stored for more than three decades. It was part of an estate sale (a '63 Sting Ray convertible was also included in the deal, which Faria sold in short order), and before long he'd found a new home for the '62's original frame.
So far, so good. Unfortunately, this was when the project began slowing down, so Faria asked for-and got-the help he needed in getting it finished. "Billy was my savior," he says of Corvette Correction's Billy Dawson, who hauled the body, frame, and other parts Faria had acquired back to Texas. "He took care of it when I got frustrated, and I needed someone to get this thing done."
Before Faria bought the '62, he'd scored a used LS1 engine and a six-speed transmission out of a '98 Firebird. He originally planned to use this powertrain in the Vette, but changed his mind-a couple of times-as GM Performance Parts introduced stronger and stronger crate engines. As Faria recalls, when the LS2 came out in crate form, "I said to Billy, 'Let's not bother with the LS1; let's buy a brand-new LS2.' A couple of years after that, the LS3 came out, just as Billy had the car. I'd sold the LS1 to him, and Billy offered to sell the LS2 for me. He did, for about what I paid for it." Faria also acquired a new six-speed Tremec to go along with his new engine.
Dawson didn't need to do much to the body to get it ready. "When Billy got it, he did some tweaking here and there, and finished up a couple areas that needed it," says Faria. "But, for the most part, the body was about 95 percent done and ready to go." It was then smoothed and dressed in two-stage Viper Red by PAS Enterprises in Seguin, Texas.
The interior got the full-on Al Knoch custom treatment, with red and black Italian leather going on the door panels, dashpad, steering wheel, as well as on a pair of Wise Guys bucket seats Knoch modified with extra padding and bolsters. A repro Wonderbar radio with iPod and MP3 plug-ins went in the dash (under the dashpad, which hides the speakers), Classic Instruments gauges went in the stock gauge pods, and a custom clear shifter knob was made with a C6 Corvette logo embedded inside.
In all, after Dawson hauled the '62 from Rhode Island to Texas, it took only eight more months to create this "Z062." Faria made four trips to Texas from Rhode Island while the build was in progress, to see how his Vette was coming together. In late May 2008, the '62 was finally finished.
Since then, Faria has enjoyed it immensely. "It drives beautifully," he says of his 430-plus-hp Vetterod. "It handles great, and it's fast as hell. It's the fastest thing that I've ever owned!" That enjoyment is shared by everyone who sees it, per Faria. "Wherever I go, it's always a major conversation piece. It gets a lot of attention"
Maybe you've thought of building a Vetterod of your own, from seeing the ones like Faria's featured in the pages of VETTE, or at events like Corvettes at Carlisle. If you've had that idea, Faria has this advice: "You need to plan this thing out ahead of time," he says. "You need to be very well organized and have a good idea of what you're going to do. Even then, you will come up with all kinds of problems, changes, and this and that. I had plenty of time to make my changes, because I had four years.
"There were so many decisions to make, like what kind of interior you want to put into it, what kind of wheels, and what kind of brakes. It's like building a house-there are so many options you have, and decisions you have to make."