Back in July 1969, Jake Brecher of Bergenfield, New Jersey, was a 19-year-old mechanic working for his father's auto repair shop in the nearby South Bronx. Brecher had always loved wrenching on cars, and it just so happened that he had a beauty of his own to work on: a hot, silver '62 Corvette he had purchased two years earlier from a local seller. The first-generation Vette had been a dream for young Brecher, a dream he wasn't sure would ever become a reality. Every day was like a holiday, since he got to cruise in the car he had always worshiped as a kid.
Even though the Vette was a clean ride, Brecher brashly cruised the streets of North Jersey, looking for traffic-light brawls with any muscle machine willing to take a chance against him. Unsuspecting street racers on Jersey's Route 4 soon found out that not only was the Corvette a beauty to look at—with its metallic paint and contrasting red interior—but it also had the right hardware where it counted: a beefy, twin-four-barrel 327 under the hood, and a four-speed T-10 controlled by a Hurst stick between the buckets.
On this particular summer day, Brecher was home, going about his everyday business while his parents were away on vacation. When the mail arrived, he found an envelope addressed to him personally from Uncle Sam. It seems the government wanted Brecher to do an extended "vacation" overseas in Vietnam, free of charge. This wasn't a total surprise to him, as he was young and healthy, and the draft was well underway. Brecher, for his part, was ready to answer the call, but there was one thing he had to do first: store his prized '62 in a safe location, where it would await his return.
Brecher's dad had augmented the floor plan of the family's bi-level home over the years, boarding up a section of the double-sized garage to make an extra storage room/kitchenette for his growing family. Brecher decided that particular room would be a perfect place to store the car, so, armed with a Skilsaw, he got to work. He took out the divider wall his father had built, cutting away the sheet rock so he could drive his Corvette into its new resting place, right next to the family's downstairs kitchen.
Needless to say, when his parents came back from their trip to find the '62 parked next to the kitchenette's stove, they were a little perturbed. But when Brecher showed them his draft papers, their opinion of his handiwork quickly changed. The car would remain there until Brecher came back from the war, nearly two years later on New Year's Eve, 1970.
Brecher's Corvette was already a performance machine when he purchased it. Previous owners had done some interesting modifications to make it a respectable street performer, and those mods were still present when the car made its trip back to the Brecher's home in Bergenfield. Dual quads graced the top of the high-revving 327, while Hollywood glasspacks spit gasses out with an aggressive snarl. "Baloney sliced" exhaust tips graced the back end of the car, and the hardtop was covered skillfully with fresh black vinyl.
But once he was safely back from Vietnam, Brecher formulated even bigger plans for the Vette. He was back wrenching cars during the day, and hitting busy Route 4 in Paramus at night, looking for cocky street racers to run. In a search for more power, he started making changes.
First off, Brecher realized that the dual quads were just a little too temperamental for his liking. He decided to switch parts with a buddy, putting on his friend's Tarantula intake first, then replacing that with a Smokey Yunick ram intake he had scored. A big Holley 850 double-pumper and a magneto were also part of the deal. The car just screamed with this combination, and it was much easier to get the air/fuel mixture where he wanted it.
Brecher also started doing mods to the suspension. He had the rear spring re-arced by a local shop, which raised the rear and made room for his 15x10 Ansen Sprint wheels and large, sticky tires. He then installed a set of 4.56 gears to make the most of the newfound power.
Up front, Pappy Huff of Gasoline Alley in Paterson, New Jersey, made him 2.5-inch spacers to install under the front crossmember and raise the front end. Huff also made a set of custom traction bars out of 1.75 square stock, and these replaced the set of tubular arms that were on the car when Brecher purchased it. Matching 15x8.5 Ansens were placed under the front fenders.
Brecher's next step was to commission a custom, 425hp 327 from a local builder. The engine proved to be a big performer on the street, but it ended up blowing when Brecher shifted into Second outside the gates of Raceway Park in Old Bridge. A buddy in an Opel GT "rope towed" Brecher home the 40 miles back to Bergenfield, where he contemplated his next step. After much consideration, he decided to make it a show car.