While nearly all levels of NHRA racing continue to get faster and louder than ever before, the 1960s still wear the crown as the Golden Age of Drag Racing. It was a time when the sport was viewed as a dangerous past time, filled with outsiders who spent their free time creating automotive monsters bent on punishing quarter mile strips of asphalt. It was risky, regionalized, and personal. These days, connecting with that old raw spirit of racing is big business and vintage race cars of all types are increasingly hot commodities. This 1962 Corvette, nicknamed Mag Winder, captures the essence of ‘60s racing with a dyno-proven 502 hp small block, Super T10 four-speed, and plenty of old school visuals. Meticulously restored, the car has claimed first place accolades at some big shows like Super Chevy and the Street Machine Nationals but remains a force on the street. If you like to mix show car quality, brutal power, and old school charm, you’re C1 is in.
When it comes to building drag cars with a vintage flair, the later C1 Corvettes are definitely a great platform. Aside from being the quintessential American sports car, the new-for-1962 body style looks like its lunging forward even when it’s parked. As mentioned, this was a body-off job and a comprehensive one at that. The fiberglass shell was stripped down to its bare essence and carefully massaged into an even canvas for fresh Ermine White paint. This was never intended to be an NCRS factory-or-nothing type of build so the body work went a bit further than many C1 restorations. Panel fitment is above average and the whole car presents closer to “show car perfect” than “Corvette perfect”. The slick white paintwork is accented by a pair of dark red racing stripes which offer a subtle amount of flake that remains practically invisible until sunlight hits.
The sleek body and paint is backed up by a host of details that take the Mag Winder to a whole new level. The front view is familiar with dual headlights on either side and a chrome-lipped mouth of a grille in the center. Crisp “Corvette” lettering lines the nose, just under the traditional cross flag emblems. The side profile finds another set of cross flag emblems in place about “fuel injection” badges on the fenders. Behind the simulated vents, more dark red paint ties into the stripes and adds a hint of aggression. Above the vents, “Mag Winder” lettering lets spectators know this car has a name and a purpose. From the stainless rocker pieces to the window trim, all the brightwork shows just as well as the paint, for a well-finished look all around. Glass is equally nice and dressed with killer vintage sticker from brands like Iskenderian cams and Schiefer Mfg. Co. In typical race car form, the rear bumper has been shaved and a six-taillight setup has been added for some period-correct custom work.
Flip the hood forward on this old-school racer to find a 383ci stroker dressed in a healthy mix of vintage and late model hardware. At the center is a tried and true 3750010 casting Chevrolet small block dressed in traditional orange paint. The block is topped with aluminum AFR heads that frame a vintage Winters intake. Fuel is delivered by a Demon carburetor which tucks neatly under a smooth chrome open element air cleaner. Finned Corvette valve covers keep the vintage good looks going. The front of the engine spins little more than a chrome alternator while a Harrison expansion tank fills in space on the driver side. Cooling is provided by an aluminum radiator topped with vintage stickers from Sun Instruments and Detroit Dragway. An MSD ignition fires the small block to life while coated Hooker headers feed spent exhaust gases through a stainless exhaust system with cut-outs, an X-pipe, and Flowmaster mufflers. All totaled, the setup is good for a documented 502 hp and 517 lb ft of torque.
Take a peek underneath for more high quality restoration work. While the body was off, the frame, along with several major suspension components, received a fresh coat of black paint that really allows the new hardware to pop. Behind the 383, a Borg Warner Super T-10 four-speed manual transmission with a scatter shield makes quick work of shifting. Around the drivetrain, the factory suspension remains in place with an A-arm independent front suspension and a live axle with leaf springs out back. Naturally, there are a few additions to help out on the track. The rear features adjustable air shocks and axle rebound straps while sway bars can be found at both ends. Steering is a manual as is the braking system which utilizes drum brakes all around. At the corners, 15-inch American Racing five spoke wheels add some vintage flavor wrapped in 6.70/15 rubber up front and 7.75/15 cheater slicks out back.
Between the fiberglass doors of the Mag Winder, the bright red interior remains mostly stock. Of course, with GM interior design of the 1960s, that’s never a bad thing. Wide stainless door sill plates welcome entrants while cleaning up the edges of the new red carpet. Above, a pair of low slung bucket seats provide seating for two, divided by the transmission tunnel. In front of the driver, an attractive array of stock instrumentation keeps tabs on fuel, temperature, speed, battery, and oil pressure. There is a factory tachometer mounted on top of the steering column but, if that one is too tricky to see, a dash-mounted vintage Sun tach should do the trick. The attractive center stack offers a Wonderbar signal seeking radio but the real entertainment system is behind the seats where a Song AM/FM/CD head unit modernizes things a bit. At either side, bright red door panels round out the cockpit with sweeping stainless and chrome pieces. Nearly every piece in the cabin is ready for show, including the neatly finished trunk space.
The Mag Winder comes with plenty of paperwork to show its journey. There is a binder full of restoration pictures, as well as receipts, and even a few vintage pictures. Also included is the dyno sheet from American Speed that verifies the 383’s 502 hp output.
Dressed in full drag race regalia, powered by one angry small block, and built with the kind of attention usually reserved for full blown show cars, this 1962 Corvette captures the feel of 1960s racing with all the advantages of the modern era. With a couple of big show wins under its belt and a look that will draw a crowd in an instant, this C1 has a bright great past and an even brighter future.