One of the best parts of the C1 Corvette is its ability to display a wide range of personalities without ever straying from its performance roots. From refined to sinister, a change of color is all it takes to show these cars in a new light. This 1962 Corvette roadster airs on the classier side of possibilities thanks to its tasteful Fawn Beige exterior and matching cockpit. But don’t let that reserved look fool you – there’s some serious firepower underneath that fiberglass. A tribute to the 1,918 cars equipped with the legendary L84 327ci, the car mixes a beefy 360hp small block with a Borg Warner four-speed transmission. The beneficiary of a frame-off restoration, the car presents with authenticity and feels every bit as good as it looks on the road. There is never a bad time for a great Corvette and this L84-equipped ’62 roadster is definitely one of the best!
Judging by its serial number, this roadster left GM’s St. Louis line in May of 1962. While a lot of cars left that plant dressed in red, white, or silver, this roadster found a more sophisticated hue in code 920 Fawn Beige. The color’s impact is heightened by Chevrolet’s decision to go monochromatic for the model year, putting an end to those classic contrasting coves. The paintwork presents as it should – even and lustrous without crossing the line into over-restored territory. There are pictures of the car stripped to its bare essence during the build and, even then, the body presented well. It was the kind of solid no-hit shell builders always hope to begin with. Panel fitment is true to factory standards and, overall, the car makes a great first impression.
For 1962, Chevrolet further refined an already great body style, creating a perfect send-off piece for the C1 Corvette. This example wears those updates well. At the front, a black grille insert sits above chrome bumperettes while quad headlights cap the fenders. Corvette script spans the space between those headlights, capped by a ’62-exclusive Corvette emblem. Follow the hood toward a crystal clear windshield, wrapped in well-preserved stainless and kept clean by stainless wipers. Swing over to the side to admire the swept front fender wells leading into those classic coves. Crisp “Fuel Injection” badges hang underneath another set of cross-flag emblems while the side cutouts features fine-tooth ’62-exclusive grilles. A driver side mirror, chrome door handles, and ribbed rocker molding complete the view. Out back, the “ducktail” continues the overall sense of motion, capped by dual round taillights and a second set of chrome bumperettes.
If you wanted the top option Corvette, the new-for-’62 L84 327ci was the way to go. Making an impressive 1.146hp per cubic inch (360hp total), the compact powerhouse remained the highest-rated production small block ever offered by Chevrolet until the quad-cam LT5 was introduced in 1990. Rebuilt to factory specs, the correct small block in this roadster utilizes a high-lift cam, “double hump” heads, and 11.25:1 compression to help make those impressive numbers. Of course, the star of the show is the Rochester mechanical fuel injection setup perched atop an aluminum Winters intake– an option just 1,918 buyers selected for the model year. The front of the engine turns little aside from a period-correct generator while the water pump pairs with a Harrison radiator, a Harrison expansion tank, GM hoses, and single fan to keep the bay cool. The finned valve covers wear their age well and, at the back, the chrome ignition cover adds some factory flash to the engine compartment. Turn the key and the small block comes to life without fuss, ready for the back roads.
Crawl under this Corvette to find a solid undercarriage restored to the same standards as the exterior. The floors are finished with a light layer of undercoating while the X-braced frame and several key components are finished in satin black. Behind the L84, a Borg Warner T10 four-speed provides smooth shifts, spinning power back to a 8.2” drop-out rear axle. Suspension stays true to the stock formula with a double A-arm independent front and a solid axle with leaf springs out back. There are sway bars at both ends and axle straps come in handy during quick takeoffs. The driving experience is a direct one thanks to manual steering and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes which are surprisingly effective at the bringing the car to a halt. The exhaust system meets in front of the bright orange oil pan and extends back on either side, carrying spent gases out through factory-style mufflers and angle-cut pipes. At the corners, a set of 15-inch wheels spins full covers and 6.70-16 white walls, completing the car in period correct styling.
Between the doors, this Corvette carries a matching Fawn interior, continuing that upmarket feel inside. Step over the polished door sill pates onto Tuxedo carpeting with custom floors mats. That carpet extends on the bottom of the restored door panels freshened with new hardware and reflectors. The vinyl bucket seats are still firm and supportive and the stainless outlines that extend behind them present as new, flowing into the classic waterfall. There is no center console to speak of but the shifter is surrounded by an original looking shift plate console with an ashtray on the right side. The dash is an attractive jet-age carry over with a large curved speedometer backing a fuel gauge, a temperature gauge, a column-mounted tachometer, a battery output gauge, and an oil pressure gauge all housed in round pods. All the chrome pulls and switches show well and, in the center stack, a Wonder Bar radio tops heater controls and a clock, both outlined in stainless. This is a two-top car so, behind the seats, you’ll find a white canvas top which can be hidden and replaced by a body-matched hardtop whenever you feel so inclined.
This sale of this roadster includes an original owner’s guide and restoration images which document that paint process and nearly every major casting, date code, and part number.
Corvettes are always special cars and rare examples like this take their appeal off the charts. With just 1,918 equipped with the L84 327, its value is sure to increase; especially when you factor in the Borg Warner four-speed and the tasteful color choice. The car presents well from any angle you can dream up and the fuel-injected small block is just as fun now as it was in 1962. If you’re looking for a unique C1 Corvette to round out your collection, this Fawn Beige roadster is the perfect choice!