1962 CHEVROLET CORVETTE STYLING CHANGES
The styling on the 1962 was largely carried over from 1961, with a few notable exceptions. The front grille was now blacked out, and for the first time, you could order rims to match the body color, in limited selection of beige, black, maroon, red or silver. But the biggest change was the elimination of the chrome trim surrounding the side coves, and the discontinuation of the 2-tone paint option. Until now, those later 1st-generation Corvettes could be ordered with the coves painted a different color than the rest of the body. Otherwise, Chevrolet left well enough alone in this, the last year of the 1st-generation. The all-new 1963 was right around the corner.
1962 CHEVROLET CORVETTE SALES SOAR
Despite the news of the impending new Corvette due out in the 1963 model year, sales of 1962 models topped all other years to date. They weren’t huge numbers in the world of car production, but these were practically hand-built in those days. Sales had been climbing steadily from just 300 units in 1955 to over 9,000 in 1958, then to almost 11,000 by 1961. But for model year 1962 the Corvette found 14,531 buyers. This was sufficient to require a second shift to be opened at the factory where they were built.
1962 Chevrolet Corvette CONVERTIBLE TOPS
1962 Chevrolet Corvette INTERIORS
1962 Chevrolet Corvette ENGINES
The 283 was retired from Corvette duty. It was replaced by a 327 V8, which was a bored and stroked 283. The dual 4-barrel setup was also retired for good. The base engine was now a 327 with single 4-barrel carburetor producing 250hp. Next up was another 327 with 4-barrel and 10.5:1 compression making 300hp. The high-performance 4-barrel engine had 11.25:1 compression and made 340hp. But at the top of the heap in power, grace, drivability, and eyeball, was the “Fuelie”, a 360hp 327 with the Rochester mechanical fuel injection sitting on top. It was gorgeous. It was otherworldly, for what people were used to seeing in those days. And it was wicked fast. I used to own a ’55 Nomad with a 375hp Fuelie out of a ’65 Vette. It powered the heavy Nomad to one victory after another. It was unbeatable back in the day. The secret: I could get another 750 rpm out of every shift because of the fuel injection, which never ran out of air, like a carburetor.
283hp 283 V8 w/ROCHESTER MECHANICAL FUEL INJECTION
This ground-breaking system, introduced in ’57 gave the 283 more power, better drivability, better fuel economy, and more rpm. Nothing could touch it. Unfortunately, it was an expensive option so few were ordered. In the end, it was found to be cheaper to simply build bigger engines. The “Fuelie” was redesigned starting in ’63, but was discontinued after the ’65 model year (below).
283 V8 w/2 4-BARREL CARBS
Another way to get the big power that was cheaper than fuel injection was slapping two 4-barrel carburetors on top. They made prodigious power at higher RPMs but suffered from poor drivability at lower revs. This was the last year for two 4-barrels on any Chevy.
1962 CHEVROLET CORVETTE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL
The ’62 Vette was significant in several ways. Of course, it was the last of the 1st-Gen Corvettes, and in that it also represented the absolute best of the 1st-generation, its zenith. And it had totally transformed itself in that first generation. But this is also the last Corvette to have a trunk for a good many years (not until the 5th-generation), and the last to have exposed headlights until the 6th-gen. And it was the first to adopt the new 327 V8.