Around the Shop - January 1st 2023

Black '62 Corvettes, Ruling at JBA!


We often have our fair share of solid-axle Corvettes around the JBA Speed Shop digs. In a pleasant coincidence, in recent months they have all been ‘62s, which to our minds is just bad ass! These classics are the final year of the solid-axle cars and also the first to be equipped with the venerable and these-days-legendary 327 Chevy four-barrel small-block V-8.

To many the 327 was the best early small-block of all of the three most popular sizes, that we’d surmise are the 283, 327 and 350. Maybe it’s the Goldilocks principle that makes the 327 the ideal balance of the three displacements, but whatever it is, we’ll take it.

As far as the Corvettes themselves we're showing here, the second coincidence beyond the pristine Roman Red '62 we touched on back in October ( is this pair of black '62s in the shop this week.

Very similar in a number of ways, there are also some differences worth noting as well. While both have a black finish on the body, one car has the triple-black treatment, which includes the paint, top and interior. The other car has a bit more variation on the color wheel with its black paint, white top and red interior.

Besides the colors, the two cars are also equipped with two different 327s of the four that were available for this final year of solid-axle Corvettes. And for reference, the above link on the red '62 also has more detailed info on the 327s that powered the '62s for the first time in Corvette history.

The triple-black car has the 340-horsepower 327, which was the highest performing small-block other than the 360-horse version equipped with Rochester mechanical fuel-injection. These top-level "fuelies" were definitely the big boys of the day, but the 327/340s were no dogs either.

The black/red/white car has the 300-horsepower 327, which was the next step up from the base-level 250-horsepower 327, which, by the way, was the base-level small-block in Corvettes through 1965, at which time the 300hp/327 became the base engine for the '66s and '67s, as well as the first-year shark-body '68s, until it was replaced by the 350 for the '69s.

Note also the photos of the tachometers in each car. The 327/300 car has a lower redline tach that's 5,300 rpm. The higher-performance 327/340 tach has a 6,500 rpm redline. It's one of a number of ways to determine which engine came in solid-axle (all small-blocks), mid-year and shark body (C1, C2 and C3) Corvettes. Cars equipped with higher-performance engines (both small- and big- blocks) had higher-redline tachs.

Getting back to similarities, both cars are equipped with Borg Warner T-10 four-speeds--a much more desirable transmission than the two-speed Powerglide slushbox automatics that were the alternative. While the 300hp/327 could be equipped either way, it has always been a great thing that the two higher level 327s were only available with a much-more-desirable four-gear and three pedals.

As for the work being done on this pair of '62s, the triple-black car is getting a full refresh of its 340-horse 327. It's also getting new motor mounts and a re-core of the radiator.

The black/red/white car's 327/300 is solid, and it got a new fuel pump, a new harmonic balancer and we got the speedometer working with a new cable.

So when all this handiwork is completed, these getting-near-62-year-old '62s will be ready to hit the road for another 62--years that is! --Miles Cook

'62 Corvettes