Many times, when we ask feature-Corvette owners for their advice to other prospective Vette restorers, their reply is, "Get the best car for your money."

Sometimes, that isn't possible. But Ron Renick didn't let that get in the way of restoring the 340hp '62 Corvette you see here.

Renick found this C1 in the early '70s, in far-from-perfect condition. "It was in a wreck that tore the right side out of it," he recalls. "I bought it, actually, as a parts car."

Other than the crash damage, and a non-original small-block V-8 in the engine bay, the car was complete and—in Renick's view—worth saving. "I took it all apart—the interior, bumpers, and chrome— and boxed it, and put it upstairs in the garage," he says. "That helped, because it didn't [deteriorate]. I didn't want to lose the important stuff."

Renick, who operates a used-auto-parts and salvage yard, let the body sit on his lot for almost four decades before starting the restoration. During that time, he tracked down the items he would need. "I spent hours and hours walking around Corvettes at Carlisle gathering parts for it," he says.

He also had help in tracking down needed parts from Dave Rieger, whose Classic Revival shop in La Grange, Ohio, did the body repair, as well as electrical, glass, trim and assembly work. "We looked for about three or four years. I found some N.O.S. stuff, then some used stuff that was pretty rough," Rieger recalls.

Once they had what they needed, it was time to start the resto. But according to Rieger, they didn't use much of the body that Renick had stored in his yard. "All we needed off his car was the trunk floor, the rear body panel, and one quarter-panel," he says. "We used the tub off something else, and we found a used door, N.O.S. rocker panels, and an N.O.S. quarter. We had to buy a new front clip, too."

Along with replacing and re-gelcoating the missing fiberglass, Rieger had some work to do underneath the '62's body before the new Sateen Silver paint went on. "We put all new metal in the substructure" he says. "It's not as easy as it looks, that's for sure.

When it was ready, that body went on a new Vette Products frame, as did a correct-for-'62 RPO 396 340-horse 327, New steering and suspension parts brought the C1 back to fresh-from-St. Louis condition.

You could be forgiven for thinking it took several years to get the '62 into driveable shape, but Renick insists that wasn't the case. "Believe it or not, from the time it left that field to when it was in the 50-Year Reunion tent at [Corvettes at] Carlisle, only 18 months had passed," he says. "We hustled, and there were two shops working on it."

That work paid off when Renick received a personal invitation to the special Carlisle exhibit. "I showed Lance Miller the pictures of how rough the car was when we took it out of the field, and he thought I was joking," he remembers. "I told him I wanted to have to have it in the 50-Year Reunion in a couple years, and he said, ‘No way!'"

Renick continues. "Lance said to Joe Clemente, who puts on the Reunion, ‘If he has this car done, you put him in the show.' I showed up with the car, and I had a crowd around it the whole weekend. I don't have words to describe it—there were people talking about it everywhere we went."

And that attention hasn't stopped. "I've been playing with cars for 40-some years, and I've never had a car get this much attention," Renick says. "I've put 5,000 miles on the car since it was finished, and been to over 40 car shows. Everywhere I show it, it draws a crowd."

What's it like driving this non-trailer queen? "Beautiful," says Renick. "The car drives just like a brand-new one."

As for advice to potential Vette owners and restorers, Renick says, "You'd better have some money saved up, because building a car like this is not cheap."

Rieger adds, "Find a trained professional. If you can find somebody who knows what they're doing, they can hook you up with good-quality aftermarket parts. That makes the job a whole lot easier."

That's true no matter what shape the car is in—or what's left of it—when you start.

Spec Sheet

1962 Corvette

Owner Ron Renick; West Sunbury, PA
Block RPO 396 cast iron (casting # 3782870)
Displacement 327 ci
Heads Stock cast iron (casting # 3782461)
Valves Swirl-polished 1.94-/1.50-in
Camshaft RPO 396 with hydraulic lifters
Pistons Forged aluminum
Compression 11.25:1
Crankshaft Stock 3.25-in stroke, forged steel
Oil System Wet sump with AC/Delco mechanical pump
Carburetion Carter 3269 AFB four-barrel (PN 3796799)
Intake Manifold Cast iron
Ignition AC/Delco points-style
Exhaust Stock with cast-iron exhaust manifolds and dual pipes
Transmission Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual
Clutch Stock
Driveshaft Stock
Rearend Stock
Suspension Coil springs, wishbones, unequal-length A-arms, and tubular shocks (front); parallel leaf springs with tubular shocks (rear)
Brakes Manual 11-in drums (front and rear)
Wheels Stamped-steel 15x5-in with "spinner style" chrome covers (front and rear)
Tires Mastercraft A/S narrow-band whitewall radial, 205/70R15 (front and rear)
Mileage 30,000 (approximate)