"The major topic of discussion centered on the new Corvette with the higher-horsepower 327 engine. All of the gearheads talked about how fast it was and how it would clean up at the local dragstrip in the coming summer. Of course every red-blooded male at the school wanted one. I was no exception. I knew, however, that as a stockboy at the local shoe store I would be lucky if I got to stand near one. To make matters worse, one of my best friends' grandmothers presented him with the keys to a brand new '62 four-speed, Anniversary Gold Impala Super Sport. Riding around town that winter was a lot more fun since I didn't have the money for a car, and my friend and his SS were my transportation. All winter we planned how we were going to drag race the Impala that coming summer.
"The summer drag race plans were not pipe dreams. We arrived at the strip as 'race-prepared' as we knew how to be for nave 17-year olds. I will never forget the first time I saw that white '62 fuelie roar down the strip. I had read practically all that had been written about the wonders of the '62, but it was another thing to personally see it. All summer we watched that Corvette clean up everything in its path.
"It was that summer, the summer of 1962, that I vowed I was going to own a '62 Corvette. My friends laughed; no one believed me, but I knew. So what if it took me another 27 years. I am laughing hardest now. That's why I own a '62."
John purchased his long-awaited '62 on February 26, 1989. It was solid and essentially stock, but in need of a thorough restoration. While not a fuelie, it was still equipped with its original and just slightly-less potent 340hp 327, linked to a four-speed manual gearbox and a 4.11:1 Posi rearend. The fact that the old solid-axle was originally Roman Red with a red vinyl interior and still had both tops made it all the more desirable to a much older, but entirely smitten, Marsico. And considering that the car was not missing a great many hard-to-find original parts was the final determining factor in its getting a treated to a complete and wholly authentic restoration.
Once Marsico got into the project, he went whole hog, joining the National Corvette Restorers Society, Denver-based Looking Glass Corvette Association, and the Rocky Mountain chapter of the NCRS. He also invested many hundreds of hours of his own time as well as around 20 grand over and above the purchase price of the '62 in his quest for a near-perfect Corvette. John credits Corvette Attention (in Denver) for restoring the body to better-than-new condition and Bill Pfiefer (of Corvette Attention) for applying the gorgeous Roman Red finish. Auto Weave, in Lakewood, Colorado, prepared and installed the interior. Caprioti Racing, in Golden, Colorado, handled all of the machining chores on the original and numbers-matching 327 block, while good friend Bill Bruhn helped out when it came time to reassemble the 340hp small-block.
The now-retired high school counselor (and part-time DJ known as "Wolfman") told us that it took three years to bring the '62 back and up to show condition, and that most of the work was completed by 1996. He then said, "Is any car ever done?" It may not ever be done, but the Marsico's '62 has done quite well, having been accorded an NCRS Top Flight and First Place awards nearly every time it has been shown.
Best of all, at least in Team VETTE's opinion, is that this beauty is not a trailer queen or a piece of garage furniture that's sealed away in a bubble. John and his wife, Flora, have driven the 4.11-geared roadster on trips as far as to Spearfish, South Dakota, and John states that the '62 racks up a minimum of 1,000 to 2,000 miles of road use per year. Needless to say, the car gets plenty of attention and compliments wherever it goes. The Wolfman told us that he gets inquiries about selling the '62 on a regular basis but, "I turn down all offers. It's not for sale. I'm having way too much fun, and this old Corvette is much cheaper than a psychiatrist's couch."