This multiple award winning ’62 Corvette had fairly
humble beginnings. The body had approximately 10K miles on it, and had been plucked from its original chassis and placed on an Art Morrison Enterprises C1 GT Sport Chassis. The suspension was a C7 Corvette independent front suspension, the rear suspension comprising a triangulated 4-link with Art Morrison 9” Ford rear end. The original engine was upgraded to an LS3. The original owner came to AJM Classics Inc. in Dieppe, NB to have the car finished by their shop, wanting a silver car with red interior. As time went on the owner changed their mind about the project and
sold it to AJM. AJM placed the car on their website in the hopes that someone was looking to have a car built.
Not long after, Leon Boudreau joined the AJM team. AJM Classics owner Alfred showed Leon the Corvette and since there wasn’t an owner on the horizon they made plans to build it the way Leon envisioned, and then take it to auction. If you’re following along so far, you’ll realize that Leon’s name appears in three of the five builds featured in this issue. He also played a major role in five builds at the 2022 Radical Speed Sport show. A licensed body man by trade, and a life long car fan, he also spent 12 years painting custom helmets for Indy and Formula 1 drivers.
Before they could hop on the Corvette project in
earnest, David Wong from Maryland stumbled across the project on-line and was interested in having AJM build the Corvette for him. Since Covid was still an issue for travel between Canada and USA, Leon started with a full exterior rendering of the car by Cars by Kris in California that was shared with David virtually. Initially, Leon asked for a couple of colour renderings to be done, one in silver and one in green, both had the brown interior. David knew of the silver/red plan of the original owner, and inquired about the brown interior shown in the rendering of the silver car. Leon clarified that his plan, before the car was sold to David, was to do the green/brown combination. David loved the combination and the build began on March 23, 2021.
The team from AJM, other than Leon doing the
majority of fabrication, included Jesse Comfort and Travis Soucoup (chassis, running gear and wiring), Ben Arsenault (body and wet sanding and polishing paint), and Colin Hoyt (interior design and upholstery). Jesse started the chassis build by adding coil over shocks on all four corners, along
with 14” Baer drilled and slotted rotors and Baer six piston calipers. Next, Jesse asked David what sort of power he would like in the car. AJM, and Jesse specifically, are huge fans of LS motors, so they always have several on hand. David chose the supercharged LS9 they had in stock, laying the groundwork for the ZRC1 nameplate that is peppered throughout the car (motor cover and trunk) as these were used in ZR1 Corvettes. To the motor they added a Holley EFI fuel system, Street Shop Billet engine accessories, and polished stainless steel headers attached to a custom
polished stainless exhaust that incorporates a set of Borla mufflers. The finished engine was then mated to a Tremec TKO 600 5 speed manual transmission.
When the hood on the Corvette is opened, you’d never know all the goodies that were added to the crate LS9. That’s because Leon hand fabricated a custom motor cover that extends from the top of
the rad back to the firewall. He also had to fabricate custom inner fenders and modify the hood to allow clearance for the LS9 and supercharger.
While the chassis and running gear were being
designed and put together, Leon and Ben were hard at work modifying the body. Obviously a 1962 Corvette is a timeless design, the last of the C1 Corvettes, but Leon thought he could update it without destroying the classic lines. He started with the side coves that are at the heart
of C1 Corvette design. From the factory, 1962 Corvettes were the only model year that the body side cove wasn’t painted a different colour. Leon’s idea was not to just break with tradition, but to update the coves into the 21st century. This involved rebuilding the faux vents in front of the cove using carbon fibre so that they looked more aggressive and prominent than the original, before filling the cove with carbon fibre wrap. The combination plays well with the custom wheels that were purchased from Curtis Speed
Equipment (Orange, CA).
Additional modifications to the body included
smoothing and filling the cowl vents, moving the gas filler door closer to the driver’s door so that there was a single body line, countersinking the taillight bezels so that the lights appear flush mounted, countersinking the grill opening so that the grill sits flush to the body, and cutting and modifying the front bumpers to appear flush mounted to the body. Leon also modified the rear bumpers to not only appear flush to the body, but added a bottom horn appearing more C2-like than C1. He also used a C2 license plate cove, deleting the C1 chrome surround. The rear end is completed with a set of custom exhaust outlets.
When all the body mods were complete they turned to PPG paint products and mixed a custom in-house colour they called “Verde” (Spanish for green). Leon’s plans for the interior, particularly the plaid inserts, were not fully embraced by the shop’s upholsterer Colin Hoyt, but once everything came together it was agreed that the plaid was the perfect finishing touch, breaking up the sea of brown cowhide from Relicate Leather (Johnstown, NY). Modifications to the interior are relatively few, but include custom door panels and increasing driver comfort by recessing the seats and placing the Flaming River tilt column closer to the dash. The original gauges were replaced with a Dakota Digital RTX bolt in instrument bezel that appears stock, but is designed to work with the LS9.
As with everything “Covid” David never actually saw the car in person until it was complete. Jesse and his wife Sarah took lots of pix as the build progressed in order to keep him apprised. It’s a good thing as the build only took a year to complete, being unveiled to much fanfare at Radical Speed Sport 2022. The car received a great deal of attention from the crowds, but most importantly to the AJM team, it also received attention from Dave Kindig. And if that
wasn’t enough, as the award ceremony wound down, they found themselves the recipients of Best American, and more importantly the very first winner of the newly introduced Greg Turner “Style” Award, an additional best in show award along with the Robertson. The car continued to win awards throughout the summer, including the Castrol Award at the 2022 Atlantic Nationals. The final feather in the AJM Classics ZRC1 cap came when Mothers invited them to take a spot in their booth at the 2022 SEMA show in las Vegas.