Tim Fitch had planned on an SBC with three-twos but found an LS2 on Craigslist and went wh
If ’32 Ford highboy roadsters were at one end of the hot rod build spectrum, then perhaps the four-door Chevy wagon would be at the other end. But don’t be fooled: there is a strong following out there for things that are different. Folks who own ’50 Plymouths, ’37 Fords, or a ’58 Bel Air have on more than one occasion created something stunning out of a vehicle at one time most folks wouldn’t have thought twice about. And four-door anythings usually fall into that camp.
The 1962 Chevrolet four-door wagon is about a big a boat as you can buy. Available as a full-size four-door in three trim levels that year (Biscayne, Bel Air, and Impala), it was also offered as a two- and four-door version in the Chevy II line. The Biscayne only came as a six-passenger model, while the Bel Air and Impalas had both the six- and nine-passenger variants. And, at a little over 17 feet long, you weren’t going to park it where you used to fit a Model A!
The interior of the wagon was in great shape, but stock, so Tim had Heath Upholstery in En
But size doesn’t matter to Tim Fitch, as he’s always liked wagons, whether they were old or new. He grew up immersed in cars (his dad was the general manager of his uncle’s Dodge dealership) and, at 16, Tim’s first car was a ’73 Dodge Dart Swinger.
Wanting a wagon of some sort was first in his mind a couple of years ago when he started looking for a car project. He knew he wanted a Chevy, and then narrowed the search to ’62-63 models. What he was hoping for was something partially done, with minimal rust, and ready to drive.
After finding a good candidate on the Internet, he was able to raise the cash (about $19,000) and flew from his home in Enid, Oklahoma, to South Dakota to pick it up. It was in great shape and very close to what he wanted, so he drove it home and started planning the next step.
The factory steering wheel was swapped for one from Billet Specialties, and a Pioneer-base
RideTech ’bags, power steering, and a tilt column were first on the list, and Tim was able to find a good buy on a 350 crate motor to replace the 283 in the car. He started dressing up the engine with a trio of carbs, billet pulleys, and the like but, after seeing an ad for an LS2 on Craigslist, he decided on a new approach. Luck was with him (literally) one night as he hit it big on the slots at a local casino and soon had the funds to finish the wagon the way he wanted.
Boris Maryanovsky of Street Machinery in Cleveland was able to help with the X-frame chassis, which now includes a three-link rear suspension with Street Machinery and RideTech arms and a 3.36 Positrac rearend (prepped by Gary’s Differential Service in Oklahoma City). Up front, a RideTech front antiroll bar and 2-inch-drop spindles from CPP went in, and each corner now sports Wilwood drilled ’n’ slotted disc brakes, six-piston Wilwood calipers, and RideTech airbags. The 17-inch billet wheels that came on the car were replaced with 19- and 20-inch rollers from Billet Specialties wrapped in BFGoodrich 245/35 and 285/30 rubber.
The paint (923 Roman Red) was pretty good on the car when Tim bought it, but it has been c
With the LS2, Tim contacted Frank Stubbs of Stubby’s Rusty Nuts and Hot Rods for help with the engine’s installation. A 4L70E trans was also installed, as were Street & Performance headers, an exhaust system from Ramco, and Flowmaster Delta Flow 50 Series mufflers.
When he bought it, the wagon had its stock interior, which Tim then updated after contacting Heath Upholstery in Enid, Oklahoma. Heath used materials found at Ciadella Interiors (an Arizona-based company that reproduces factory interior material) and covered the ’63 Impala SS bucket seats as well as everything else inside the nine-passenger vehicle with red Ultraleather. The dash was smoothed out before a set of Classic Instrument gauges went in, and the Vintage Air A/C vents and a touch-screen control for the Pioneer stereo system were mounted in a custom center console built by Brad Firgard of Twister Audio that splits the two front seats. What you can’t see is the wiring harness from Speartech or the insulation products used from Second Skin, Dynamat, and Eastwood.
Tim Fitch’s ’62 Chevy wagon. Photo by Grant Cox.
Luckily Tim also knows Ed Pogue, an old-time Chevy guy who was able to track down some of the factory parts he needed to finish off his car. The paint on the wagon had been done by the previous owner and was in pretty good shape when he bought it, but Tim knows a re-spray may be in order sometime soon. But in the meantime he is enjoying driving his Chevy around and has already racked up 8,000 miles on the odometer since getting it finished. As Tim has found out: nice things come in big packages, too!