1962 Chevrolet Bel Air “Bubble Top” 2-Door Hardtop  Chassis no. 21637A144885

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Lot 324
1962 Chevrolet Bel Air “Bubble Top” 2-Door Hardtop
Chassis no. 21637A144885
Sold for US$ 70,200 inc. premium

Lot Details
1962 Chevrolet Bel Air “Bubble Top” 2-Door Hardtop  Chassis no. 21637A144885 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air “Bubble Top” 2-Door Hardtop  Chassis no. 21637A144885 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air “Bubble Top” 2-Door Hardtop  Chassis no. 21637A144885 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air “Bubble Top” 2-Door Hardtop  Chassis no. 21637A144885
1962 Chevrolet Bel Air “Bubble Top” 2-Door Hardtop
Chassis no. 21637A144885
There were big dogs roaming loose in 1962, threatening to eat anything that dared challenge them and using their success – on the drag strip, Main Street and in the showroom – to grow even bigger and more menacing.

Ford’s big dog was the 406 with three carbs, rated 405hp and available in both Ford and Mercury bodies. Pontiac countered with its 421. With dual quads it claimed 405hp, too. In the early part of the year these dogs chased Mopar’s runt 361 out of the pack so in mid year Plymouth and Dodge took the 413/426 Max Wedge off its leash, claiming 420hp with dual quads. Running full tilt boogey with the rest of the curs was Chevy, who carved away at the innards of their 348 cubic inch V-8 to find another 61 cubic inches, slid a radical cam in under solid lifters and lightweight valve gear, squeezed the mixture provided by pair of four barrel Rochester carbs into 11:1 compression ratio combustion chambers and fitted dual exhausts to extract one horsepower per cubic inch, 409hp at 5,800rpm.

That was pretty good for an engine that was designed and began its life pulling around medium duty trucks.

Chevy had one more trick up its sleeve, too, the body they put this torque monster into. It wasn’t quite the age of the Muscle Car, but Chevy came close by installing the stick shift only 409/409 in a stripped Bel Air 2-door hardtop with rounded roof and back window profile held over from 1961. The regular 1962 Impala hardtops had gotten new squared off roofs and more vertical rear windows beginning the transition into the edgy, straight line look that would debut a year later in 1963. The Impala looked great but about 2/3 of the way to the 1/4 mile traps the 409/409 had propelled it to a velocity where its mediocre aerodynamics began to sap top speed and elapsed time. The rounded roof and steeply sloping back window of the Bel Air was way more efficient.

It also weighed about a hundred pounds less than the more luxurious Impala and two hundred less than the lightest Ford Galaxie hardtop which also had an erect, eddy-inducing rear window. The combination of streamlining and light weight has made the ’62 Bel Air “Bubble Top” 2-door hardtop Sport Coupe one of the most attractive and enjoyable of all early Sixties high performance cars, especially when it has the legendary 409/409 under the hood.

Experienced collectors know that it is difficult if not impossible to establish conclusively that a Chevrolet of this period was built with a stovebolt six or a 409/409 so it is particularly important that the owner of this 1962 Bel Air Bubbletop 409/409 states unequivocally that it is a correct car with matching numbers “right down to the exhaust manifolds.” A radio/heater delete car with 4-speed manual transmission, bench seat, steel wheels (8” wide at the rear) with “poverty caps”, it has dual 4-barrel carburetors, old California plates and is painted and upholstered in “look out for me” Red. It was the object of a meticulous body off the frame restoration about a decade ago which sympathetically retained its original, and very impressively preserved, interior. It has been carefully preserved since but the high standards of the present owner saw it repainted, in correct “Magic Mirror” lacquer, recently.

This is a legendary automobile that upheld Chevy’s honor on the drag strip and Main Street for several years until the Mark IV 396 and its successors could be designed and put into production starting three years later. The combination of the 409 horsepower, dual quad 409 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 and ’62 Bel Air Bubbletop bodystyle is a milestone in the development of big V-8 American muscle. It also is one of the most attractively designed and styled of the bunch, as well as a one-year only combination that has earned the respect of generations of street racers, drag racers and collectors.
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