There comes a time when everything was better back in your day. It usually coincides with reminiscing about the good times you had growing up on Super Pangaea, and having to take multiple potty breaks each night. Although Ron Parker is 65, something tells us he's not that kind of guy. He's obviously a man who appreciates the past while simultaneously embracing modern technology. For verification, look no further than his '62 Bel Air, which packs a fuel-injected LS2 small-block and a six-speed stick. Interestingly, this isn't Ron's first foray into the realm of late-model engine swaps. It's more like his tenth. As with his past project cars, Ron's refusal to be intimidated by electronics and techno gadgets has resulted in a car that's more modern and refined than g-Machines built by hot rodders young enough to be his kids.
Fearless by nature, Ron's been doing EFI engine swaps for over 20 years. Back in the late '80s, he pulled a TPI 350 out of a wrecked third-gen Camaro and dropped it into his Chevy truck. "Everyone said it couldn't be done because EFI motors are too complicated, and I told them to just watch and learn," he says. Since then, he's built a '69 Camaro with a supercharged LT1, and a '57 Chevy with an LS1 and a 4L60E overdrive trans. "If an engine has a carburetor, then I don't want it in my car. I don't do carb motors. I love fuel injection because it fires up every time, gets great fuel mileage, is maintenance free, looks better than a carb, and never gives you any problems. I've swapped more EFI motors into my own cars and my friends' cars over the years than I can count."
After finishing up his '57 Chevy and several custom pickups, Ron longed for a new challenge. He had the perfect candidate already in mind, and he didn't have to look very far to find it. "My buddy inherited a '62 Bel Air and never got around to building it," Ron says. "The car sat in his backyard for 25 years, and I tried off and on for 10 years to convince him to sell it to me. He finally gave in about two years ago, and I was very excited to bring it home. I've always wanted a bubbletop Bel Air, and I knew right away that I wanted to put an LS2 and a six-speed manual in it."
While the glass was broken and the interior had seen better days, the Bel Air's sheetmetal was very solid. The only areas that needed rust repairs were the rocker panels and a patch above the rear wheel arches. "I rolled the car into my garage and put it up on the rotisserie right away. With the help of my good friend Julius Hardy, we completely dismantled the car, fixed the rust, and block sanded the body until it was perfectly straight," Ron says. "The paint is a custom mix of different PPG colors that I came up with myself. People always ask me what kind of paint I put on my car, and I just tell them that it's Parker Red."