Many people elect to run a cable-actuated throttle body when dropping an LS motor into a g
With the bodywork complete, Ron shifted his focus to the chassis. Granted that being 20 years older than the typical 40-something muscle car buff elicits cheap jokes, but with that age comes loads of hot rodding experience. Ron's old school, and only buys aftermarket parts when necessary. As such, he figured out a way to graft the front frame/suspension section off of an '80 Olds Cutlass beneath his '62 Chevy-whereby the front third of the chassis is effectively an '80 GM G-body and the rear two thirds is a '62 Chevy. "It was a piece of cake, and we knocked it out in about four hours," he says modestly. Ron says '78-84 Cutlasses have the same track width as a '62 Chevy, so the swap is rather straightforward. "Welding everything up isn't much different than installing an aftermarket front clip, and the great thing about the swap is that you get the modern suspension, big sway bar, disc brakes, and nice power steering box all at the same time. All you have to do is put the car in the air, mark where the wheelbase is on the ground, and then whack off the stock frame. Then you cut the frame horns and bumper brackets off of the original frame, weld them onto the Cutlass frame, and bolt everything back together. It drives and steers so much better than stock, just like a late-model car."
People often mistake Ron's Bel Air for an Impala, but the two are very easy to distinguish
Now it was time for the fun stuff, since most of the grunt work was finished on the Bel Air project. As no surprise, for a man who can weld a new subframe beneath a car in half an afternoon, the powertrain swap wasn't much of a challenge. Ron picked up a totaled '06 GTO at an auto salvage auction, and then promptly picked it apart like a well-trained vulture. After fabbing up a custom crossmember and motor mounts, the GTO's LS2 small-block and Tremec six-speed trans dropped right in. "I had to reshape the trans tunnel a bit for some extra clearance, but the install was very easy," he says. Although he couldn't find a set of headers built specifically for an LS-powered '62 Chevy, he had a hunch that some fourth-gen Camaro Hooker shorties might fit, and he was right. The headers dump into custom dual 2.5-inch pipes and MagnaFlow mufflers. To feed the mill, Ron once again got a little creative. He built a custom aluminum gas tank himself, and heisted a fuel pump off of an '02 Camaro. Keeping things cool is a Ron Davis radiator and dual electric fans from the donor GTO. Just as he's experienced many times in the past,after finishing the wiring, the LS2 fired right up.
To make sure that the rest of the driveline could handle the LS2's grunt, Ron pulled a factory 10-bolt out of a 409 Impala. Before installing it, some tweaks to the rear suspension were in order. As is common with most fullsize GM cars of the era, the Bel Air uses coil springs and control arms to suspend its back end. Ron says, however, the rearend has a tendency to wrap up and unload when torqued. "The Bel Air uses two lower trailing arms coming off of the X-frame to locate the rearend, and a Panhard bar to keep everything square. There's also a third link that connects the top of the pumpkin to the frame, but it's too weak to prevent the rearend from wrapping up under hard acceleration," he says. "I fixed the problem by welding up another bracket to the rearend housing and installing a second link on top. Now the rear suspension has four links, two on the top and two on the bottom."