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Mantecan boasts of hot Corvette
Manteca’s Tim Hunter proudly holds his Hot August Nights’ award for his restored 1962 Chevrolet Corvette. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin
Manteca’s Tim Hunter is ecstatic – his 1962 restored Corvette was one of 30 cars to be singled out of a pack of 6,000 during Reno’s Hot August Nights last weekend.

After working on the car for years that he bought in his early 20s for $1,200 it now has everything from bumper to bumper like it just rolled off the factory assembly line.

Driving his ‘vette to a spot beneath the Reno arch for an official photograph was an additional thrill for the longtime Mantecan.   Hunter was selected for his honor by Champion Chevrolet of Reno with the presentation made by the Bonanza Casino.  

Hunter’s Corvette is one of 14,531 similar vehicles built that year with only 1,480 having fuel injection.  It has a 327 engine, four speed transmission with a 4:11 rear end ratio along with the luxury of both a convertible and a hard top.

The Corvette has received a Regional Performance Evaluation award, a Regional Top Flight Award with more than 97 points and the Duntov Mark of Excellence Award.

The Duntov Award is the highest award given by the National Corvette Restorer Society last year.  Hunter also took the Best in Class Award at the Ironstone Vineyard in 2009, and a first in class at the Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance.

Hunter first owned a 1961 Corvette when he was a year out of Santa Clara High School which he turned around and sold.  His dad owned a service station in Los Gatos and was on the lookout for another Corvette for his son. He located a fireman with a 1962 that has a price tag of $1,200.  

As any good dad would, he drove it to Hunter’s Powers Avenue home in Manteca in 1974.  As he pulled into the driveway, Hunter remembers the 25-pound harmonic balancer fell off the front of the engine landing on the concrete.

From 1974 until 1991 it remained in the back yard of the home until Hunter finished building his garage and moved the car inside.  Hunter stripped the car down to the frame and sand blasted every nut and bolt – cataloging them all in plastic bags.

After having the engine and transmission rebuilt, he put it all back together.  “Everything on the car is just like it came out of the factory,” Hunter said.  Even the paint job follows factory specifications.

His first interest in auto restoration came when he was about 12. A next door neighbor was restoring a five-window 1932 Ford Coupe. He was allowed to stand around and watch the operation.

 “It was the ho trod of his day, Hunter said.

Future restoration projects are focused on a 1962 Chevy bubble top and a 1950 GMC pickup truck.