In Syracuse during the 1980's the 62WHEN "Heavy Vette" was one of the most well-recognized cars on
Central New York's streets and highways.
In the late 1970's it was decided that a replacement was needed for the station's promotional auto, The WHEN Heavy Chevy... a 1962 Chevy Impala two door hardtop.
Most every kid's dream car in the 1960's was a Corvette. With the arrival of the Beach Boys and other surfer groups in the 60's, the Corvette's popularity soared to even greater heights; gaining legendary status along the way. What red-blooded American wouldn't love to cruise down Main Street on Friday night in one of these technical masterpieces?
While owning a Corvette was out of the reach of most of us, 62 WHEN, while under the direction of General Manager, Bob Carolin, decided it was the perfect time to give Central New York something that it had never had before. It's very own Corvette! This would be no ordinary car... and certainly no ordinary Corvette... it would become "The 62 WHEN Heavy Vette". A promotional vehicle that would become synonymous with happy times, great music, and one great fun-to-listen-to radio station. 62 WHEN. The adjective "heavy" incidentally was just an extension of the station's previous promotional vehicle a '62 "HEAVY CHEVY." The word "Heavy" with regard to the Corvette description was simply a holdover, in part, well-known descriptor, "HEAVY CHEVY" which probably was coined in the 1960s, if not before.
The 62 Heavy Vette was purchased from a private owner in Ithaca, New York. When purchased by WHEN its original color was white, as pictured below, but sans station logo and flames. It was powered by a 340 horse "327" coupled to a 4 speed transmission. Vrrooom! Eventually, due to its frequent appearances in slow moving parades, clutches became a big headache and expensive repair problem. The two most frequent repair problems on this vehicle were its clutch and its aaahhhooogaaa horn. Both seemed to burn up frequently. After clutches became such a repair issue, it was decided to replace the manual transmission with an automatic. A fate worse than death for such a vehicle, but nevertheless, one that made economic sense.
Within a year or two of its purchase the white "62 Heavy Vette" was given a magnificient restoration by Dick Clark's Colors and Customs in Syracuse. Instead of white, the car received numerous coats of candy apple red paint and then polished to perfection. No car washes for this baby. Only soft clothes lightly sprayed with Pledge. With the addition of the famed "62 WHEN License Plate Logo" the 62 Heavy Vette was ready for a whole new life of cruisin'.
Whatever happened to the 62 Heavy Vette? In the late 80's as WHEN was going through some very sobering times with decreased listenership, and as Park Communications began to re-evalutate the station's direction, the decision was made to transfer the car to a Park held station in Waterloo, Iowa where it could be used by an oldies station for promotion. (KOKZ - Cool 105.7 ) Legend has it that this former candyapple red beauty met a premature and untimely death shortly after arriving there. However, this story was incorrect. Though it was first understood that the Heavy Vette had been relegated to the scrap pile after its accident, it's now been learned that the Heavy Vette lives, albeit in a white shell rather than fancy candy apple red. Reportedly the Waterloo station's general manager at the time, while driving the vehicle one day was struck at an intersection, causing considerable -- but not terminal, damage. White has again been chosen over the budget-busting candy apple red color scheme. Click here to see how the former 62 WHEN Heavy Vette looks today!
More 62 Vette Photos
- The "Candy Apple Red" Heavy Vette
And.. The Classic 62 WHEN Heavy Chevy