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57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the title is kind of misleading, as the car was already together and being driven as of December 2013. In any case, my name is Don and I have had a 1969 since I was 18. I had a 1969 Chevelle since I was 16, but my father wanted me to have economical transportation for college and I bought the Nova, because it was Chevrolet’s economy car of the 1960s (I still have the Chevelle). It was a no engine basket case that I slapped a Corvette TPI motor into along with a 700-R4, had Maaco paint it, and drove it to and from in college.

The car was wrecked a couple times since the (one skidding Ford Ranger and later, one very dumb deer), but I loved it and I rebuilt it. I pounded on it in College and after, making tons of passes at Sacramento Raceway and, more recently, at autocross and road course events.

Here is the car parked outside of my apartment near UC Santa Barbara


Car at Fontana for LA Invasion

Run to the Coast 2011

Run to the Coast 2012

Run to the Coast 2013

After more than 10 years of daily driving, this car was starting to show its age and in light of the fact that it is difficult to transport my wife and newborn daughter, Eisleym on my motorcycle (newest vehicle I have ever owned, 1975 CB550!), I have decided to update my Nova to handle the rigors of daily driving all while being fun. Here is what I am starting with:

L98 Corvette 350 with LT4 HotCam, Holley StealthRam, and EZ-EFI 1.0
T56 out of an LT1 Camaro
8.5 10 bolt with a TrueTrac and 3.90s
Hotchkis Performance Leaf Springs
SPC Control Arms with a RideTech TruTurn Tall Spindle kit
13” C4HD front disc brakes w/ Wilwood Calipers
12” rear brakes by Wilwood
17X8 Edelbrock 454s

So the bones of the car are already there. Sure, I want a more powerful motor and a more sophisticated rear suspension, but that is not in the cards. Yet. Here is what I will be doing:

Install Vintage Air GenIV Magnum
Strip, fix all rust/crappy repair from POs and young & stupid me.
Completely adapt 73-74 doors to the car (I HATE wing windows)
Install sound deadening and insulation
Install new interior with Procar Rallys and their nifty back seat covers
Battery relocation to rear to compensate for weight of A/C
Either Widen the rear wheels to 17X10 to run 275/40R17 without the bubble sidewall with 255/40R17 in the front.
Buy TSW Tremblants 18X9.5 and rock 275/35R17s on all 4 corners

Please feel free give me any advice you can think of. I have built many cars in short 29 years on this planet, but I have seen a massive knowledge base on SNS lurking all these years. More pics should be following in the coming days and weeks. I am shooting to drive the car to the TCI BBQ on June 7th, but with my luck, I *might* make the MiniNats in September.


57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the kind comments, guys!

That's a really nice ride. I like the color too. Do you know the name?
IIRC, It was Maaco single stage Gunmetal Grey. It doesn't look dirty easily and can hide some less than fantastic body work.

Nice story, Do you have any pictures of the accidents? Just curious
No pics of the wrecks, but I might have some of the fixes that followed. I'll have to try to find them.

The first was a rainy day in San Diego and a Ford Ranger got into a tank slapper. Driver side bed tagged the passenger side front fender and bumper.

Second was on Nor Cal back roads. Came around a corner and this deer was chilling in the middle of my lane. I was going to fast to stop and didn't want to hit the deer because one totally wiped out the front of my buddies 63 Impala not long before, so I went in the ditch. Bent sub frame, broken lower ball joint, oil pan and headers wiped. A lot changed after that wreck. I wanted to build a car that might have been able to turn to avoid that deer, which started me down the pro touring path.

Nice looking car and a great story too. Come on up to the Minis. It's a great time and lots of good people.
I have actually been (without my car) for the past two years for the show on Sunday, but it seems like I miss out on a lot from Friday and Saturday.


57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update time! I knew I had a little one on the way and so I tried to get a head start on the doors and some of the rust. The worst case of rust I knew had been in the rear lower window channel. I knew something was up because I kept on getting water in my trunk after a rain. After my second accident I decided to dig out the rear window channel and found a ton of rust, complete with gaping holes. Being 20, not knowing how to weld, but knowing how to use Bondo, I slicked a quart or more into the channel. It looked good, but never really kept the rain out. I took a trip up to my Ryan’s (novatrifecta on SNS) house in NorCal to wrench on the car do some panel replacement.

Some of my handiwork…

And the fix…

No beer yet, we still had some cutting to do…

We also took the time to yank my 69-72 doors and swap them for a set of doors I scored for free off a 1974 Olds Apollo. As you can tell, the Apollo was very orange. I will have the tan 73-74 door panels for sale soon, if anyone is interested.

Drivers Side

Passenger side

We also did some front fender well trimming to make room for the 275/35R18s I want to put in there in this iteration of my Nova.

I have spent the past month or so stripping the car and I should have some pics of that coming up very shortly. The car is way more solid than I had thought, but the quarters have been banged about a bit. More to come!

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