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SECTION 1 : INTRODUCTION

So it's been two months since I got the '63 shipped up from SoCal back up to it's original NorCal home and have a few minutes to post some pictures of the progress.

To recap, she was in pretty good shape when she arrived. One owner for most of its life, running, recently redone interior, but as something I was planning to pack friends into and cruise, she needed some updates to make her a bit more roadworthy (so if you're looking for a really extreme build thread this is probably not going to be it).

Here she is the day she arrived in San Francisco



I was always thinking I would get a Nova and paint it some dark charcoal custom color, but the original Ermine White against the fawn interior is really cool. I'm now pretty sure I'm gonna stick with it and eventually just have her repainted the same factory color.



Now, as a San Francisco resident, the parking space I over-pay for under my building is just big enough to fit the car. That means no real room for tools, or parts, or building anything. All of this work is being managed by Marc Paul of Crown Customs SF ( http://www.crowncustomsvintagespeedshop.com/ ). I stop by on Saturdays and do what I can and to save a bit more I've been doing all the parts hunting and ordering.

In the shop:



To keep this clean, I'm gonna break out the upgrades into a few posts.
 

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Section ii : "roadworthy"

SECTION II : "ROADWORTHY"

So, we went through the car and made a list of things that needed to be replaced, removed, upgraded, and/or ignored before any road trips.

First steps were replacing the the original single-chamber master cylinder with something that would actually stop the car. Decided on a front disc brake kit along with a dual 7" booster, new lines to the front and back, tie rods, ball joints, etc.






This also required upgrading the '63 to 5-lug and I found a '66 rear end up in Napa. Here it is on the trip back to SF:



While the rear end was out, we replaced the shocks with some Sensa-Tracks and installed front and rear sway bars (ADDCO) along with new bushings and pads from Eaton. Additionally, we replaced the plugs and wires along with adding a new Pertronix Ignitor II ignition and a Flamethrower coil.
 

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I was always thinking I would get a Nova and paint it some dark charcoal custom color, but the original Ermine White against the fawn interior is really cool. I'm now pretty sure I'm gonna stick with it and eventually just have her repainted the same factory color.
Good choice:yes: Is that the original paint? Is there anything wrong with it?
 

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very nice!!!Be careful with that petronix.....never leave your key on without the motor started.....it will fry that module in a second.....besides that...very nice!!!Is crown customs a new shop?I never remember that place?bm
 

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You have a fine looking Nova Sir wish it was mine, there are enough chopped up ,cut in half glued back together Novas around( heck some are even missing parts of their quarter panels):devil: Its very refreshing to see one like you have with just a couple of safety mods like disk breaks and 5 lug wheels and tires.KEEP IT JUST THE WAY IT IS. anyone can cram a small block or a BIg Block in one ,Keep it the way it is , sorry this is just my opinion :devil:

Here's one that has been chopped,diced,cut,glued,re-glued,slammed, beat-up,and put back together many times .
 

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That nova is really nice!:thumbsup:
 

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Good choice:yes: Is that the original paint? Is there anything wrong with it?
As far as I can tell it's all original paint and no bondo anywhere. It's a bit on the rough side when you're closer than 15 feet and there are areas that have been buffed down to metal, but it's a cool petina. I was going to get her painted right away, but the repairs have costed more than expected (always the case) so painting will be put on hold for a bit.
 

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You have a fine looking Nova Sir wish it was mine, there are enough chopped up ,cut in half glued back together Novas around( heck some are even missing parts of their quarter panels):devil: Its very refreshing to see one like you have with just a couple of safety mods like disk breaks and 5 lug wheels and tires.KEEP IT JUST THE WAY IT IS. anyone can cram a small block or a BIg Block in one ,Keep it the way it is , sorry this is just my opinion
Thanks! I agree. Trying to keep it all pretty stock looking. I test drove almost 20 Novas over the course of a year before buying this one. I was obviously looking for something that had a long, uneventful, domesticated life and many had obviously spent a little too much time on the drag strip or were entirely stripped down and put back together with the wrong screws.

And I appreciate a built-by-Satan-383 as much as the next guy, but that's probably not the most reasonable motor if I'm just trying to cruise up to Napa on a Saturday afternoon.

So, as long as it lasts, the 194 is staying put. She runs strong and this week the new Weber carb is getting installed along with the larger 292 manifold and 2.25" exhaust (If anyone has any muffle suggestions with a nice subtle rumble on the straight 6 let me know).

Oh, and that Nova of yours is beyond impressive looking.
 

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very nice!!!Be careful with that petronix.....never leave your key on without the motor started.....it will fry that module in a second.....besides that...very nice!!!Is crown customs a new shop?I never remember that place?bm
Thanks for the tip. Very little experience with the aftermarket ignition stuff. I did run a separate line from the battery for the stereo amp with it's own fuse and power switch to keep that all independent.
 

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As far as I can tell it's all original paint and no bondo anywhere. It's a bit on the rough side when you're closer than 15 feet and there are areas that have been buffed down to metal, but it's a cool petina. I was going to get her painted right away, but the repairs have costed more than expected (always the case) so painting will be put on hold for a bit.
Give some thought to keeping it the way it is :yes: To me its just more unique, you never see original paint! Original paint that has been buffed though still adds character to the car, even if it was unintentional.
 

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Nice find! I agree with the rest, keep it the way it is! You will save a ton of money that way, have just as much fun, and probably get a lot more attention. My next Nova will be like that. :yes:
 

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Whole Lot of Extra Digits...

So, I stopped by the shop today and dropped off the new exhaust manifold and Weber carb and took a shot of the cowl tag.

There seems to be quite a few extra digits. Anyone have any thoughts as to what all these are for?

Thanks!

 

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Section III

SECTION III : The Project Continues...

As excited as I am about the power disc brakes, improved handling with the sway bars, and the unbridled raw power of 194 straight 6, I couldn't help but ask myself, "What will I listen to while I'm driving?"

Whomever originally bought this particular Nova back in 1963 was a really interesting person. They opted for the power steering and seatbelts, but when it came to a radio, well, that was just a bridge too far.



She sports the original (as far as I can tell) factory delete plate and I just don't have the heart to change that. So, from the day she arrived I started thinking about stereo options. Yes, I know this is definitely putting a bit of the cart before the horse, but I was that kid in high school with the $500 car and the $1000 stereo in it... I couldn't resist.

Now, my stereo needs have changed in the 436 decades since high school and all I really wanted wanted was to be able to access all the music already on my iPhone (I never really liked the radio and all my CD's have been packed away in boxes ever since I copied everything over to the computer). I decided to skip having a head unit all together and went on a search for the smallest amp I could find.

Enter China: http://cgi.ebay.com/2011-New-Version-Lepai-Class-T-Tripath-TA2020-Amp-20WX2-/290534649380?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43a536ee24

After reading a handful of reviews on this little 20x2 amp I figured 30 bucks wasn't much of a risk, so I bought one. It really is TINY. I also purchased one of the dual voice coil speakers from Classic Industries to throw in the original dash speaker placement.

And here was my mess from the other Saturday:



The amp comes with a wall wart 12v adapter that I cut right after the little choke on cable and wired it directly to the battery. It has it's own power on/off which shouldn't be hard to remember. I'm mounting the amp upside down to the top of the glove box which will leave almost all the useable space in there untouched. Overall, definitely not an earth shattering system, but the amp gives a clean amount of power to that one speaker and, for about $75, not a bad hidden system.

Back to mechanical stuff...



The 292 "combine" manifold arrived and is now installed along with the new 32/36 Weber carb. Was all excited to get her running and get it down to the muffler shop for the new pipe and muffler (the whole exhaust system appeared to also be original and was an interesting combination of powdery rust and coat hangers) but then the fuel pump died... It was a set back, but with every small part we replace it's one less thing to go wrong on a highway...

Next week to the muffler shop...
 

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I am interested in the exhaust manifold you have. Would you please give details of where and how much? I also am a 194 fan.
 

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So, a few people here on the boards (mainly Sgtsteve) have upgraded to a 292 manifold that now is sold for farm equipment running 292's. The exhaust port is 2.5" and I plan on running a 2.25" exhaust to let it all breathe a good bit more than stock.

That said, there was a good bit of grinding both where the intake manifold meets it and where it bolts to the block so I wouldn't call it "bolt in". At least that was the case for the one I purchased. For all I know there is another out there that fits like a glove.
 

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SECTION III : The Project Continues...

As excited as I am about the power disc brakes, improved handling with the sway bars, and the unbridled raw power of 194 straight 6, I couldn't help but ask myself, "What will I listen to while I'm driving?"

Whomever originally bought this particular Nova back in 1963 was a really interesting person. They opted for the power steering and seatbelts, but when it came to a radio, well, that was just a bridge too far.



She sports the original (as far as I can tell) factory delete plate and I just don't have the heart to change that. So, from the day she arrived I started thinking about stereo options. Yes, I know this is definitely putting a bit of the cart before the horse, but I was that kid in high school with the $500 car and the $1000 stereo in it... I couldn't resist.

Now, my stereo needs have changed in the 436 decades since high school and all I really wanted wanted was to be able to access all the music already on my iPhone (I never really liked the radio and all my CD's have been packed away in boxes ever since I copied everything over to the computer). I decided to skip having a head unit all together and went on a search for the smallest amp I could find.

Enter China: http://cgi.ebay.com/2011-New-Version-Lepai-Class-T-Tripath-TA2020-Amp-20WX2-/290534649380?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43a536ee24

After reading a handful of reviews on this little 20x2 amp I figured 30 bucks wasn't much of a risk, so I bought one. It really is TINY. I also purchased one of the dual voice coil speakers from Classic Industries to throw in the original dash speaker placement.

And here was my mess from the other Saturday:



The amp comes with a wall wart 12v adapter that I cut right after the little choke on cable and wired it directly to the battery. It has it's own power on/off which shouldn't be hard to remember. I'm mounting the amp upside down to the top of the glove box which will leave almost all the useable space in there untouched. Overall, definitely not an earth shattering system, but the amp gives a clean amount of power to that one speaker and, for about $75, not a bad hidden system.

Back to mechanical stuff...



The 292 "combine" manifold arrived and is now installed along with the new 32/36 Weber carb. Was all excited to get her running and get it down to the muffler shop for the new pipe and muffler (the whole exhaust system appeared to also be original and was an interesting combination of powdery rust and coat hangers) but then the fuel pump died... It was a set back, but with every small part we replace it's one less thing to go wrong on a highway...

Next week to the muffler shop...
Is that a 6x9 dvc speaker(hard to tell from the picture)?If so Im pretty sure for the dash its supposed to be a 4x10 dvc speaker....thats not gonna fit:no:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/4-X1...f1QQitemZ230638679025QQptZCarQ5fAudioQ5fVideo
 

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It's all mounted in with an original bracket I got on here. It's not an exact 4x10, but it's much more narrow than a 6x9 and it fits (albeit tight).
 

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It's all mounted in with an original bracket I got on here. It's not an exact 4x10, but it's much more narrow than a 6x9 and it fits (albeit tight).
cool...hard to tell from the pic....nice car!!You know about the west coast mini nats in pleasanton the first weekend in sept right!!Best show around....nothing but novas!!You should really sign up!!
 
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