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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here is my 1979 Chevy Nova that I bought in March 2008 with a 10-year old restoration. Cosmetically it was a sound car when I got it. The interior needed a lot of work and it didn’t run. It has a 327 small block Chevy with a Borg Warner T-10 4 speed and a 3.73 posi rear.

I am very sentimental when it comes to the 79 Nova specifically. My parents had one when I was a kid and I loved it so much they helped me buy one of my own as my first car when I was 16 in 1991. Every year my dad would take my brother and me to the Sloan Museum Car Show in Flint, MI and not once do I ever remember seeing a 79 Nova there. I told him I would be the first to enter one and I did enter this one June 2009. The 79 Novas we had back in 91 never made it to the show since they were our daily drivers (mechanically sound bondo-mobiles, ha, ha). Back then we didn’t have the money, time, tools, or really the knowledge to properly restore a vehicle.

We lost dad to cancer June 2002 and mom to cancer March 2009. Dad never got to see or ride in this car, but Mom did before I started tearing it apart. I asked her what she thought of me rebuilding it in memory of dad and she gave me her tears of approval thus fueling my motivation to take on a project like I've never done before. Ironically the color scheme (white with black interior) matches what my wife and I picked for our wedding colors in June 2003, black & white with silver accents. With all that in mind and my wife and two teenage sons helping me build the car, it’s sort of morphed into a family tribute vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
April 2008. First things first, I had to do some work with the help of my father-in-law to get the 327 up and running to include a major tune-up. New distributor, carburetor, starter, bell housing, and convert to a closed PCV system by plugging off the down draft tube and changing out the oil fill tube with twist on cap. I added new valve covers to accept a breather cap on the passenger side and a breather cap with a PCV valve on the drivers’ side. It runs smooth and doesn’t leave a smoke screen behind me anymore. I plumbed the heater core and wired the blower motor so I can have heat when cruising during the cooler days and defog the windshield.



 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
May 13, 2009. The grill was busted up pretty bad on the passenger side so I found a used one on Ebay and painted it along with the headlight buckets black. The chrome was already shot and I like the blacked out look better anyway.





 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
June 10, 2009. Here’s just some of the attention to detail I’m putting into the car, one piece at a time. The wiper motor after some sanding, primer, paint and I trashed the old grommets and bought new ones.











 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
June 30, 2009. I removed all of the interior and this is what I found. You can see the results of the water coming in from the firewall and the kick panels. Luckily the floors didn’t rot all the way through and I didn’t have to do major reconstructive surgery.







 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
July 7, 2009. Most of the interior panels were faded and some had white overspray on them. I repainted all of the interior panels with Duplicolor interior/vinyl spray paint and hand brushed the white striping. I replaced all of the weather stripping August 30, 2009.







 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
August 5, 2009. The car didn’t come with an ash tray and since I don’t have plans of needing one in this car, why spend the money and time trying to find one right? So I tacked in some sheet metal and filled in the gaps, smoothed and painted it. The nasty looking heater box was removed and painted too.





 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
August 7, 2009. Here is the new dash pad which was light blue until I sprayed it. I pulled the instrument panel and added some whiteface gauges which are nothing more than water slide decals, but they worked pretty good I think. This was an automatic so I had to cover up the PRNDL. The instrument bezel was also sprayed with the same paint as the rest of the interior but turned out a little lighter. Still looks good.







 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
August 20, 2009.

August 20, 2009. I pulled most of the front clip off to access the firewall better and trace where the water was leaking into the interior from. As you can see, I don’t have a garage so I have to rely on Mother Nature’s mercy in Michigan to get my work done.



 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
September 5, 2009.

New wiring was a MUST! I figured with the interior out and the front body panels off why not do the wiring and fuse box while I have easy access. As I was removing all of the old wiring I found why I was having so many electrical issues. The 30-year old wiring was snapping like pretzels! It’s a GM 12-circuit kit by Painless that I ordered through Jegs and it was simple to install. Notice I didn’t say easy?!



 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
September 10, 2009.

Here are some before and after pictures of the after market gauges. I replaced the volt and oil gauges just so all three would match and painted the chrome gauge pod black then a MUCH needed tachometer. Eventually the tachometer will be mounted on the custom center console that I haven’t built yet placing it in front of what used to be the ash tray. The tachometer bezel will also be painted to match.



 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
September 20, 2009.

As for the shifter, I bought the boot at Auto Zone and found that the chrome, although it looks nice, will blind you while driving when the sun hits it. So I painted it white to get rid of the glare and help break up some of the solid black interior. All black was looking too plain to me. The new curved shift lever makes reaching 3rd gear a lot easier.



 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
January 23, 2010.

There was nothing wrong with the old radiator except for being what I consider an eye sore for a restoration project. The new radiator is made by Champion Cooling and came with the dual electric fans. I also added some braided hose sleeves. I also had to trim the radiator mount bushings to fit in the core support.

















 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
March 20, 2010.

I took my transmission into Al’s Trans & Gear in Burton, MI for a complete gasket seal kit and output bearing. They inspected, cleaned and even repainted it for me all for a very reasonable price.







 
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