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I am 53 years old and want to turn my moms 72 Nova Coupe into a muscle car I never had in High School. The car has been in my family since it was new. I helped pick it out in 1972. It is gold in color with a off white biege interior. It has a stock 350 engine. The car needs a paint job, some body work, new interior, and I want to rebuild the engine, and soupe it up a bit with headers and dual exhaust. I want it to be a nice clean drivable car. I would like to put some larger, wider wheels/tires on it and change the suspension so it has a slight rake to it but improve its handling. I thought about a Hotchkiss lowering kit with new front coils and stabalizer bar and new rear leafs and stabalizer bar. People have mentioned coil overs for the front also, and other brands of lowering suspension kits. I really don't know where to start as I have never rebuilt a car before. I do have a friend who has a shop and has restored cars before. I would be working on my car with my friend at his shop. I have some money set aside for this project and I suspect I will go over budget. I will probably change the color to a blue metallic with a darker interior. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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Nice project to start with. A 350 has a lot of potential if you know what your going for or have a idea. Can't quite speak on a 350 because I have a 454 in mine. :D But I'm pretty sure that one of the vets on the site has some great ideas. Well good look and post pics porfavor.
 

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WELCOME . SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE SOME GOOD IDEAS . THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE FOR ASWERS. HAVE FUN . :chev::thumbsup:
 

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I'm 54...I started on my 66 in Oct.. I just fired the engine last week..And felt great knowing that all that hard work payed off...I bought a 327 from my foreman...Completely rebuilt it from the ground up...First time mind ya..So it can be done...
Take your time and do plenty of research....I had a engine stand, I tried sellling for the longest time...Glad I didn't ...I had to get a cherry picker...Got that at harbor freight for $150..Your gonna spend money either way.....So taking your time will be easy...Unless you have a bottomless wallet....You'll need room, time and tools...
I did the engine first...Hell with the rest of it ...for now...Get the engine built..Find a good machinest you can trust....have your heads done, and your block....If your on a budget....Do Like I did...Use whatever you can...I wire wheeled all the bolts and other small parts I wanted to reuse...I bought a syphon sand blaster,and compressor to clean up all the bigger parts...Oil pan, valve covers, ect. which I didn't use anyway...I'll sell them back on Ebay to recover some of my money...And paint your parts...I did my block, heads and oil pan Chevy orange...Water pump, power steering pump, headers, Black..( appliance paint from home depot..).then if you do decide to pull the engine...Clean the engine bay real good, and paint it too. I also took my hood off and painted it along with the hood hinge's, and added insullation under the hood.. .
I had a short block so I needed lots of other parts.....Pulley's, fuel pump, brackets...so It can be costly...Your lucky...You won't need to buy those parts.....and if you do rebuild.....TAKE PICTURES before you disassemble...and save all your small parts in ziploc bags...and mark them....Good luck..I hope this helped some.......Welcome aboard...You'll find answers to all your questions here.......
 

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Welcome. sounds like a nice project, you have many options and lots of help at steves. Are you going for an old school hotrod or modern pro touring feel? What trans do you have now? How tight is the buget? What rear do you have? We need details and a pic!
 

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Since your friend has a shop and it sounds like what you want is a fun, fast street cruiser that'll turn some heads this is what I would do:

Rebuild the 350 with your friend or someone else that is well versed in building motors. As important as HP numbers may be, I like too focus on a more torquey motor for the street. I think a nice HP number would be around 400hp and it wouldn't be hard to hit. If you can get the torque numbers close even better.
If you want to be really adventurous you could do an LS swap into the car. You'll get much better gas mileage and tons of HP and Torque.

For the suspension I would look into a Hotchkis TVS system for your car. This system is VERY good and there is no guessing involved. Buy it, Bolt it, Drive it! Sure there are better handling systems and parts but, for what you want to do, it's PLENTY!!! You'll never push the system to it's limits unless you decide to do some SERIOUS racing and even then it should be up to task. This is what I would get:

http://www.hotchkis.net/6874_nova_tvs_system_small_block.html
http://www.hotchkis.net/6874_nova_sub_frame_connectors.html
http://www.hotchkis.net/front_hps_1000_shock_gm_abfx_body.html

This system will lower your car 2" in the front and 1 1/2" in the back. Perfect rake as far as I'm concerned!

As far as your wheel/tire choice you're going to be stuck to the constraints of the stock tubs if you want wide tires on it but for street you don't need to have super wide tires anyways. You can stuff some pretty wide tires in 3rd gens.

I would think about changing the rear gears in the differential. Maybe 3.73's or 3.50's. It'll make the car very quick off the line. You should consult with whoever your engine builder guru is to make sure that the combination will work well and, most importantly, be streetable.

You didn't mention whether the car had an automatic but if you decide to swap out thye old auto I would either put a T-56 6 speed manual if you like driving stick or a 4L60E Auto trans if not. Both of these transmissions have overdrive which is great if you go on a long drive or like to do a lot of freeway driving.

The rest is all cosmetic so it really depends on your taste as to what you want it to look like. Do you want it to look more pro-street or pro-touring? Pro-street usually has smaller wheels and tall, wide tires in back and skinnys in front and is built for more straight line speed/drag racing whereas pro-touring usually has bigger wheels and lower profile tires along with a suspension that is built more for cornering/road racing/autocrossing.

John
 

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Funny thing - From the title... I thought our member "ROOKIE" was starting a new project. :no:

Anyways --- hey... good luck with your 1st project and keep us posted of the progress.
 
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