When he was 18 years old, Gary Abraham thought he was living the dream. He had a '70 Nova built to the hilt, and a hot girl by his side. One fateful evening, they decided to take the car to Union Grove Dragstrip and put 'er to the wood to see how fast it would really go. Unfortunately, a leaky fuel hose and a hot header pipe conspired to put his dreams up in smoke with the car still in the burnout box. The end result was that his old Deuce ended up being burned blacker than melba toast and he had to shelve his car fetish for a while.
Skipping a few chapters ahead, the hot sidekick became Mrs. Abraham to Gary, and mom to their three boys. They worked hard building their big-n-tall clothing store (Threads), and finally got to a point in their life where they didn't have to eat ramen noodles for dinner. After watching a few TV shows featuring the works of ber-car-builder Troy Trepanier, Greg drove across town to meet with the guy in person and see about building the car he was never able to get out of his system.
Unsure as to exactly how to get started with such a project, Gary sat down with Troy and his father, Jack Trepanier, and laid out his basic desires. "I just told them I'm interested in a '70 Nova. We sat down for a couple of hours and discussed everything that I wanted in the car." Though many of the details wouldn't get nailed down until later, there were three major requirements: "I was looking for a car with a massive engine, a nice interior, and something that was gray, like my old car. They pretty much hit the nail on the head with everything that they put into the car."
With the advantage of their proximity to the Rad Rides by Troy facility, Gary was able to follow along during the 15-month gestation period as his baby took shape. Two of his sons, Derek and Blake, often came down with him, but he kept his youngest son, Cameron, completely in the dark about the whole project. When it was finished, he took Cameron and his brothers to Rad Rides under the guise of a fun visit to see show cars. "Troy was showing us all the cars and he had the Nova covered up. He said to my son Cameron, 'Here, take a look at this car,' uncovered it, and Cameron said 'This is a really nice looking car.' Troy then says, 'You might know the owner of the car. This is your father's car.' My youngest guy says, 'Nah, my dad can't have a car like that'" Laughing, Gary went on about how it was such a neat experience and how happy he was to share it with his sons.
During its creation, Troy and his team demonstrated the skills that ultimately led to the Nova garnering the prestigious Goodguys 2008 Street Machine of the Year Award. Looking closely at the car, it's clear that the cohesive theme, subtlety, and attention to detail make the car stand out among other over-the-top rides that are all too often overdone. The Rad Rides crew are all totally involved in projects like this and though Trepanier's name is on the marque out front, he makes it clear that creations like this are a group effort.
Visually, you can see where Troy incorporated cues from the '69 Camaro in the lower front valence, and front and rear bumpers of the Nova. Even Camaro taillights were grafted into the hind end of the car. Other ideas were purely original, such as the hood with the half-width cowl design, and the integrated rear spoiler just barely poking up above the decklid. Troy says: "We don't try to make a statement with every piece. A lot of people do that. We want you to have to look for what we've done. That way when you find it you're like, 'Wow that's cool. They made this from scratch but it doesn't stick out.' I don't want you to walk up and tell me every piece I've changed. I want you to really study it and figure it out. To me, that's timeless."
Check the angle on the front...
Check the angle on the front tires. Nobody ever said a big-block car makes for a good road racer. The Detroit Speed chassis parts help keep the rubber planted as good as possible, but with the blower pushing a thousand horsies through the chassis, throttle control is the main ingredient in keeping the car going in the intended direction.
Though the internals of the...
Though the internals of the engine are pretty unchanged from the way GMPP originally designed them, all of the exterior accoutrements are displayed like rare jewels on a bracelet. Upgraded injectors with bungs seamlessly welded into a four-barrel carb-type intake and Kevlar braided lines make up the outlying gems while the crown piece is the one-of-one upper plenum that has no choice but to accept force-fed air.
As if they were born there,...
As if they were born there, Camaro taillights and a subtle spoiler redefine the back end of the Chevy II. Grafted into the rear roll pan are a pair of hand-built exhaust outlets that lend to the clean but beautifully functional design of the car.