Chevrolet Nova

1964 Chevy Nova SS

James Burns, Kirkland, WA

After his dad died from cancer in 2004 at the age of 78, James Burns had a bit of a midlife crisis, or so that’s what his wife tells him. James had been around cars for most of his life, but lacked a project to put his time, blood, sweat, and tears into. After a little eBay searching he spotted this ’64 Nova down in Oakland, California, near his sister’s place. He flew down to take a look, and a few hours later he was driving back to his sister’s with his new money pit. The plan was to drive it home, but a large puddle of oil the next morning made that clearly a bad idea. Luckily, James has another sister not too far away who owns an automotive repair shop. A few hundred bucks later and he was on the road back to Washington. Though it was solid body wise, the Nova needed quite a bit of mechanical work, so over the next year James swapped out the entire driveline and all of the suspension for more modern components. With a background in paint and body, James was able to handle stripping, repairing, and respraying the Nova in DuPont Smooth Yellow. In the past six years James has racked up about 16,000 miles on the Nova and made tons of new friends.

By The Numbers

Engine: stock 302ci J-code small-block Ford Windsor with Edelbrock Performer intake and Holley 600-cfm carb

Trans: TCI-built C4 three-speed automatic

Rearend: 8-inch rear with 3.00 gears and Power Trax limited-slip

Suspension: stock with Shelby mod and 1-inch sway bar up front, stock with 11/16-inch sway bar in the rear

Brakes: SSBC disc brakes up front, stock drums in the rear

Wheels & Tires: 15-inch Boyd Coddington wheels with BFGoodrich 205/60R15 and 235/60R15 tires

Cool Factoid: This ’68 was Jo’s first car, and many of her dates with her future husband, Donny, consisted of them working on it together.

1969 Chevy Nova

Steve Packard Atascadero, CA

Just when Steve Packard, now 65, thought he was done with hot rods, his 24-year-old son, Jason, began rebuilding an ’87 Chevy IROC Camaro—and all the old warm fuzzy hot rod feelings came flooding back. That was four years ago, at which time Steve picked up what he thought was a nearly finished driver. Although the four-banger had been replaced with an H.O. 350 crate, and the trans was already upgraded to a 700-R4 overdrive, Steve uncovered hidden rust, which triggered a full restoration by Armando’s Hobby Shop in Atascadero, California. To keep the budget under control (Steve has around $20K in his Nova), he limited the mods to 11-inch disc brakes up front, Summit Legend 5 15-inch wheels, some CalTracs bars, and some spiffy Shelby Mustang seats. Steve does admit he has his eye on a 427ci stroker small-block, so we don’t think he’s done yet.

By The Numbers

Engine: Chevrolet Performance 350ci H.O. small-block Chevy with Vortec heads and 650 Holley carb

Trans: 700-R4 four-speed automatic overdrive with 2,200-stall converter

Rearend: 12-bolt GM posi with 3.73 gears

Suspension: stock with CPP springs and sway bar, CalTracs bars (rear)

Brakes: aftermarket 11-inch front discs, stock rear drums rears

Wheels & Tires: Summit Legend 5 15-inch wheels, 225/60R15 (front) and 275/60R15 (rear) tires

1970 Chevy Nova

Rick James, Winkler, Manitoba

Cars can’t talk, but their owner’s sure can. In the case of this ’70 Nova, owner Rick James bought it the first time in 1976. After much hell-raising in it as a young man, and after dating and marrying his girlfriend in it (now his wife of 33 years), he sold it to a gent who had an even greater penchant for automotive abuse. Living in a small town, however, it was only a matter of time before he rediscovered his old mechanical flame atop a stack of jalopies at his local junkyard, where he was scrounging for parts on an unrelated project. Fortunately for Rick, his son pestered him into buying it back from the junkyard, in spite of it being too far gone to restore. Heck, Rick figured, it couldn’t hurt to have the car around the shop for his kids to bang on just for fun and learning purposes. It wasn’t long afterward, however, that Rick’s fondness for the Nova grew to the point where he had to restore it fully. It’s now a treasured family heirloom that only gets raced on the track!

By The Numbers

Engine: 350ci small-block Chevy with 194 camel-hump heads, Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap intake, Holley 670 Street Avenger carb

Trans: Super T10 four-speed manual with heavy-duty driveshaft

Rearend: stock 10-bolt with 3.42 gears

Suspension: rebuilt stock, front and rear

Brakes: factory drums, front and rear

Wheels & Tires: stock steel 14x7 rally wheels with 235/60R14 BFG tires

1967 Chevy Nova SS

Mark Profitt, Franklin, OH

By The Numbers

Engine: 350ci small-block Chevy with double-hump heads, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, and Crane High Energy hydraulic cam

Trans: Super T10 four-speed manual

Rearend: stock 12-bolt posi with 3.55 gears

Suspension: stock

Brakes: Right Stuff power front disc conversion, front and rear

Wheels & Tires: Rider Style 675 17x8 wheels

Cool Factoid: Mark tells us he thinks that the car is cursed because he had to do most of the stuff twice.

1967 Chevy Nova

Peter Curtis, North Attleboro, MA

Sometimes even the most hard-core car guys must part with prized toys in order to take care of life’s more pressing matters, but there’s a line that some guys just won’t cross with their ultimate dream car. Such is the case for Peter Curtis’ ’67 Nova. “There was always one car that I wanted and sought out, one that I would hope I’d never have to sell: the ’67 Chevy Nova,” Peter writes. When he finally found a forlorn Chevy II on eBay that was nearby, he knew he’d found it, and set out to make it his “keeper.” That didn’t mean it would be easy; the little shoebox Chevy turned out to be a mechanical nightmare. When a friend printed out a picture of a horseshoe and threw it in the back seat, it was just the luck Peter needed, and within a few weeks, the Nova finally coalesced into the car of his dreams!

By The Numbers

Engine: supercharged 350ci LS1 Chevy with Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake, CSU blow-through 750-cfm carb, GM hot cam, and stock “241” heads

Trans: Tremec TKO 600 five-speed manual with Spec stage-II clutch

Rearend: 8.2-inch 10-bolt rear with Moser axles and 3.73 gears

Suspension: TCI coilover front suspension, TCI four-link coilover rear suspension

Brakes: 11-inch disc brakes, front and rear

Wheels & Tires: Boss 338 18x8 wheels with 245/40R18 tires