1969 NovaEight-Second Bow TieNot all kids in high school are lucky enough to know what they want to do for the rest of their life. Ron Smith of Sykesville, Maryland, knew what he wanted to do before his junior year. At the time, it was common for high schoolers to train at a vocational center to give them the skills they need to get a job after graduation. That's how Ron spent two years training as an auto collision tech. He worked for Ford, prepping cars for paint through his two-year stint, but then got a job at a local body shop, and never had to serve as a coffee boy or shop sweep. He started honing his skills as a collision tech, and eventually bought a local business called Miles Body Shop. It was a landmark in town, so he kept the name. He's been running it for nine years, and still enjoys the work he set out to do over 30 years ago.
Ron has had his own projects here and there, but it's hard to pursue your own projects when you've got a business to run. Ron made the time, and had his heart set on a '68-72 Nova. He found one he liked in New York, and made the trip right away. With a deposit down, Ron returned the next weekend to pick it up. The car already had a substantial amount of work done, with a 496 big-block Chevy, Turbo 400 trans, and a 9-inch rear end. The car had been back-halved, and for all Ron could tell, it was done well. He soon found that all wasn't well after making a couple passes when he felt the car pulling hard to the left. Turns out the whole thing was inch out of square. Instead of doing a bandage fix, he decided to do a chrome-moly frame, starting at the end of the front subframe to the back bumper. Ron incorporated a Funny Car-style cage, certified for 7.50-second passes. This would cure all the problems it had before. He also rebuilt the motor into something brutal to achieve his best e.t. of 8.77 seconds.
Ron's Nova has been completed for over a year now, and he's made many trips to the track. He also likes to show the car, and has received awards in all 16 shows he attended last year. He is really happy with how it turned out, but as with every project, it's never done. Next he would like to have Steve Schmidt rebuild his motor with a dual-carb setup, bigger cam, and maybe a little head work. Ron is glad his cage is good for 7-second passes, because he sure is!