'74 Nova
First Time For Everything

When builder Bob Alford was only 8 years old, he spent much of his spare time helping his SoCal neighbor clean, polish, and wax his '29 Model T Roadster. After staring point-blank at old-school sheetmetal for six more years, Bob was ready to get into the business. When he was 14, he got his first job prepping cars for paintwork at the local body shop. It wasn't a glamorous job, but it helped get him where he is today.

He moved from the hustle and bustle of Southern California and made his way across the country. He ultimately landed in Orlando, Florida, where his current shop and family reside. Now 58 years old, he's got quite a client base and always has more work than he and his three employees can handle in their 11,000-square-foot shop. The shop is appropriately called Pro Street Customs, not because they are all drag-inspired cars, but because their projects can all live on the street. He builds a little of everything and doesn't claim to specialize in any particular car or style build. Most of his clients are bringing him muscle cars with plans for big straight-line or cornering performance.

Neil Thomas of Orlando, has been growing his plumbing business over the years and wanted to reward himself with a new, old car. He didn't need it to be brutally fast, but comfortable, and easy to drive. This was his first venture in the custom car world, and he wanted to do it right. When Neil brought this '74 Nova to Pro Street Customs, it didn't need a lot of bodywork, but he requested a new paintjob anyway. This was good news for Bob because painting is his specialty and he's got his own paint booth. Neil wanted a retro look with the reliability of a modern-day car, so Bob gave it a nice clean paintjob and a GMPP ZZ4 crate motor. These engines are known for their ready-to-go power and factory warranty, which is nice for the casual cruiser. Neil plans to visit all the car shows he can to show off his new Nova. Proud owner Neil already carries pictures of the car's progress in his wallet.

By The Numbers
1974 Nova

Neil Thomas * Orlando, FL
400 hp

Type: GMPP ZZ4 350ci crate engine
Block: iron with four-bolt mains
Rotating assembly: hypereutectic pistons,
powdered metal rods,
forged crank
Cylinder heads: GMPP aluminum
with 58cc chambers
Camshaft: 0.474/0.510 lift,
208/221 degrees duration
at 0.050-inch lift
Valvetrain: GMPP hydraulic roller lifters
Induction: Holley 750 double-pumper
Ignition: HEI distributor
Cooling: custom aluminum radiator
Fuel system: Holley electric pump
and regulator
Exhaust: custom by Pro Street Customs
Fasteners: all stainless steel
Transmission/shifter: Mike's Transmission
700-R4 with 2,600-rpm stall converter
and GM shifter
Rear axle: GM 12-bolt with 3.50 gears
and Auburn posi
Front suspension: DSE tubular control arms
Brakes: Wilwood four-wheel disc
Wheels: American Racing Torq Thrust II
Tires: BFGoodrich Radial T/A