1966 Pontiac LeMans
Almost any car guy will be asked the question, "How did you get into cars?" "I'm 46, and have always had the car bug bad. I think my first two-syllable word was Corvette. When I was little, my grandmother arranged for a ride for my brother and I in the front seat of a neighbor's '65 Corvette. It was white with blue interior with a four-speed manual. We were little, as we both fit comfortably on the passenger seat. I was hooked ever since," says Jay Bovarnick, owner of this 1966 Pontiac LeMans. When the American muscle car was abundant, Jay was up front jumping at the chance to play with the big boys with their V-8, rear-wheel-drive toys.
One of the first large-scale projects Jay dug into was his 10-year-old son's '70 Boss 302. The lucky kid agreed to keep his father company in the garage and build up his car with him, learning along the way. They did a lot of the work, but because it was a real Boss car, they didn't want to get too wild and hurt the value of the rare classic. Jay was pleased with the result, but he craved a build with fewer rules.
That's when this LeMans came into the game. Jay wanted to keep his son involved, so he let him pick the car, a Pontiac A-body. He wanted to start with a solid car to limit the number of surprises that would come up. They searched eBay, the local paper, and automotive listing publications for months when they stumbled over this car in Hemmings. The car was in terrific shape and was only one town over. The justification to his wife was that he would leave the paint alone and do everything himself on a budget. So much for that ...
When the car came home, he discovered some issues on the floor and decided to separate the body from the frame. The rest was history. He went a little overboard with the whole project and things spun out of control in more than a couple instances. He found that over a third of his time and money spent was working backward because of poor research or trying to do something himself that he should have outsourced. Jay says next time he's sending his car out to be sandblasted instead of doing it at home, and he's going with a crate engine.