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Seven Road Burning Chevy II Nova Resto Mods

The Nova has always been the little brother to the Chevelle and Camaro. Well, no longer as it’s become a fav of Resto Mod builders. Here are 7 of the best.

First, to A. educated the uninitiated, and B. attempt to stop the flamers (who won’t read this part anyway), what we think of collective as the Chevy Nova actually started out as the Chevy II in 1962, with the Nova as the top level model. For the 1968 model year, the Chevy II name was dropped and all models became Novas.

The Chevy II was brought to market to counter Ford’s successful Falcon and was rushed into production in just 18 months, which may well still be the modern record at GM.

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1966 Chevrolet Nova SS

Not to give away the ending, but a little perspective helps to appreciate this car. It was sold at auction last year for $105,000. So what does it take to build a $100K Nova? Attention to detail, mostly. Check out how the bumpers have been inset flush with the bodywork and how the exhaust pipes have been fitted with the rear bumper. Under the hood, it’s much of the same with a 396 V8 big block with a Demon Six-Pack carb set-up, delivering 425 hp. The interior is covered in tan Ultra Leather and the same attention to detail has been paid to the inside as we see on the outside. My guess is that at $105K the buyer purchased a car that can’t be replicated for that price.

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1969 Chevrolet Nova

The builder of this car was either a mad man or a genius – or perhaps a bit of both. The level of detail and the number of (and inspiration for) changes are like few other restro mods. And the fact that he selected not a Chevelle or a Camaro to build this unusual piece of art, but a lowly Nova is astounding.Let’s check off the usuals: Fuel injected Chevy 6.0 L V8, backed by a 6L80E 6-speed automatic transmission. Suspension is by Heidts. Now for the amazing stuff. Check out the wheels. Never seen anything like them? That’s because they were custom-made for this car and fitted with ’56 Bel Air emblems. The theme continues into the interior with a perfectly-fitted full ’56 dashboard with updated gauges, and a ’56 Bel Air steering wheel. Under the hood is an amazing hand-built engine cover (painted body color, of course), subtly incorporating a cold air intake. The body has been smoothed, and to top it off, there are ’56 Chevrolet emblems on the exterior.

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1967 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova

One one thinks of a Chevy II resto mod, it’s usually an image like this ’67 Nova hardtop coupe. This particular example has been fitted with a 430 hp 378 CID Chevrolet LS3 V8 crate motor between the Alston front clip. Backing up the Vette motor is a 6-speed transmission twisting power back to a Ford 9-inch rear end.  On each corner are Wilwood disc brakes to being all those ponies under control.

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1974 Chevrolet Nova Hatchback Coupe

While this may be a 1974 Nova that was originally delivered with a pathetic 185 hp, this car is not to be underestimated. That wheezing lump of an OEM motor was cast aside and a completely different 350 V8 was installed – a 350 hp LS1 out of a Corvette. Further changes included upgraded suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. To keep things sporty on the inside, a complete Camaro interior replaced the Grandma and Grandpa park benches.

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1967 Chevrolet Chevy II Convertible

For some reason resto mod builders shy away from convertibles. Next time there’s a muscle car auction on cable, take count of how many resto mod cars cross the stage and how many of those are convertibles. It would be the relative  rarity of convertibles versus coupes, the higher purchase cost of a convertible, the tendency for convertibles to be less rigid than their roofed brothers or some unknown factor. regardless, here’s a builder who took a ’67 convertible and dropped in a 350 hp 5.7 L Chevrolet
LS1 crate engine and backed it with a 4L60E automatic transmission (like used in the Impala SS). Under the front end is a Heidts suspension with disc brakes. Exterior attention to detail includes a custom power convertible top, custom silver paint with a red interior, and 17″ Dagger Billet Specialties wheels rounding out the package.

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1966 Chevrolet Chevy II Two Door Sedan

The Chevy II hardtop, with their slight fastback rear window and frameless windows tend to be the more popular body style to modifying, but this builder has bucked the trend to good effect. Here’s a two-door sedan nicely constructed in the resto mod style. Powered by a 330 hp LT4 350 CID Chevy small block out of Corvette, it’s mated to the stout 4L60E automatic transmission. At the back is 12 bolt rear end carrying a 4.10:1 ring and pinion bolted to a  Positraction differential. At the front, the car is fitted with power rack and pinion steering and coilover suspension, with Wilwood disc brakes at all four corners. On the outside, the car is finished in a custom-blended gunmetal gray and carried original 1968 American Racing wheels that have been restored and widened.

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1967 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova Station Wagon

If you don’t see many resto mod convertibles, you see even fewer resto mod station wagons. Again, we’re not sure why. Station wagons can make good drag racers because their center of gravity is higher and more toward the rear than a coupe. And when we run photos of tricked-out station wagons on the site, we get a tremendous response. Oh well.  Here’s both an example of a wagon as well as an example that a resto mod doesn’t have to include the the installation of $20K crate motor. This ’67 carries its original 283 CI engine, which can produce over 300 hp with bolt-on modifications. Simplistic itself, the wagon features an automatic transmission and power brakes. The set of chrome Torq Thrust wheels sets almost single-handedly set this car apart

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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